We all have dreams of the wonderful life we wish to manifest for ourselves. We all want that perfect job, lifestyle, partner and all the things that go along with a perfect life. And the truth is that the vast majority of us fall far short of achieving anything near what we truly wish for ourselves. We live a life of quiet desperation as Thoreau put it.
The truth is that each of us has within us the potential to achieve any and all dreams that we have. All those great things, people and circumstances we desire can be part of our lives. If that’s true, then why do so many people play the game of life at such a low level?
How We Are Programmed
From a very young age, we are programmed to think we’re not all that great. When we receive that spelling test of 20 words back from the teacher, our attention is drawn with a big red mark to the one we got wrong. Well, what about the 19 we got right? We are taught to focus on our mistakes, on all the things we do wrong, and to ignore the great job we’ve done in getting so much right. This makes us fearful to try. After all, we might make another mistake, and everyone might be very quick to draw our attention to it, to make us feel foolish.
We subconsciously learn to be very attentive to the feedback of our peers about every aspect of our lives. We also continuously compare ourselves to our peers when we hear this feedback.
And ironically it is those closest to us whose feedback can be most damaging to the achievement of our dreams. Most often, these people want to help us, protect us because they don’t want to see us hurt or disappointed, and so advise us that it’s better not to try such a risky venture. Better to play safe and get a “normal” job like everyone else has.
The Inner Voice
We have this little voice inside us that whispers in virtual silence, encouraging us to go for this amazing dream that we have for our life, even if we have absolutely no idea how it could possibly come true, and not even an action plan devised yet to make it happen. This voice within urges us, guides us toward this seemingly crazy, though inspiring notion.
And then on the other hand, we have the advice of our family and friends – those people who all play the game of life by the same rule book as each other. What they say seems logical: Don’t go for this crazy idea – play safe. Better safe than sorry. What you want to do makes no sense. You have no idea how to do it, no experience. No one makes any money at what you want to do. How can doing that be a sensible, normal life for anyone?
Who Do You Listen To?
And so who do we wind up listening to? Most listen to the advice coming from outside ourselves. We turn down the voice within and drown it out with the noise of a “normal” life. And though it never completely goes away, over time that voice gets weaker and weaker until eventually we resign ourselves to the fact that our dream has died.
So with the weight of all the opinions of those closest to us, and the rational, logical, normal way most people live lives of quiet dissatisfaction doing battle with our inner voice that urges us to go for that crazy dream, how do we reconcile the two so that we give ourselves an opportunity to actually live that dream?
Your Life, Your Decision
Like most things in life, it comes down to a choice, a decision. Most people are shy to take full responsibility for their lives, and to do their own thing in the face of all the nay-sayers. After all, taking responsibility is difficult. But you must understand that you are not here to live the life others wish you to live, nor to follow anyone’s plan for you apart from your own.
Ultimately, you are answerable only to yourself, and following someone else’s plan for your life is a recipe for dissatisfaction. So you must decide yourself what course your life must take.
New-thought author Neville Goddard goes some way to explaining how to go about doing this. He speaks about the power of your imagination and its ability to provide for you the achievement of your goals depending upon your ability to control the level of attention you give to achieving your goals.
Your attention is the key. And as Goddard explains in his book The Power of Awareness, there are two types of attention: subjective attention and objective attention. This may sound somewhat strange, but it is actually very simple. Subjective attention is inner directed and objective attention is outer directed.
Goddard explains the vital importance of directing your attention like this:
“There is an enormous difference between attention directed objectively and attention directed subjectively, and the capacity to change your future depends on the latter. When you are able to control the movements of your attention in the subjective world, you can modify or alter your life as you please. But this control cannot be achieved if you allow your attention to be attracted constantly from without. Each day, set yourself the task of deliberately withdrawing your attention from the objective world and of focusing it subjectively.”
Let’s look at an example to illustrate this point. Say that you wish to write a book, which, by the way, is no small undertaking. Imagine that you’ve taken creative writing classes, learned how to create and develop characters, describe scenes, set moods and the like. You have this brilliant idea for a book, and you’ve decided that you have the ability, the desire, the passion, the determination, and you’re going to write it. Writing and publishing this book is your goal. This is simply something that you feel you have to do.
So having made this momentous decision, you further decide to share it with some of your closest friends and family.
And in response, you hear phrases like…
“Oh, that’s a very big job – are you sure you’re up to that?”
“Wow, how are you going to do that?”
“That’s great – good luck!”
“Most publishers won’t take a chance on an unknown author, you know.”
“I read somewhere that most books don’t succeed – they don’t actually make any money.”
“Oh wow, you’re very brave. It’s such a competitive field. I read a statistic that said that only 3 in 10,000 books even get published. Good luck!”
If you’ll consider these statements, you’ll notice that most of them aren’t all that encouraging!
Objective attention is listening to and focusing on statements like these, which come from the outside world. Doing this will inevitably cause you to give up when you encounter the countless hurdles and setbacks that go hand in hand with writing and publishing a book. And even if you do manage to finish your book, you will very likely give up trying to get it published after having been rejected by a dozen or so publishers. In short, objective attention will prevent you from achieving your goal.
Subjective attention is having the discipline to ignore all such statements like the ones above, direct your attention inward on all the reasons why you want to make this goal happen, and to continue on regardless. I’m not saying this is easy, but if you wish to achieve your goal, it is absolutely essential.
So, in this example, you would make a conscious decision to ignore all the reasons why you might not be able to do it, how hard it will be, how even if you are somehow able to finish your book, no one will publish it, and even if someone does, no one will buy it. You simply will not direct your attention toward these things.
In the face of all the evidence from the outside world that says it will never happen, you will instead look within. You will remember the reasons why you wanted to write the book in the first place. You will continually remind yourself how skilful you are at writing, how determined you are, how passionate you are, and how the achievement of your goal is far more important to you than all the reasons anyone and everyone can come up with that say it’s a crazy idea, and it’ll never happen. This is subjective attention. This is what you want to embrace if you want to achieve your goal.
Are you able to see the difference between each kind of attention, and how much influence each has on how you will perform as you attempt to make your goal into a reality? Objective attention has the power to stop you dead in your tracks, ensuring your goal will never happen. Subjective attention will propel you forward through the difficult times as you climb that proverbial mountain.
Your Sacred Space
So mentally create a little space in your heart where you place your goal. Make this space sacred. No one is permitted to enter or even touch it but you. And in this space, along with your goal, you place your reason why you need to make it happen, and all the resources you have at your disposal to make it into a reality. Place your resolve and determination there in that space as well.
And when you hear all the flack from the outside world that does its best to dissuade you, smile and enter that sacred space you created. Keep your attention focused there. This will give you the reason and the strength you need to keep going until your goal manifests.
Dante Petrilla has been studying the success literature for the past decade and used the techniques and skills he learned to turn his own life completely around. He transformed himself from a depressed person to a happy person once he learned to direct the focus of his thoughts and emotions. Dante is also a writer who enjoys writing in the personal development area.
Dante is an AUNLP certified life coach and NLP Practitioner, member of the American University of NLP, and also a Global Sciences Foundation member. He is currently studying to become an NLP trainer.
He is also the author of Debt Freedom, Change Your Beliefs, Change Your Life, and How to Lose Weight Fast, all of which are available on Amazon.