Change your mindset and internal filtering system. Change the external evidence that you gather.
And ultimately change the reality you experience.
Have you ever found a four leaf clover? I haven't. But my 8 year old daughter has. In fact, she has found around 20 of them. To be honest, I am not really sure of the total number because I stopped counting after 10.
You might be thinking "wow, she is really lucky!". Or maybe even "you should take that kid to play the lottery!"
I have thought both of these things. But I've actually come to think something else too. That it is a great reminder of something much more powerful and profound. It is the perfect illustration of our internal filtering system. Of the importance of our mindset. And the power of our perception.
Here is what I mean...
Every time my daughter sees a patch of clover, she goes on a hunt looking for a beloved four leafer. She knows without a doubt that she will find one. There is an expectation. A level of certainty. And find one she often does.
Researcher and author, Dr. Joseph Dispenza says that the "brain processes 400 billion bits of information a second. But we are only aware of 2,000 of those".
Just think about that for a minute. Think about how much we miss.
In any given moment, we are surrounded by loads of information. More information than our brains can handle. So we filter it. These filters allow us to make sense of the information that we take in and help us put it into context.
Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly adjusting what we see and what we experience based on things like our past events, our desires, our core belief systems, our relationships, etc. Essentially our reality exists based on the lens through which we choose to view it.
So it's all about perception. What we choose to focus on, we will get more of.
I'm sure you've noticed this in some facet of your life. For me, I see it all the time with my kids. I notice when I focus on kindness, respect, and compassion, they will always demonstrate more of it. BUT when I focus on whining, pestering, and instigating, guess what escalates? You got it. That very thing that is annoying the crap out of me.
It is so easy to spiral into debbie-downer mode. To notice what is going wrong. How this could be better. Or that could be better. But it's important to understand how detrimental this negative filter can be to our reality. When we focus on lack and what is going wrong, more problems and bad fortune are naturally going to arise.
"When you focus on problems, you get more problems. When you focus on possibilities, you get more opportunities."
- Zig Ziglar
Now no one can be positive all the time. Trust me. I am not. My kids frequently do things that push my buttons. And I'm the first to bark at them "stop whining". And "OMG, would you please stop picking at each other?!"
I will go into defeatist mode as much as the next person too. Two of my top personal limitations are "Oh, I can't do that. There isn't enough time." and "Nope, can't do that either. I don't have enough money."
And that is why it is so important to consciously pay attention. To notice the lens through which we view our reality and the evidence that we gather to support that this reality is a hard and stead-fast truth.
I'm sure you can imagine what I experience when the above filters are applied in my mind. When my focus is on the irritating behaviors of my children, how frustrated and frazzled I feel, and the scarcity of time, money, and resources to do what I really want. It is certainly not a reality that is peaceful, abundant, and puts me at ease.
To illustrate my point even further, I'd like to share a variation of an experiment with you that I got from one of my favorite books, E-Squared by Pam Grout. I call it the Purple Car Experiment. The next time you are out on the road, I'd like you to pay attention to how many purple cars you see on any given day. "Purple cars?!" you might say. "But there aren't that many purple cars." Start looking and you will find that there are more out there than you think. I didn't realize just how many until I actively started to look for them. Now I see them everywhere! And there hasn't been a spike in purple car production either. It's just that I started paying attention.
Try it or a variation of your own. It's a fun little game you can play to begin to see just how much information is out there that we aren't tuned in to.
And can you see how powerful this can be? How it can ultimately change our reality?
I believe that whatever your heart desires - love, opportunity, good fortune - it is all there, right in front of you. It is part of the billions of bits of information that your brain isn't currently taking in. You don't see it because you have not been looking for it. You have not been actively gathering evidence to support that what you desire is available and accessible. But it is all right there. You just have to be willing to switch your focus to see it.
It's like those four leaf clovers that my daughter finds. They have always been there but I wasn't looking for them. My daughter was. Who found them? My daughter did. I didn't.
Ultimately we have a choice. We always have a choice. We can choose which lens we view our lives through. Our choice will either support the notion that life sucks and then you die or that everything is happening in your favor.
Pay attention to happiness and small acts of kindness. Pay attention to those moments when you feel vibrant and alive. Pay attention to abundance and good fortune.
And pay attention to the messages that you take in. The information you choose to consume. Pay attention to the books you read and the shows you watch. Because all of it matters.
Make sure the information, messages, and people that you surround yourself with support your highest good. And consciously and mindfully choose your internal filtering system. Because it might just be the most empowering thing you can do.
"What you focus on grows, what you think about expands, and what you dwell upon determines your destiny."
- Robin Sharma
Side Note Story:
I was working on the finishing touches of this post before going out for a run. And guess what I happened to see enroute? THIS PURPLE JEEP!! No freakin' lie!!
Keep in mind that I have run this same course dozens of times and I have NEVER seen it parked there before. Not once. So case in point: what you choose to focus on, you get more of.
This article is also published at Thrive Global.