Aug 15

We Become Our Focus

You go where you're lookingA few years ago, I found myself in a class where I was learning to ride a motorcycle safely. We were going over how to perform safe turns. The instructions I was given said that, after initiating the turn, I was to look at where I wanted my motorcycle to go.

As a child one summer, my mother enrolled me in diving lessons. We learned to do different kinds of maneuvers, such as spins, twists, and flips. For a long time, it was difficult for me to get the hang of it. My wise coach finally explained the problem. He told me to look where I wanted my body to go, and it would just follow. To do a back flip, you should be looking as far above and behind yourself as you can when you leave the diving board. For a twist, you look to the side as you come off the board. Once I fully grasped that concept, my diving technique vastly improved.  Like in riding the motorcycle, my body and everything else went to wherever I was looking.

There is a lesson here.

Sometimes in life, we get in difficult situations. Maybe we want to do something that will bring pleasure now, but will not bring ultimate happiness. Or perhaps we are overwhelmed by the very numerous duties and responsibilities that demand our attention. We may be trying to avoid becoming like someone else.
The key to solving all of these problems (and a great many others) is to understand that we will go towards whatever we are looking at. We gravitate towards the object of our focus. Another way to say it is that whatever you feed grows.  Even if you are trying not to become something.  Your focus is on it, and unfortunately you are moving toward it, not away from it.

There are a great many things that happen in our lives, in our families, and in our minds. They are both positive things and negative things. Should you wish to focus on the negative things, you will end up seeing your life through the lens of negativity. However, you have just as much ability to focus on the positive things in your life and be thankful for them. This allows for much more happiness.

The same is true for goals. Have you ever heard the phrase “Keep your eye on the goal”? Why is this good advice? You keep focused on that goal long enough, and you will achieve it. This is why it could be a good idea to have a life mission statement that you read often. Doing so will keep you focused on who you want to be, and will help you become more and more like that person.

This is true even if you don’t know exactly how it will happen.  Heavenly Father will present you with opportunities to move further toward your goal.  As these opportunities present themselves, take advantage of them.

Let’s remember to keep our focus on the things we want to achieve, the people we want to become. You can always do the best you can with what you have right at the moment. Don’t worry that it doesn’t seem like that much. Just keep focusing on your goals and where you want to end up. You do this long enough, and you’ll end up right where you want to be.

For some scriptures that touch on this topic, take a look at the following:
Matthew 6:21-23
D&C 50:24
2 Nephi 9:39
3 Nephi 13:33
D&C 43:34

Oct 01

We Become Our Focus

Does it not astound you how many scriptures touch on one of the most basic principles of our lives?  Divers are taught this principle.  Motorcyclists should be aware of it, as well.  Many who are very good at what they do practice this principle.  What is it?

You tend to gravitate towards that upon which you are focused.

Divers learn that wherever they move their head, their body follows.  With golfers, they focus on where the hole is, not where the traps are.  Having been a motorcylist myself, I can attest to the fact that your bike tends to go in the direction in which you are looking.

For those interested to see the connection, let us take a look at 3 Nephi 13:20-22, which says:

“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  The light of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”

Matthew 6:20-22 provides a nearly identical precept.  But we are to have an eye single to what?  Let us consult the Doctrine and Covenants.  In section 82 verse 19, section 59 verse 1, section 4 verse 5, section 88 verse 67, section 55 verse 1, section 27 verse 2, and Mormon 8:15, we learn that we are to have an eye single to the glory of God.  So… what is the glory of God?

An appropriate place to begin to answer this question seems to be Moses 1:39, in which we are told:

“For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”

Surely, if we focus on bringing to pass our own eternal life, and that of our family, that will be the direction in which we gravitate.

A word of caution, though.  Should we focus on not becoming what we don’t want to be, we are still focusing on it.  Guess what that means?  We will gravitate in that direction anyway.  My humble suggestion would be to remind yourself every day of what it is that you want to become, what your goals are, and the direction you want to take your life.

According to holy writ, you cannot help but move towards that end.