What do you give attention to?

As a great business coach Christine Kane says ‘Attention is the daily practice of intention. Your attention is your most powerful creative tool. Energy flows where attention goes...’


When you focus on what doesn’t work in your life you pay attention to those things over those that work. Attention is powerful exactly because of what Christine said – it’s about energy. If you decide that today, you will focus on positive things, what goes well and look for learning rather than where you messed up your perspective changes and your energy shifts. If you are not used to it, it might be harder at the start because your brain has a natural predisposition to focus on the negative.

The good news is that it’s entirely up to you what you pay attention to and therefore you are fully in control.

For example, if you have a supervisor who you don’t feel supported but rather put down by during meetings maybe it’s time to reflect on how these meetings are led and what your input is. Are you coming to the meetings prepared knowing what your agenda is? Are you aware of the key points you want to communicate? Can you take more ownership of the meeting and what you have to say? Can you have a conversation with them about what matters to you and where you need support? Stick with facts and aim for its outcome to be a win-win for both parties. You both want the relationship to succeed for different reasons. Sometimes what’s missing is one open conversation about expectations and the support needed.

I have just finished reading a great book called The Art of Being Brilliant by Andy Cope and Andy Whittaker. I wholeheartedly recommend it. It’s fun with great illustrations on the topic of finding what works for you, doing more of it and as a result, feeling happier. There’s one chapter called ‘Your beautiful mind’ and I would like to share with you some of the thoughts presented there as they are closely related to the topic of this blog. Here is a summary of the main takeaways from the chapter:

Our mind is beautiful but complex. Two things are important – our conscious mind is very logical whereas our unconscious mind is a source of emotions and stores memories. There is one key characteristic of the unconscious mind: it does not process negatives. Therefore (the authors use here a great example) if you are told not to think of a monkey in a pink nappy… what happens? Monkey in a pink nappy is the only thing you can think of! As they then go on to explain, the inability to process negatives means that people attract things into their life that they want to avoid.

What this means in practice is that people think and talk about what they ‘don’t want’, e.g. I don’t want to be late, I don’t want to go to that meeting, I don’t want to feel like this, I don’t want to feel stuck anymore, I don’t want to have a headache. Sounds familiar?

Because the unconscious mind doesn’t process the negatives the focus is exactly on them. As the authors emphasise: ‘what you focus on or think about the majority of the time is what your unconscious mind goes to work on attracting into your life. It works like radar.’

The learning here is simple – focus on what you want to happen rather than what you don’t want. It presents you with a fantastic opportunity to create a life that you want and reminds you that you are controlling things that happen to you. Give it a go today and see what happens!

Let me know how it went and if it has resonated with you.