Start Noticing the Good
Posted on 15th December 2017 at 22:16
Focus on the good and you will find it will increase all around you.
I’ll be reading, as per usual, from my beautiful book called ‘Get Happy’. I am going to read first and then have a bit of a chat, so let’s see what I have to say on Day 114.
“Hello folks. I caught up with an old friend recently. It was lovely to see her, but she spent a good amount of our time together telling me about all the things her husband doesn’t do. He doesn’t clean up after himself very often. He doesn’t do the washing. He doesn’t do the ironing. He doesn’t hoover. He doesn’t do the dishwasher as much as she would like him to. He doesn’t tidy things away in the way she does. He doesn’t buy her flowers. He doesn’t like doing some of the things she enjoys and so on. It was quite a long list of things he doesn’t do and they all irritated her. After a while, I asked her what he does do. She was stumped. She had a think for a few minutes and then said, “Well he does play with the children. He does do the cooking a lot. He does do the bins more than me and he does look after the finances. Actually there is quite lot he does do.” I suggested to her that she started to focus her attention on the things he does do. We all have or own particular strengths and interests. We all have things we are more drawn to doing. Expecting someone else to do the things you want them to, and then judging them for not doing them is a tad unfair. Today, make an effort to appreciate the things that the people around you do do instead of getting irritated by the things they don’t. It just feels better.”
There you go. So I wanted to concentrate on that one in this run up to Christmas. Because I think, as we get nearer to Christmas we put pressure on ourselves to have the perfect Christmas. And we put pressure on the people around us to help us have the perfect Christmas.
I think it’s much easier for us as human beings to focus on the bits that annoy us, to focus on the things people aren’t doing, especially as we get to Christmas and we have this massive to do list of things to get sorted.
It’s not just work and normal life which is tough enough to juggle at the best of times, but now you’ve got Christmas.
And it’s got to be the best Christmas ever and perfect and brilliant, which means that you have got three million more things to do.
And you want all the people around you to be doing three million more things in exactly the way that you want them done as well.
It’s much easier for us to focus on what’s not being done and what people aren’t doing and what people don’t do.
As human beings we’re absolutely wired to see and hold on to the negative stuff rather than to see and hold on to the positive stuff. That’s part of what I teach people to do in The Happiness Club
It’s easier for us because we are wired that way. It’s easier for us to notice the things that aren’t being done or the things that people don’t do. And it takes more effort for us to actually sit and notice what someone is doing and notice the things that have been done.
But here’s the thing - if you genuinely focus your attention on what someone has just done and what someone is doing, it softens your feelings towards them. It removes that annoyance.
If you genuinely appreciate what they are doing and what they have done it softens all of that irritation and annoyance beautifully. It opens you up to that person in a beautiful way and actually you will start noticing more and more and more stuff that they’re doing.
And the more you notice it, and the more you focus on the things they are doing and the more open you are to them and appreciative you are of them and the things they are doing, the more they will do.
It’s just the way it works.
The more you notice the stuff they don’t do, the more you pay attention to the stuff they’re not doing, the less stuff they’ll do.
I absolutely promise you. Try it. Have a go.
Focus on what they’re doing.
Focus on what you’re doing too. Stop beating yourself up for the things that you’re not doing and celebrate and congratulate yourself for the things you are doing.
The more you focus on what you’re doing, what someone around you is doing, the more you’ll do it and the more they’ll do it. I totally promise.
I know there are probably some of you that think I am a bit crackers (I am a bit crackers) and you’re thinking, “What is she talking about? Why will just noticing it make it happen more?” I promise it will, absolutely. 100% promise it will. No shadow of a doubt.
So just to re-cap.
My friend in my book that I wrote about, was focussing utterly on all the stuff that her husband didn’t do and when she started focussing on the stuff that he did do, actually she found it surprisingly easy.
She was a bit stumped to start with but then she started and it flowed out of her. She started finding it very easy to notice the stuff that he did do.
Happier Family Exercise
Actually I did a Happier Family webinar about this time last year and one of the things I suggested for a happier family was to get a big blackboard and do two things. You make columns, one per person and the first week you write in your column what you’ve done and your husband, your partner, your wife, whoever, writes in their column and your children if they’re old enough write in their column what they’ve done.
Don’t just include household chores because, yawn, that’s boring.
Include things like how many times you have hugged because hugging is ace. If you didn’t already know that I like hugging, I quite like hugging and hugging is ace. I’m very very good at hugging if anyone ever wants a hug. Open invitation.
Write things like that: “I hugged,” “I played with the kids.” Not just, “I hoovered,” and “I did the dishwasher,” because that’s boring. Include those things too though.
So for the first week you make a note yourself of what you’ve done.
The second week you scrub it all out and then you write under everyone else’s columns what they have done.
It makes you pay attention.
In the first week you have sort of smacked everyone in the face with what you’re doing and try not to be smug about it because there will be one of you that does more stuff than the others.
The second week, you have to pay attention to what everyone else is doing. You have to notice what everyone else is doing and you have to record what everyone else is doing and it makes you pay attention and it makes you notice.
And as I said before, you focus on what people are doing instead of what people aren’t doing. Focus on the good things please, not all the stuff they do that are bad.
You are in charge of your focus. You switch it round.
I know sometimes it doesn’t feel like it but you absolutely are, you can be. You have the power and ability to be in charge of your own focus.
Start noticing what the people around you are doing that's good. Use the blackboard idea if you want to. It’s a freebie - go for it!
Pay attention, pay attention, pay attention.
Notice what they are doing, the good stuff. Stop paying attention to the bad stuff they’re doing and stop only seeing the stuff they’re not doing. Start seeing the stuff they are doing.
It won’t all be the stuff that you want them to do or that you think they should be doing, it will be other stuff that clicks with them and it has value. Just because it’s not what you want to do or you want them to do, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value.
Do this activity with anyone of any age. It can work with older kids too, absolutely, honestly, the younger the better. Get them started finding the positives because we grow up trained to see the negative so if we can start training kids, that is the most valuable thing that you can do for any kids in your care. You can start getting them to focus on the good stuff now.
Imagine how awesome they’re going to be in their twenties and thirties and forties and fifties and how much of a difference that is going to make to the world because you cared enough to teach them stuff! How cool it that? That is like the coolest thing ever.
They are my words of wisdom for this week.
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