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Train Your Eyes to See Color, Again

Photo by Marina Burity

There are many reasons why we don’t always get what we want. One of these reasons is because we focus on the opposite of what we want. Sometimes, we just can’t help it. But, if we are conscious of our thoughts, we can intercept these thoughts and shift our frame of mind towards our desired goals.

Have you ever been particularly annoyed by a person or situation? The more we complain about it, the more we notice it. The more we notice it, the worse it becomes. The next time we interact with that person or situation, we almost expect to be annoyed and thus subconsciously look for those small triggers that’ll make us annoyed.

In a similar example of an opposite scenario: Have you ever shopped for a particular kind of car which you’ve never noticed before? For example, a black SmartCar or a silver Toyota Prius. And suddenly, you see them everywhere? Similarly, have you shopped for a particular piece of clothing, let’s say a blazer style jacket for the spring, and suddenly you notice them everywhere?

Whether we focus on things we want or do not want, the truth is that What we focus on expands.

From my experience, dreams do come true, for the sole reason that the more you focus on something, the more of it you’ll notice and you’ll be particularly sensitive to opportunities that’ll come your way which will allow your dreams to become your reality.

Try It For Yourself! A Simple Exercise

Not convinced of what I’m saying? That’s cool. I still like you. :) But before you throw your hands up, try this simple yet powerful exercise. It’s so simple, you could do it anywhere.

1. Next time you are walking or driving somewhere, or sitting on the bus or a car. Remember to do this.

2. Pick a color and focus on it. Look for that color in your field of vision as you’re moving about. For example, focus on the color red.

3. Do this for several minutes. Do you notice this color in so many places?

4. Pick another color and focus on it. Forget about the first color, just focus on the second. For example, try the color green.

5. Continue for several minutes. Scan your surroundings. Do you suddenly notice your second color popping up everywhere?

6. Repeat several times using different colors each time.

Pretty cool huh? As simple or as silly this may sound, it’s a powerful exercise that I like to play around with. Each time we shift our focus on a new color, it feels like a shift in vision, or putting on special glasses that only filters this color.

I first learned about this cute technique from my mother. We were in the car and I was particularly annoyed about something and I started acting like an unreasonable child. She used this exercise to remind me that focusing on thoughts of frustration will only makes our frustrations stronger. I was deeply touched by the experience. I learned that we can proactively shift our thoughts by shifting our focus. A shift in our thoughts will shift our emotions, almost instantly.


Practices in Real Life

So, how can I put this into practice? Great question! There are many situations where you can benefit by putting your power of focus into practice. The following are some practical suggestions.

  • Annoying People – It’s inevitable that we will interact with people who frustrate us. Instead of focusing on why they are frustrating us or the feelings of frustration, focus on things we admire about them. It might take some practice, but start it the next time you are in their presence. Look for things you like about them and what you admire about them. Perhaps they have nice shoes, or a nice smile, or their work ethic is admirable. Focus on that and look for more to focus on.
  • Frustrating Situations – When situations do not favor our expectations, it can be super frustrating. But, the more we think about how annoyed we are, the more red-eyed and anger-consumed we become, which is not helping the situation or your health. Focus on the positives of a situation. Make an effort to pick them out. I know this can be tough to do, but just start. Look for things that you learned or enjoyed about the situation.A personal story: More than a year ago, I traveled from Tibet to Nepal with my friends Jonathan and his wife Soyan. What should have been an easy 4 hour cab ride into the capital turned into a 10 hour ordeal resulting in 6 separate rides that got us into the city safely. It was a deeply frustrating and stressful situation, but amongst it all, we got to see the warmth of people from rural Nepal, and had a unique and enriching cultural experience.
  • Feeling Sick – When we don’t feel physically well, do you notice that we like to tell ourselves that we’re not feeling well? We like to tell anyone at any opportunity that “I’m sick”. While you are entitled to saying anything you like, what will actually help you get better is by focusing on being healthy. Enjoy this time as your body rests and recovers. Focus on the image of you in perfect health.
  • ‘I Hate My Job’ – I’ve heard of this from many others and have repeated it myself when the moments get rough. The result is always the same: as I find more reasons to dislike my job, I feel even more discontent. In these moments, I have a tendency to forget just how lucky and privileged I am to have such a job. My focus on the pain puts into a negative downward spiral.Start to pick out and focus on things you enjoy about your job and all the wonderful opportunities you are afforded through it. Create a list of personal benefits from your job, and then focus on each point. For example: financial security, time flexibility, creative expression, feeling of empowerment when completing a project, inspirational co-workers, learning opportunities, chances to help others, health insurance, stock options, etc.
  • Jealousy of Other People – When we judge other people as better off than we are, it becomes easy to get caught up in feelings of jealousy, which are self-destructive. Instead of focusing on why others are undeserving, choose to understand what makes them deserving. Highlight what they’ve done well and reasons why they have been successful. Now use these insights as a source of inspiration to help yourself excel.
  • Stuck at the Airport, Missing a Flight or Losing Your Luggage – Most problems with traveling are frustrating experiences, especially when leaving home already puts us outside of our comfort zone. Focusing on how frustrating it is will only make us feel worse, and only for yourself. Focus on qualities that are empowering about the experience. How can you make the experience a positive one? For example, you can perhaps focus on:
    • “I have an extra few hours to catch up on reading.”
    • This has become a really great opportunity to meet a new friend.
    • “At least I’m still alive. I’m breathing and all. The flight delay is to ensure my safety and I am thankful for that.”
    • “Yes, delaying my luggage is inconvenient, but at least they’ll deliver it for free and I don’t have to wait at the airport for them.”
  • ‘I don’t have enough time for…” – Have you heard of yourself start a sentence like this? And then waste time on unproductive tasks like browsing the web, chatting with a friend, writing verbose emails, channel surfing on the TV. I’ve been there! You and I both know it is an excuse to avoid doing something we don’t want to do. (*wink*) If something was important enough, we can create time to make it happen. Instead of saying “I don’t have enough time for X” and then brushing it off, practice saying “How can I create time to do X?”, “How can I make this a reality? How can I free some time from my schedule?”.
  • Fear of Failure – The more we focus on the object of our fear, the more powerful the feeling is. Life rarely turns out as bad as we anticipate. Focusing on the worst possible outcome is extremely stressful. Whether it’s asking someone out on a date, or giving a presentation to an audience, it does not help to tell yourself that “I’m afraid I’m going to fail” or “What if I’ll look stupid? I might as well not try.” Instead, focus on what it is that you do want. Focus, by repeating what you want in a present tense statement. Example, “I am confident and knowledgeable about this topic and I can give a kick ass presentation. It’s a breeze!”

Similarly, see if you can apply the same principle to these situations:

  • Losing Weight
  • Losing Money
  • Getting a Date
  • Waiting on a phone line for an operator

I hope this simple skill of focus will add to your emotional mastery tool box and help you for many years to come. Please share your experiences with us when you have a chance.

What do you think about the focus exercise above? Any thoughts or stories on the power of focus from your own experience? We’d love to hear from you. Talk to us in the comments.

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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104 thoughts on Train Your Eyes to See Color, Again

  1. A really nice post Tina. Nice to remember to look for positive things in life because you will find them. Look for you dreams and you will find them!


  2. This resonates with “The Secret” which I watched|loved|marveled about a week and a half ago

    your focus on a particular energy (positive or negative) or feeling will magnify whatever it is you’re paying attention to

    this is why I’ve made the conscious decision to refocus my thinking into a positive context. Small changes, such as
    how great I’ll feel once this assignment is done vs how horribly long it will take me to complete the assignment makes a major difference in my happiness.

    so simple, yet so powerful.

    excellent article.

  3. Good reminder, Tina. The power of positive focus can be a hugely beneficial force in creating the life we want. Of course, in order to truly apply it we have to be a) mindful of what we are actually thinking about, so those negative thoughts can’t run us and b) actually be able to direct our flow of thoughts towards what we want. So often, our thoughts think us rather than us thinking our thoughts. Which is where meditation is a very, very good tool …


  4. Another fabulous post! Thanks for the inspiration :)

  5. Hi Tina,

    I like this post. It’s an instant and highly practical way to reset a despondent attitude.

    I have a related post about another use of this principle here:

    It details a method to overcome unwanted habits through effective use of both negative and positive focus.

  6. And your consciousness will actually change the cells of your body. I am just beginning to study the work of Bruce Lipton,

    Thanks for a Gem of a blog.

  7. Damon

    reminds me of what one of my cheerleader friends used to say.
    “Turn that frown upside down and smile, smile, smile”

    Change your focus, change your feelings.

  8. CjA

    Thank you for bringing together all the advice that I’ve been given in various ways over the years – from friends, therapists, books, etc. This is a simple, concise way of reminding me that dwelling on the negative just makes me more negative. FYI, psychologists call this “rumination” and have found that women tend to do it more than men. Rumination often leads to depression so it’s best to instead replace those negative thoughts with positive ones, as you have so nicely laid out here. Thank you. (I would vote for this but I don’t know how to do it — I’m new to the web and reading blogs).

  9. I just wrote two posts on this subject: Are You Enjoying the Process? and Stay Curious and Open to Life. Taking control of our awareness is one of the most powerful things we can do. Thanks!

  10. Tina: What you’ve described is basically Cognitive Behavior Therapy. It is a well-documented and effective treatment for depression and other forms of mental illness such as anxiety and panic attacks. However, psycho jargon can confuse or even scare away clients, so your example of focusing and refocusing on colors are just as effective in altering thought processes.



    Hi Steve,

    Oh cool, I didn’t know there was a name for it. I’ve always just called it, “What you focus on expands”. I’d love to learn more about psychology. Thanks for the insight. :)


  11. I agree on all points apart from the job, based on my current situation. I’m about to quit though, so hopefully I’ll find a job doing something I truly love!


  12. I believe this video should make the concept you are trying to explain clearer:

    Change your thoughts and you change your world

  13. I’m in the midst of a rather discouraging job hunt at the moment and am seriously going to try this. I know I have negative thoughts when applying to jobs – I am going to instead visualize myself working happily somewhere, instead of visualizing myself as a hopeless baglady (slight exageration). Also am going to visualize good jobs, instead of cubicle drudgery. Cheers!

  14. Excellent! Love it! Can’t wait to try this!
    I’m on a similar wavelength to you as my article tomorrow on will be on avoiding arguments by changing yourself not the other person.

  15. This article is very thought provoking encouraging and true. I am inspired by the examples and the exercise. In fact as confirmation I have been focusing on my vision in spite of my circumstances and came upon an opportunity today and walked through that door.

    In fact this opportunity was so unique until it filled two areas of my life today. I will share…Today after singing for two hours I decided to take a break and get a pretzel. Well I changed my mind and thought I better get to a computer to see what opportunities have come my way today. Well on my way to the computer I see a flyer on one of the university building doors that the school of Culinary Arts was doing a taping of the food network show “Throwdown” and guess what the food was that they were featuring? You guessed it soft pretzels. Well I quickly made a change in plans to the school of Culinary Arts for this live taping and some great pretzels too. . Now this filled two areas, I was hungry and had not eaten breakfast and it filled my creative and artistic talent in acting.

    The show will not air until either April or May of 2008. The food network show “Throwdown” usually airs on Tuesdays at 8:00p.m. or Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.



    Wow Arlene, that’s a great story. Thanks so much for sharing this little piece of joy with us. I don’t have TV, but maybe I can find it online. :)


  16. Very apropos for the situation I was in….
    I took the whole day off and just concentrated on my A/R (accounts receivable) in the office. As is per the usual, I quickly found myself hating on the whole paperwork/government/people stiffing me bandwagon.
    Rather than despair, I read your article and proceeded to take a walk around my office. I took digital pictures of 7 red objects, and then I thought, “well, red is easy. I’ll look for yellow.” I took 17 yellow pictures. I think I was out for all of 12-15 minutes.
    I can get now get through the last hour of my A/R, paying particular attention to the ones I can fix, AND get paid on.
    What a wonderful blog world you have become a part of, Ms TS.!

  17. That is a great exercise and a great post. A definite keeper in a toolbox for emotional mastery :)

  18. How true your words are!You amaze me!

  19. Interesting, I always use this finding color example with my parents :) whatever you’re focused on, you will get a lot more of it, we simply filter out much of other ‘noises’ that we’re not focused on, often that could the true thing we are after.

    Good post!

  20. This is interesting and I always shift my perspective to focus on the better. But sometimes, it comes into my mind that, “will this suppress my feeling? Will it explode one day?”

    What do you think?

  21. Deb

    Great post, Tina! I so agree with you about dreams coming true because we put more effort and consciousness to making it happen…

  22. That was a good article and I think that you are right on. Thats why when Im sick i always say “im healthy, im healthy, im healthy” in my mind of course..



    Hi Tyler,

    Not that there’s anything wrong with saying this out loud. :)
    I always say, “I’m so tired” and my partner Adam would mock me (and remind me) by staying “Gosh, I feel so energetic!” with a big smile on his face. :)


  23. I never knew it was possible, I heard of training your eyes to see other peoples aura, thats cool.i posted more comments on my blog,

  24. you people can actually see other peoples auras, and by this understanding more about themselves inside, here is more info on aura comments,

  25. I’d like to offer a word of thanks for the post. It is great to be reminded of the power we have in our own lives.

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