Refocusing the Effort
More than usual this week, I noticed how much choice has
to do with our moods.
I have lots of justification for being stressed. I’m moving,
work is piling up, and a project team I’ve put together is
experiencing major challenges. Any one of those things
could make one cranky. Added together, it can get ugly
In the midst of these matters, I noticed the deadly
SERIOUSNESS of my approach. I had to remind myself
what a former boss of mine used to say, “Silver, we’re not
curing cancer here .It’s important but not life
threatening.” (Of course if you’re working at Sloan
Kettering, maybe you can’t say that but for most of us it’s
What I forget so often when I’m in one of those serious
(and admittedly control-oriented) moods is that, not only is
it making me feel worse than I need, it’s also moving me
away from what I want!
The Law of Attraction says, “You attract more of what
you focus on.” When we approach problems with any form
of negative emotion, we are not attracting solutions, we are
attracting more problems.
Wow. It is so easy to forget that in the heat of the battle.
What I am re-learning is that harnessing the Law of
Attraction to advantage takes effort. That’s because the
Law of Attraction isn’t something we choose to impact
us. It’s like the Law of Gravity. If you don’t believe in
gravity and jump off a building, there’s going to be a mess
to clean up! It’s the same with attraction. It’s impacting us
whether or not we believe in it.
So it’s back to basics for me and I invite you to join in.
It all starts with asking the right questions because our
brains are designed to be answer machines. No matter
what question you pose to your mind, it will answer you.
That’s why I caution people to be careful about what
questions are posed.
If you ask, “How could I be so stupid?” Your brain will
provide you with a lengthy answer! Ask yourself, “Why
did I ever start this in the first place?” Your brain will
remind you of all the other hare-brained schemes you’ve
Better questions might be:
• How am I going to feel when I’ve accomplished
• What lessons am I learning that will make things
easier in the future?
• What’s the opportunity here?
• How can I make this more fun?
What’s intriguing to me is the opportunity to shift the
focus and transform what’s gone on in the past.
For example, sometimes we become embroiled in battles
and there is a stalemate. Have you ever experienced the
relief of having your “opponent” approach you and say,
“You know, I’ve been thinking about this and I know, if we
work together, we can come up with a solution.”
Suddenly, the heat of the argument that went before
dissolves and you’re returned to a good working
relationship, as if the battle never took place.
Relief is the next step up from utter frustration or anger.
When you’re really “in it,” what you want to do is reach
for some relief. Don’t try and suddenly propel yourself
into a good mood. It’s too big a leap. Instead, find some
way to reach a feeling of relief. At that point, you’ve
reversed the direction in which your mood is going and
you’re on an upward spiral.
It’s a simple but profound refocusing of the effort. It takes
great effort to be in a bad mood. It actually takes much less
effort to be happy. Where the effort comes in is making the
It’s all up to you whether you want to turn or continue
where you’re going.