Welcome back to OnGoingGrowing!
Today I want to focus something simple, well known and yet so few of us use it consistently. We all heard that what we focus on, is what we get in life. There are many ways to put it:
“Always remember, your focus determines your reality”
“You get what you focus on, so focus on what you want”
Since I came back from holidays, roughly one month ago, I focused on what I didn’t want and without much surprises, it is was what I had. I focused on my fears, I focused on my worries and struggles. I was looking at my concerns and what caused stress in my life. All of that brought me down and I would catch myself complaining, not having a lot of will or energy. I would be terrorised by fears at times and it was making me procrastinate more than usual. It would be challenging for my wife too, as I would bring over and over the same stories and fears, without being able to get out that rabbit hole and it is hard to support someone that can only focus on the negative sides.
The only way out is…
Asking myself good questions instead of bad ones! Most of us might be familiar with that little voice inside…
“Why can’t you do the things you want?”
“What’s wrong with you today?”
“Why are you always sabotaging and not achieving what you really want?”
After weeks of that, I broke the circle with good questions. If you are interested in learning more about the power of good questions, you might want to get to that article I wrote back in January. One of the first question that helping me to broke the negative circle:
“Am I doing that bad right now?”
In all honesty, it wasn’t the best question, but it led to:
“What happened recently in my life that I might have forgotten or overlooked?”
Then everything started to be clearer again… The storm started to go away and the blue sky could show its nose. I start to ask various other questions and looking for changes I’ve made in my life. I would find things I’ve learnt at work or with my wife and so on. In just a month, I had many many positives experiences but until then, I just couldn’t see them.
I want to stop for a minute here. This is an exercise that I believe we should all do and often: taking a moment and asking ourselves the best questions we know, it’s invaluable. I personally need to be a better practitioner at asking these questions, are you?
These questions will radically change our perceptions of our lives and for the better. Very few of us are wired to focus on the positive, most of us have to make conscious efforts to see the positive around us!
How bad was that last month…
While it’s true I struggled, procrastinated and was stressed and disconnected, it wasn’t a complete story. The complete story was a lot more bright and in many ways, I did quite well! Let’s look at what I actually did well:
Firstly, I changed my morning routine. I wanted to do that for a long time and tried a few times without keeping it more than a few days. As often, YouTube was a source of inspiration! Because I look up at a lot of self-development, motivational speeches, psychology and emotional intelligence videos, YouTube regularly solves my problems with auto-playing one follow up video. That day, it was all I needed! This happens for my wife’s problem too, YouTube solves them for us. 🙂 You should try not watching crap on YouTube, it might change your life! :p
Joke aside, it played a video from Tim Ferris about his morning routine: cold shower, meditation and journaling. That’s a morning routine I wanted to have for a long time! While I couldn’t stick to journaling, I kept the cold shower (~15 degrees for 30+ seconds after a regular shower) and meditation. The cold shower is an adventure at first. I discovered that my shower can go below Cold and it’s actually going lower than that, I can confirm. It wakes you up like nothing else and put you “in your body” (mindfulness) which is great! I meditated in the past but never regularly so I went with the free introduction meditations from HeadSpace (3 minutes ones) and then swapped to YouTube video. I needed to start small, so I would increase my chances to keep it on the long term. In a month, I moved from 3 minutes meditations to 10-20 minutes ones. I can relax better than I ever could and I’m just starting!
Secondly, I swapped one time at the work’s gym for an extra CrossFit class and I added a fourth session at my CrossFit gym for a mobility class. I’m not flexible nor I have full range motion for my joints so mobility is something I wanted to do for a while too but I couldn’t make myself do it. I have to wake up earlier for that on my first day of my work week (6h15) but it worth it! Mobility is brutal and painful when you’ve never done it, but afterwards, it feels so great!
I also woke up earlier every work day by 30-45 minutes. I used to wake up 1h30 hours before I go to work to have time for a solid breakfast, a bit of gaming and reading the news I care about (the YouTube videos mentioned above, I don’t care much about the regular news!). This is mostly linked to the new routine and I could stick to it easily so far as I wouldn’t give up what I already do and like to do. The morning routine is just an addition and waking up 30 minutes early isn’t that complicated. The clock is at 6h30 and I’m in the shower for the cold water at 6h35!
I changed my diet. While I was travelling, I looked at a few documentaries around the impact of a whole food plant-based diet on our health and for our old days. These were highlighting the damages that animal products are causing in term of diseases and general health. I’m not here to convince anyone about anything regarding diet, nor I claim to be vegan/vegetarian or whatever. I just made that change as the information I found and I trust is that it’s better for me for the long term and I plan to be old, happy and healthy! While I will have meat from time to time, a good burger or some chicken wings (and I still love meat), most of my food is now plant-based (vegetables and legumes) and it also taste good if well seasons and/or with the right sauce (healthy too!).
That change of diet made me lost one kilo, which is great! I have been stable for more than a year. It was also just in time for our health and fitness quarter 4 challenge at work where I engaged myself to lose a bit of weight. 🙂
I had many great moments with my wife, a lot of love, connectedness and learning too. We are allowing each other to be closer and closer and while it’s scary at times, it’s great and we enjoy every bit of it. We had powerful discussions, breakthroughs and we made some important decisions for our future too.
I started to take actions regarding investing and I went back to blogging (that’s why you read me! woohoo!). I took responsibility and ownership of some tasks and actions I should have done months ago but I was just pushing it back all the time.
By now, you get it! This month that was initially feeling horrible, was, in reality, one of the best I had in 2017. And I nearly missed that because I focused on the wrong things. I was looking for the bad stuff and I found the bad stuff. That’s very easy to do that mistake and I came across many situations that we are staying stuck for a lot more than a month, some people live in that all their lives!
My intention with this post
My intention today is really to show you a concrete example that could happen to all of us. I’m not better or worst because of it, I believe we are all equal. I am happy I went out of that negative cycle before I couldn’t remember all the beautiful moments that I had the chance to live. I hope that it might help you to get out of that negative spiral if you ever get caught in it again.
Always remember that what you see, is what you likely want to see or at least, the result about how you are looking at it. We can always make a different choice and see a situation differently.