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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. Thanks for submitting this post to the Feminism at its Finest blog carnival. Your post has been featured and is now up, so check it out! Also, if you can, please consider promoting the Feminist at its Finest carnival, we would definitely appreciate your efforts.

    Thanks again!

  2. Brilliant, just brilliant. I love colors and playing with colors too, and I loved each and every moment of going through this article.

    Thank you for this.

  3. I cannot agree more that what I focus on, expands. It’s amazing just how one tiny insight can help transform my thoughts. I now make it a conscious effort to choose better and more positive thoughts.

    Thanks for sharing your tips! Very beautifully articulated!


  4. Hey!

    Gotta say, this sounds very much like the realization I had when I was serving as a volunteer in the Native American Bahá’í Institute in the Navajo Reservation. I call it “confirmations” and it’s all about noticing the opportunities we get every day. Ever challenge and every good thing that happens to us is an opportunity to cultivate your personality and soul, to become happier and to make others happier.

    Like when you learn a new word, let’s say “defenestrate”, you start seeing that word everywhere, it just pops out (just like your colors, i like your example).

    I also like the effect this can have to the world. Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith said:
    “When a thought of war comes, oppose it with a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a stronger thought of love.”

    This sounds like utopia, unless you put it in the context of what you were talking about… it has had a TREMENDOUS effect in my life, so this thinking can also have an effect in the world.

    Dishwasher Experience.
    Me and my cousin moved together when we started studying in uni together. We wanted to make our home a place where everyone feels welcome. It became such, and this resulted to HUGE PILES OF DISHES. Well, once we got a call, that someone wanted to give us a dishwasher for free cos they were moving to a new place. If this had happened last year, I’d just been like “yeah cool, so now I don’t have to spend so much time washing dishes” but with this new understanding i thought “wow, this is great, now we can invite more friends and be even more welcoming!”

  5. Isn’t this the truth? A lot of the audio books I listened to help people do just this: focus on what you want. If you feel like you’re running around getting exhausted and have no time… rephrase it: I have an excess of time, and I enjoy every bit of it!

  6. To me, this article is saying “give that which you wish to receive, in order to get that which you gave”. I explain it like this:

    Consciousness always loops back onto itself in a never-ending circle of what is being perceived. You keep perceiving what you are getting but you only get what you consciousness perceive. Therefore the only way to perceive something else, is to give (give to others) what you wish to perceive, since what you give is what you will receive and what you receive is what your consciousness will perceive.

    For example, give unconditional love and your consciousness will perceive that there is unconditional love to give and in that act the consciousness will perceive that it received unconditional love (it received it because it was there to give). Once this happens then your consciousness can loop back onto itself unconditional love in all that it perceives.

    Your consciousness is infinite vast and it is receiving infinite vastness but the only way to be made aware and perceive what you are receiving in your experience, is to consciously give your consciousness that which you wish to receive. Give what you desire to other, and your consciousness will see that you have it in order to give, you will attract what you give.

    Thank you Tina for this fantastic display of content indeed! :)

  7. I found your blog today through the post “100 blogs that will inspire you to be a better person,” and this blog is the one I like best on that list. Thanks for writing, I know I’ll continue to come across things on this blog that will help me in my life.

  8. Before I even start responding something related to the topic, I would like to put forward the fact that I visit your blog whenever I feel blue. And your effective words are just as soothing to my ever-rampant nerves. I have never been a profuse flatterer but I just love your blog. The inexplicable aura of your blog makes it irresistible!

    As regards the article, I personally think it’s a very good concept. But then, it’s very difficult to think about people’s positive aspects when they are mean to us. I mean, the habit can be cultivated over a course of time but it’s something very hard to accomplish. Super optimistic by nature, I find it very hard to do only that. But nay, I don’t hold grudges against people nor strive to retaliate. I just ignore them. I may be angry for a while, a few moments later anger gives way to indifference. I know this is just a protective armor to hide my vulnerability inside, but then I don’t seem to find a way out to the problem!

  9. Ah cool Tina, what a powerful and practical exercise to realizing how well our minds are able to focus on whatever it is we choose and thus lead to the expansion of what we focus on! This is a great teaching lesson. I’m totally gonna share this with other people. :)

  10. Great points! Thanks for writing it!

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