I listened to a podcast last week that included a quote that has had a profound effect on me, and that I thought I would share…
If you are experiencing any negative emotion; doubt, fear, anger, frustration, it is almost always a sign to redirect your attention, either to the task at hand or to others. – Adam Robinson.
If you think about how many times you take things personally, or feel any of these emotions when you are at work, with your partner, while shopping, driving, with family, friends and so on, I am sure those times will be too many to mention.
In every single situation, you could always redirect your attention to the task at hand or to others.
Imagine you are at work and dealing with a particularly difficult client or customer. Rather than focusing on how they are making you feel – which by the way is absolutely normal human behaviour, focus on the task you are helping them with. This redirects the attention from you onto that. Or, as the quote suggests, focus on them. Work on helping them.
Mindfulness is a powerful tool here. By bringing your attention of awareness to the present moment you can be more conscious of the person you are dealing with and what they are saying, what their issues are and how you could help them. If you think about it, being mindful is the key. because to redirect your attention, you have to become present.
It is usually when we are on autopilot, with our subconscious mind running the show, that we react to emotions that arise within us. The way in which we respond to situations is usually based on years and years of the same patterns of behaviour playing out. So when a particular situation arises, we will usually respond in the same way. By being mindful, we can become aware of that and actually choose a different reaction. We can choose to notice the emotion arising within us, but instead, to redirect our attention to focus on what we are actually doing – the task at hand – or to the person we are interacting with, to others, rather than ourselves.
This is very liberating. It does set you free from being wrapped up in ourselves and getting caught up in our emotions and allowing them to run away with us. Think about the number of times something becomes about you, when really it has just escalated because you reacted in a certain way. The emotion would have come up within you and then without thinking you would have responded. This is when situations can get out of control.
Being mindful, being present and focusing on what you are doing and who you are doing it with removes the sense of self from the picture. That isn’t to say you aren’t there, of course you are, but you are not coming from a place of it being about you or letting your ego get in the way.
Putting your attention onto something else or others in any given situation where emotions arise will set you free…try it.
If you wanted to listen to the podcast I listened to, it was on Tim Ferriss’ new podcast series, Tribe of Mentors and the guest was Adam Robinson. Click here to jump to that.
[This beautiful image was taken at low tide, sunset on Newgale Beach, Pembrokeshire]