It’s raining out today. One of those glorious, deep-soaking rains that my little part of the world desperately needs. I’m stuck inside the house—it’s summer, after all—contemplating life.
This has got me thinking about some of the things that have had a huge impact on my life. People, places, sayings. Lately, it’s been a saying by life coach, author, and singer/song writer Christine Kane:
“Your attention is the most powerful resource available to you at any given moment. What you focus on grows.”
Today, these words feel powerful. But for a long time, I didn’t get what they meant. For me, the elusive part of the saying has always been how “grow” relates to attention and focus.
“What you focus on grows.”
I just didn’t get it. How did this relate to my personal growth? Or was it only about work and goals and achieving things?
After a few weeks of reading Christine Kane’s words every time I opened up my computer, after mulling over the meaning of that last line, it finally made sense.
You see, I’d recently developed a small practice to gain control over my monkey brain. You know the brain I’m talking about, right? It’s the one that likes to control our thoughts, because distraction and chaos make it incredibly happy. It’s also the one that’s scattered and splattered and uses every excuse out there to prevent us from reaching the finish line.
I think it’s the ego’s first cousin…
A few weeks ago, I instilled the following habits to overpower my monkey brain:
1. Every morning, seven days a week, I sit down at my desk and meditate for three minutes. Sure, it’s short, but it’s enough time to quiet the monkey thoughts and train the brain to focus.
2. At eight-thirty, Monday through Saturday, the Freedom app shuts down everything but my Scrivener writing app. No more internet. No more email. Freedom takes the choice away from me. I can write…or choose to sit there for an hour and a half, and stare blankly at the screen.
Through these habits, I’ve learned that if I want to do something—write a book, learn to quilt, or cut out processed foods—the more focused time and attention I put on the task, the faster I grow and achieve my goal. And now I want to take this simple process of attention and focus, and grow it into other areas of my life. Baby steps…but that’s another life’s lesson.
So now tell me, when you read that saying, what does it mean to you? Or like me, do you need some time to mull it over to absorb and grasp the lesson there?