Dan Lawson is a licensed Mental Health Counselor from New York, helping people make change by remembering who we are. He feels people are obsessed with who we are not, and we forget who we are, so he helps organisations and people remember.
Our minds are our survival mechanism scanning for threats, looking for what’s wrong all of the time to help us survive. We get really good at seeing what is wrong, but when you keep focusing on the “wrong” things such as problems or obstacles, this starts to create distress. Whatever we focus on, gets bigger, so we see more obstacles or problems. Dan measures what people or organisations do want in their business, career or life and disciplines their attention.
Attention is a limited resource and a lot of the time people are spending it in ways that are less than helpful. With a new growing mentality of “I am not enough” ….. not old enough, not attractive enough, not successful enough, people start to compete. In competition there is always a winner and many losers. So many people feel that they are losing and this is just not true. What they are losing is the “sight” of what their core values are. We need to break the cycle of competition.
Noticing problems is a natural way of protecting ourselves but our mind becomes unbalanced. Studies show that we don’t learn from our mistakes directly but we have to study our progress or successes first to be able to learn and adapt from our problems, mistakes or struggles. It’s not that problems can’t be solves but that direct focus often doesn’t allow us to generate solutions. We create anxiety through urgency, as our mind becomes agitated. We don’t know what is working.
We need to focus on more of what is working in a business or relationship to help build resilience and help develop more of it. Whatever you focus on gets bigger.
The pressure of people not being enough is like a “chain of shame”, which affects us all in different ways. When people are in a rough way, it is hard to see when we are doing things right. In this state, if we look to see what is right with other people, we can often only see a positive and a negative attribution. But for those that “flourish” they tend to pay attention to five positive things in the people around them or the environment, to one negative attribution. This is an unnatural choice for us as our minds are naturally defaulted to assessing what is wrong.
If you see something good, the best thing to do is talk about it. There is that old story of a wife says to her husband “you never tell me you love me” and he replies “ I did 22 yrs ago when we got married and if things change I will let you know”. This is how we tend to be with our spouses, colleagues, children. If goodness is not talked about then it simply does not exist.
If you participate in the story when you see goodness it will inspire you and make you feel connected, it will take away the shame and that false sense of ourselves, as we strive for authenticity. When we see goodness, we can take away the “mask” that we have to wear when we see the bad stuff.
You can’t measure fear, worries or what could go wrong, and develop a whole plan of action around this fear. Life then just becomes a reaction or response to what could be wrong and we don’t feel in control. By noticing what’s good, what is working, managers can develop their peoples confidence and self-esteem, helping them raise performance and do good work.
If leaders decide to look for what is going right, what is good, it is very unnatural and it does take courage. It is easier to be critical but judging and criticising never “made that person show up for work….”, neither does it create strategies or creativity. It takes radical discipline to see what is right and see goodness in other people.
Our focus of attention becomes our reality. We can only participate in the reality that we design. If I believe there are no possibilities then I will behave in a certain way. If I believe that things can change, I can learn things and become stronger and develop a growth mindset. Goodness is attractive! it transforms people and creates great relationships. Focus on goodness and you will achieve happiness.