If you have done any proofreading, especially if it’s your own written material, you know how difficult it can be. We don’t see the errors because we know what we meant to write. We see what we intended to write, not what we wrote. (Thank goodness for spellchecking—at least it catches some of the errors.)
We can use this concept in a broader sense. How much do we see because we expect to see it? As a simple example, I was at an expo selling my books. Someone bought a book for $10.00. She gave me a twenty and I gave her back a ten. A little while later, she came back and said she had given me a fifty. I didn’t think she had, but I looked in my change anyway. Tucked in with the twenties was a fifty. It had to be hers because I only take fives and tens to expos to make change. No one had ever given me a fifty before, and I was not expecting it. I was expecting a twenty and so I saw a twenty. (I was grateful she noticed and said something.)
How many times do we interpret events based on what we expect to see, hear, or feel rather than what is really happening? How many times do we judge people and/or their actions based on what we expect rather than what is real? It is important to keep an open mind and to focus on what is truly happening.
I like dogs, or, more accurately, I like dogs I know and I don’t dislike dogs in general. I’m more of a cat person. I can appreciate, though, how dogs get distracted by the smallest things, such as squirrels. No matter what the dog is doing, a squirrel shows up, and boom—she’s off chasing it. (Okay, cats are basically the same. We just can’t see some of the things that distract them.)
Unfortunately, we humans often “chase squirrels” as well. We can easily become distracted from what we need to do to achieve our goals. Little things constantly come up, and boom—we’re off chasing them.
If we want to achieve the professional and personal life that we want, it is important that we stay focused on our goals and ignore the “squirrels” that constantly chatter at us. It’s acceptable to tell people “no.” It’s acceptable to let unimportant things slide. And although some squirrels are fun to chase, does doing so help you reach your goals?
Are you a squirrel chaser? Could you achieve more if you ignored those darn squirrels?
We all have things that we do not like to do. However, we also need to do these things to get the results that we want. It helps to focus on the results.
For example, I do not like sending out invoices. It’s paperwork that needs to be done, but it’s dull. However, I really like getting paid. When I focus on how I will get paid sooner if I send out invoices sooner, it makes the task more tolerable.
The same can apply to our personal lives. I like having a clean, uncluttered house. (I do not think I am obsessive. My husband might disagree.) I hate house cleaning. When I am cleaning house and focus on how much I do not want to do it, it makes a disagreeable situation worse. When I focus on how great the house will look when I am done, and how good that will make me feel, the situation is better.
Are there things in your life that you do not like to do? Would it help to focus on the results rather than the unenjoyable task?