When we begin a Power of TED* workshop we start with this question: “What do you focus on? Do you focus on what you don’t want or what you do want?” Your answer to this first question will have a subtle, yet very profound, influence on your life. Let us explain.
Our bodies and brains are wired to be hyper-sensitive to danger. This is because you have a natural survival instinct that requires you to pay close attention to what might harm you.
Our ancestors, who lived in wild and harsh conditions, faced physical threats at every corner. Thank goodness their nervous system developed sensitivities to danger and problems. It is what allowed them to withstand harsh conditions and create new life.
Driven by the human instinct to survive, our neurological system and five senses are designed to be an alert system to danger. Recent neurological research indicates that social threats—not feeling supported at work or home for example— are as threatening as physical harm.
Because our life system is so beautifully designed to be on the look-out for both physical and social threats, it is easy to go unconscious to how deeply imbedded this mechanism is in our human navigation system. In other words, our entire system is naturally designed to look for, or focus on, what we don’t like in order to survive.
In the TED* work we call this our “default” human operating system because we logically default to focusing on problems and what we don’t like. Redirecting this internal system that is intended to work on autopilot is an enormous task.
When we live from the roles of Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer that make up the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™, we are unconscious to how this default system works. This is especially true today when multi-tasking and the pace of life keeps us running to the next thing.
We default to focusing on what we don’t like and don’t want without thinking. We complain and continue to focus on all that is wrong, which further triggers our reactivity and DDT roles. Since what we think about expands—the more we focus on the problems-of-the-day the more they grow in size and power and eventually dominate the way we relate to our self and others.
If you are aware of your body sensations in the moment, you can learn to distinguish how this internal operating system works inside you. Pausing for even a few seconds takes the wind out of your reactive sails. By pausing and observing yourself in the moment and asking, “Where is my focus? Am I focusing on what I want, or what I don’t want?” you will interrupt your default habits.
With these questions as your guide, you are more apt to evaluate a danger, refocus and ask: “What do I want in this moment?” Now you are on a journey toward empowered living and being a Creator in your own life.