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How the mind works – Shifting your focus from wants to expectations – Chapter four

How the mind works – Shifting your focus from wants to expectations – Chapter four

Shifting your focus from wants to expectations

How do we change the mind from wanting? This should be the question you are asking yourself by now. Well, this shift is subtle. If we look at a want as a fear of lacking something, we can see it is pessimistic, rigid, fearful and focusing on problems. The subtle change is to turn this want into an expectation. Why? Because expectations are more optimistic, flexible and focus on solutions.

Image 1A want is never satisfied until we get what we want.

An example of this could be my last client for the day coming in at 8:00pm. I expect to be finished by 9:00pm. If it is 9:15pm that’s fine, it’s my last client; I can be flexible. If I wanted to be finished by 9:00pm, I would be looking at the clock at 8:55pm. At 9:00pm I would be getting frustrated and by 9:05pm I would be getting very irritated. Now you can see that a want is never satisfied until we get what we want. It’s a subtle change in the way we think that creates a big difference in the way we feel. We rob ourselves of our happiness with these little irritations, when it really doesn’t matter at all.

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When we focus on wants our physiology changes to one of fear. And we have developed a terrific defence mechanism to deal with fear – our flight or fight response. This defence mechanism was fantastic to protect us from wild animals, but not so good when the threat is an irrational emotional fear. The release of adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol create uncomfortable feelings in the body. These sensations are designed through evolution to be uncomfortable. This discomfort creates a craving for relief from the threat. In the past we ran away and hid in caves, felt safe and went back to our normal state. Or we picked up a spear, killed or fought off the threat, felt safe and went back to our normal state. This defence mechanism has served us well over time and is one of the reasons we are on top of the food chain. It doesn’t serve us well when it comes to irrational emotional fears created through the ego – the fear of lacking something. These emotional fears release the same uncomfortable hormones as they did in response to a physical threat – just as a meerkat stands on its back legs, head darting this way and that looking for physical threats. Our minds also dart this way and that, looking for and finding emotional threats that are not rational or logical.

Image 1The ego is just a programmed version of looking at the world in a threatening way through a filter of negative beliefs.

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