Focused Attention: Solving Problems
- Is your history causing you to not be focused?
- You can be focused on your history in order to look forward with change in your life.
- Importance of focusing on solutions
- 5 Questions to ask when you have a problem.
Kathryn Black: Hello and welcome to TheBalancingPoint, I’m Kathryn Black here with Dr. John Nieters for another episode of vision and life and how to move forward.
Dr. John Nieters: Awesome. So today I want to talk a bit about focus. Now, there are many, many different ways, different situations to look at focus and different types of focus on different situations, whether you’re doing contemplation and holding a question, whether you’re doing a Qigong exercise, et cetera. There are different ways to focus. You can focus on who you are. You can focus on what you are. You can focus on what is no time. They will all give you very, very, very different bits of information, actually not information, but experience. But today I want to keep it simple. I want to talk about how to move your life forward. Now, one of the things that I found in working with many, many, many, many people.
Is that they are often stuck in their history. This is really common, this is whether I’m coaching them or whether I’m working with patients, it’s like, well, no, this is just how it is or just this is just the way I am. When people say that, it makes me actually cringe a little bit. And so what they’re doing is they’re saying this is the history that I have created and I am committed to that. Well, as we all know, that if you’re committed to your history, that’s pretty much what you’re going to get again and again and again and again.
01:40 And so if you want to change it, you can’t focus on the history. Now, those of you who were fans of Carlos Castañeda and Don Juan, you’ll know that a huge part of that practice was to completely give up your personal history, which I did for some period of time. It was one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done. Up until that time, I was a really fun guy who was very charismatic, a ton of great stories. And there are different aspects to stories. And my stories were communicated to other people, but mostly communicated to myself. This is what I am. This is how I am in the world. And I got here because of blank, right, looking at all my history, etc. and I would communicate to people a lot from and with those stories. When I gave up my personal history, I truly stopped thinking or holding on to any aspect of my history or some period of time. And that was incredibly freeing because now I had the ability to actually move forward. And so I would kind of do it and doing very intensive programs with people as just kind of a warm up.
03:06 I would tell them to hold on to this post and don’t let go, but now walk to the other side of the room. And of course, they were confused and they were trying to walk to the other side of the room. And I’d say, no, no, no, you have to hold on to the post and walk to the other side of the room, which is obviously impossible. Well, no more impossible than living in your history, out of your history and thinking that’s the only way it can be. Now, most people are not cognizant of this.
I’m not saying they walk around going, oh, yes, I’m holding onto my history. Whenever you say when anyone says this is just the way I am, understand that that is always untrue. You are the way you are in your mind, in yourself identity to a massive, massive amount of history and preparation. Your parents helped you as soon as you popped out of the womb. Someone started calling you John right now, took a while before I started realizing that if they said John and I smiled that I got lots of positive feedback.
But over time they trained me. My name was John. What I was supposed to respond to was John. John is not who I am. They could have called me Roberto Remy Martin. They could have called me any number of things. And eventually I would have responded to that equally the way I responded to John and would have come to identify with it. But that’s not who I am. And then I went to school and developed these friendships and I had fears and I had things I was good at and things I was bad at.
04:48 And a lot of those things influenced. What then, how I would be in the world, but that’s not how I am either, that’s my history. Those are the choices that I made at that time and bring that all the way into the present. You know, people identify with being a Democrat or they or being a Republican or a libertarian or whatever it is they identify with as though it’s truly who they are. And I mean, they will die for this. You see him all the time, not for some great idea, but for some identification with the label.
05:25 So as long as you’re going to do that, you’re stuck with that label. Now, I want you to apply that to your life as you’re creating your vision and your purpose and start working on your goals. Many people refuse to set certain goals because they think that they failed at it before. Right. I tried that before. I said I wasn’t going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and I fell short, so I’ll never do that again. Well, if you go back to last week’s show and you start asking the questions, the commitment questions, it’s very easy to find why you failed.
It’s very easy to find what you have to do to fix it and go forward. And it’s very easy to find how you can guarantee success is not even hard. It’s just a matter of where you put your attention. Are you focused on solutions? Are you focused on the problem? OK, so there is a problem, you need more money for something. As long as you sit and fret and worry about the problem, you’re going to you will get nowhere.
06:34 You have to focus on the solution. That doesn’t mean you’re ignorant. That doesn’t mean you deny that you need more money or you have these bills to pay or the IRS is coming to take your car or whatever else it is. It doesn’t mean you deny it. It means that simply a piece of information and it helps. You said whatever your short term goals are, I don’t want to get my car repossessed. Good. What do you need to do to keep from getting your car repossessed and spending one second, literally one second on the problem.
Other than acknowledging that it is a problem, it will bring you closer and closer to failure. When I worked with Peter Ralston, apprenticed to him for over a decade and was regularly just blown away by his power, not just as a martial artist, not just as what I think of him, which is the most brilliant teacher of meditation and contemplation, but also his personal life and the way he would show up with the absolute commitment.
And so I was working with them and I remember coming up behind him at a break and sitting behind a lectern and there’s a sticky note and it says, I renew my commitment to do it now. And so as he was communicating, so you have when you’re communicating about the contemplation, you really have to do it in state. Right. And so it’s possible to get out of that state. So when you get out of that state, you can either make yourself wrong.
08:25 Oh, my goodness, I’ve failed. Or you can immediately, without hesitation, turn back to the state that you should be and want to be in and that will further you. But any time you see this with athletics all the time, great cornerbacks, who are the people that guard the wide receivers and football? Well, at some point during the year, one of those great wide receivers will beat them for a touchdown. It’s one of the things that will happen.
And when they talk about great quarterbacks, they talk about their ability to move on what the play is over. I’m now on to the next play. If they get burned three times, doesn’t matter. They’re moving forward to bring all their attention to be present in reality. So the key is focus your attention on the solution and not the problems now. And also in my wallet, I have another card here and this one is from 1988. I see it has the date on it.
And there’s one set called the Morning Questions, one called the evening questions. The one I want to talk about today is the problem questions.
09:44 You’ve got a problem, right?
What do you think of your business, whatever it is, and you think of what a problem could be? So I have a patient that calls in and is upset because they didn’t get a call back in a time period that they wanted to have a call back.
Now I can get upset, you know, try to find out who the culprit is, get mad at the person, you know, because, you know, it’s such a little deal. I could do any number of things. But what really works is for me to ask a question about it. What’s really great about this problem now? People get really freaked out about this, but what’s really great about this problem or this day or what’s right about this problem. Right. And what’s right is I’m getting feedback.
Who knows how many other people might be upset, but just don’t say anything about it and hear this person is courageous and forthright enough to tell me that they have a problem with what I’m doing. Well, what’s great about it is now it’s brought to my attention. I can put my attention on this issue and now create a better contact system. OK, that’s what’s great about it. Someone brought it to my attention. And then second question, what’s not perfect yet? My system, obviously, my system is not perfect yet because this person did you did a callback then number three, what am I willing to do to make it the way I want it?
11:17 What am I willing to do to make it the way I want it? So I would need to sit with that for a while and say, well, I want my patients to feel safe and cared for. So I need to create a system that they are called back routinely within an appropriate. Period of time now, that appropriate period might be different, depending on their their comments, their questions and their concerns, but what am I willing to do to make to make it the way I want it? Well, I have a meeting.
I’ll bring in everybody that that comes in contact with those emails and phone calls. And I will be determined to find out where the system broke down and come up with solutions, primarily in questioning my staff come up with solutions about how to fix it so it doesn’t happen again, then this is an important question and this one often goes unasked. Yes. What am I willing to not do to make it the way I want it? I may be the problem. What am I willing to not do? Oh, you know, it usually gets messed up when I go in and look at the messages because everybody else is really efficient. But when I go look at them, I sometimes have this expectation that then someone else is going to handle it.
So would I have to commit to not doing this? I need to commit to not going in and messing up the system.
12:44 Right? Kathryn you’re nodding your head and making noises, but so how can I enjoy this is number five. How can I enjoy doing the things necessary to make it the way I want it? Because sometimes when these things, we’ll see a response, we’ll see an answer or a solution. But it’s like it threatens us. It’s like, oh, gosh, do I really want to do that? So you need to relook at it. How can I enjoy doing the things necessary? Right, so there is an implication that I will enjoy it. The question is how how can I enjoy doing the things necessary to make it the way I want it?
OK, maybe I set up a reward system for myself. Maybe I set up a reward system for other people in the office. Maybe we ring a little bell every time. Oh, you know, I don’t know what the answer is there. But I’m going to make sure that we enjoy these things that are necessary, because if we don’t enjoy it, we aren’t going to do it for very long. So that’s my podcast for today. I want you to focus on solutions. We all have a history of screwing things up.
Believe me, we all have a history of things not working out. We all have that history of identifying with issues where we feel inferior or that we can’t make things work. Well, the only way we’re going to move forward is to give that up. I mean, you can keep that for information, just don’t use it as a story and focus on the solutions to your problems and your issues and your relationships, problem questions.
What’s great about the problem?
What’s not perfect yet?
What am I willing to do to make it the way I want it?
What am I willing to do to make to not to not do to make it the way I want it?
How can I enjoy doing the things necessary to make it the way I want it?
Be happy, be healthy. I’ll be back with you next week.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Western Perspective, Integrative and Functional Medicine.
The Balancing Point health radio talk show about Traditional Chinese Medicine, supplements, nutrition, and more. Host Dr. John Nieters, acupuncturist and health educator. http://www.thebalancingpoint.net
Inspired by this podcast to take action in your life? Visit Alameda Acupuncture.