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Think about what you want, not what you don´t want

The advice above is pretty obvious and something that you´ve probably heard more than a few times. But when actually used it can be very useful.

You may think: “I should think less about the negative things in my life and not dwell upon them so much”.

Even better is to replace the negative things you don´t want with thinking about the things you actually want.

If you think about having a lack of money this is probably based on past experiences. Perhaps you have had money problems for a year or longer. So you see what has happened so far as proof of what is real, what is your reality. But if you think that the past equals the future it will be hard to change that future. If you don´t think that the past equals the future than it won´t have to.

People spend a lot of time thinking about how they lack money, how they feel lonely, how they work at a job they don´t really like, how they are overweight. They get so used to doing it that they almost forget to think about what they actually do want in life. And with the “proof” of how the world and their life are – based on their track record so far – they see no point in changing their way of thinking.

Useful thinking
Spending time thinking about what you actually want may seem like wishful thinking. Or like that Law of Attraction. The Law of Attraction basically says that what you think about you attract into your life. Of course, to gain anything from it you also have to recognize an opportunity, make a decision and take action.

Maybe you have seen the recent hit-movie The Secret or the cast of that movie on Oprah or Larry King. You may feel that it works, that it may work or that just a scam to earn truckloads of money.

Me, I’m just getting started reading a bit about The Law of Attraction – or Intention Manifestation as some call it – after seeing The Secret last year. Right now I´m leaning more towards believing that there is something to it than not based on sources I find very trustworthy like Steve Pavlina and Brian Tracy.

Energy flows where attention goes
But even though you may not believe in the Law of Attraction there is a good reason to act a bit like you do anyway. That reason is called reticular activation system and is not what you may see as mumbo-jumbo or wishful thinking. It´s very real, in a medical, psychological and give me-the-cold-hard-facts kind of way.

The reticular activation system – or RAS – filters the external reality for you. The outside world contains so much stimuli that you couldn’t keep track of it all and function properly. That´s why the ceiling-fan may be humming, the neighbours may be arguing, your co-worker may be on the phone and your computer may be buzzing but you aren´t noticing any of that right now because you´re focused on reading these words.

RAS focuses your mind. What does it focus on? What you want to focus on. That´s a big reason why you can get these Rashomon-situations where four people have seen the same events but when they later tell it they have four different stories of what “really” happened.

Everybody’s got a cold
What you are focused on also seems to suddenly appear a lot more in reality. If you´ve just bought a wonderful new red car – or are thinking a lot about doing it – you’ll all of a sudden see a lot of red cars wherever you go. Or if you have a cold or fear getting one you’ll suddenly see a lot of people sniffle and sneeze on the bus, street and at work.

So, even if you think the Law of Attraction is just one big scam or you’re uncertain about it you can still use the same perspective. By focusing your reticular activation system on what you want – and not what you don´t want – your mind is much more tuned in to noticing new opportunities rather than noticing the lack of opportunity.

When you are focused on becoming a healthy and energetic person instead of focusing on becoming an overweight person you´ll start to notice posters about new spinning-classes in your neighbourhood or come upon a great article on healthy meals in your local newspaper. You will find inner resources and ideas that didn´t arise – or you didn´t notice – when you focused on your extra weight.

When you are focused on becoming a person who has an abundance, rather than scarcity, of money you will start to listen and ask questions when someone starts to talk about investing in stocks and bonds at a party or at work instead of going for another cup of beer/coffee. You will find useful solutions online or in magazines while you´re in the waiting room at the dentist.

It´s like opportunities just starts to pop up and out from of the tons of stimuli in your environment. And when you lift your eyes up and take them off your problems you´ll start to focus on useful solutions.

A difference, as I understand it so far, between The Law of Attraction and just using your reticular activation system in a better way is that with The Law of Attraction you also start to experience almost magical opportunities and coincidences. It can be that someone you haven´t talked to in months calls you with a great solution to your current problem. Or that you start to get a parking-spaces just in front of the entrance of the crowded super-market every week.

You may or may not believe in that.

But you can still focus you mind on getting what you want out of life. And discover what others, and you just a few months ago, may not even have noticed.

Some tips for better use of your reticular activation system:
- Simply thinking as much as you can about the positive things that you want in your life. And doing that instead of the more common variation: thinking negatively about how bad everything is for you and how much your life kinda sucks.

- Replacing negative information and input with more positive and useful stuff. For instance, replacing reading negative newspaper-stories about how overweight people are more likely to get different diseases with regularly reading a few positive and useful fitness and health websites/blogs.

- Writing down your goals on a piece of paper or on your computer. This will bring clarity to what you want. If you write down these things over and over – maybe every week or every morning – then you´ll also start to notice which ones you really want. And which ones that aren’t that attractive when you have spent some time thinking about them. Knowing what you really want – not what you think you want – can be a pretty useful thing to know.

- Being alert and watchful of opportunities in your life and not just walking around half-asleep looking at your feet.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Loving Annie March 24, 2007, 12:19 am

    I’ve been thinking about what I want today, Henrik, and it is a happy day !
    Blessings to you –

  • Manifest Abundance May 11, 2007, 2:05 pm

    Thanks, great post, as usual!

    The Secret and The Law of Attraction have impacted me greatly and I’m happily recommending The Secret to all my friends!

    Hey, I heard that The Secret 2 is being filmed – any idea when it’ll be out, or who will be featured in it?

    Cheers!
    Andre
    ~~~
    http://www.PersonalGrowthPlan.com/rights

  • Manifesting Abundance May 9, 2009, 10:13 pm

    Excellent insight into how to attract what you want. Focus more on what you do want and less on the stuff you don’t.

  • Sharon August 17, 2010, 12:32 am

    Thank you for your article very beneficial.

    Thank you.