Leadership Solutions from Read Solutions Group: Slow Leadership » The Law of Repulsion

Friday, August 24, 2007

Slow Leadership » The Law of Repulsion

Over on Slow Leadership, Carmine Coyote writes,
The more you focus on what you don’t want, the more of it you’ll keep finding to get rid of. What you give most attention to nearly always assumes a larger role in your life. This isn’t some nutty “law of attraction” nonsense; it’s a simple observation of the way that the human mind works. People who become obsessed with the amount of dog-poop thoughtless owners leave behind on the street see it everywhere. It drives them mad. The rest of us simply step in it, curse, and forget about it. Still, you can sometimes learn even from what you step in. I’ve had it up to here with the “Law of Attraction”—about as goofy an idea as ever spawned a thousand web sites and helped lead gullible people astray. Nevertheless, there is a kernel of truth hiding within the hype. The more you focus on something, the more you’ll keep thinking about it and the bigger the part it’s therefore probably going to play in your life—at least in the short term.

I agree with these sentiments on the “Law of Positive Attraction”, but there is something to it. Brains are limited in what they can handle in a conscious state. As a consequence, adults go through life seeing, hearing and experiencing countless things to which limited or no attention is paid. There are significant events, for example an explosion, that impinge regardless of attention. Less significant events register and are stored in short-term memory only with conscious attention. Attention appears to work by biasing the brain toward the stimuli and by reducing inputs from competing regions. Further, studies indicate that attention must be complemented by a mental state predisposed to accepting or rejecting the information. Conscious attention serves to open the brain to inputs allowing new or stronger neuronal networks to form.

Bottom line, if we’re looking for good, we’re more likely to spot it. If we’re looking for problems, we’re more likely to find them and reinforce our perspectives. Our ability to use our conscious minds to change our brains is phenomenal.

For more on this, I invite you to visit my blog at You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks or for even more on this subject, you can download my research report: Through the Mind We Create Change from this page of my website.

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