Rule 3: Confused People Focus on the Negatives
It’s easy to focus in on what’s wrong – and nothing changes.
The Phoenix Perspective:
focusing on what can be changed is freeing.
Most people are experts at discovering things that they consider to be wrong. They then blame themselves or others for these supposed wrongs. Then, as if that isn’t enough, they go on a collecting spree, building up a list of perceived wrongs, thus finding “evidence” to support their feeling of being hard done by.
For example, many couples blame their spouse for all the problems in the relationship. It starts out innocently enough. The glow wears off, and she looks at him and says, “Boy, look at that! Is he ever inconsiderate.” Or, “She was certainly more interesting when we were dating.” Almost always it’s something small.
Having heard the thought, the ego gets involved. It does one of two things. It either says, “Well, given the fact that you are a rotten person, you deserve this,” (self – blaming) or says, “Yeah. He is a jerk. Remember when he . . .” (blaming the other.) The ego then puts in an order to the subconscious, to provide evidence.
In either case, they’re off to the races.
They’ll start paying attention to the collected evidence. Soon, all they’ll notice are the negatives.
The question I want you to think about is this: If all you do is list the negatives, what has changed?
If all you ever do is list the negatives, and build a case for the negatives, at the end of the day what you have done is construct a world that is totally negative. You’re stuck there, feeling miserable – and have accomplished nothing. Yet, everyone has an area of their life where just the opposite is true, where you can easily see positives.
For example, perhaps when it comes to work projects, you’re elegant. You see a problem, identify it, define it, and then spit out reams of possible solutions. In your personal life, however, you simply make lists of your partner’s failures.
The solution is obvious: Identify what works and what doesn’t. Polish what works in other areas of your life and transport those skills and abilities to what doesn’t. If you resolve business problems with the greatest of ease, do you really think that the same skill won’t work in your personal life?
Your third exercise: Can you think of an area in your life that “works?” What skills and understandings do you routinely use successfully? What would it be like to transport them to areas of conflict?