“Close some doors. Not because of pride, incapacity, or arrogance, but simply because they no longer lead somewhere.”
Paulo Coelho (Brazilian Novelist)
“Your results are the product of either personal focus or personal distractions, the choice is yours.”
John Di Lemme (Motivational Speaker & Author)
“When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure.”
Victor Frankl (Austrian Neurologist & Author, Man’s Search For Meaning)
100% of the pain you experience in life is caused by distraction.
These distractions can be broken down into three categories: negative circumstances, negative thoughts (and emotions), and negative people.
A few years ago, I was working at a company that started to take a nosedive.
Within a matter of months, everyone in my department had either quit or was fired.
I had just started working at this company and was left feeling very uncertain about my future.
This uncertainty plagued me.
I found myself obsessing over what was going to happen if I lost my job.
Where would I go? Who would help me? What if I couldn’t get another job?
What if, what if, what if?
This negative circumstance, the negative emotions I was feeling, and the negative people I was left working with at the time, had all together become a major distraction.
The result? I was miserable.
Why The Solution Is Always To Control Your Focus
The only way to protect yourself against distraction is to sharpen your focus.
The only way to build a life you want to keep is to protect your focus and stop giving away your time and energy to things that don’t amplify your life.
Being distracted by other people, changing circumstances, and your own rampant thoughts is the quickest way to derail from any sort of forward movement in your life.
Without growth, you will suffer.
Without controlling your focus, you will not grow.
A study in the Journal of Applied Psychology looked at personality and goal-striving and found that mental focus emerged as the most important aspect of the self-regulation process and an important motivational strategy that successful people use while working toward goal achievement.
The studies found that people who did not protect their focus or align their focus with their deeper interests and values had difficulty not only choosing appropriate goals to pursue, but found themselves exhausted of resources before ever reaching their goals.
In other words, people who can’t control their focus, can’t achieve their goals.
Look — protecting yourself against internal distraction and unwanted thoughts is essential for goal attainment.
Studies have shown this.
Research from the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin agrees that if you don’t strategically protect yourself from your own negative thoughts by controlling your focus, you are more likely to sabotage your success.
Have you ever pulled back right before reaching a big goal?
Have you ever overthought a situation and, as a result, failed to make the right decision?
This is self-sabotage.
And it’s the result of having inadequate control over your own focus.
When internal focus is protected, goals are achieved and people feel an increased sense of well-being and improved mood, as well as an increased ability to select, set, and achieve future goals.
Focus + Alignment = Success.
Maintaining and protecting your focus against threats of both internal and external distraction are key areas of emotional intelligence.
Knowing your core values — separating what’s you from what’s not you — will protect you from the impact of toxic people, societal pressures, and distracting environments.
Once you master protecting your focus, you’ll notice an increase in self-reliance, internal motivation, and commitment to your goals, which will make eliminating distractions even easier.
3 Strategies For Regaining Control Over Your Focus
The only way to feel good again is to get focused.
You need to focus on the right people, the right goals, and the right thoughts.
But to do this, you need to eliminate the wrong people, the wrong goals, and the wrong thoughts.
When you start to get strategic with your life, you realize that everything that extends from you also begins within you.
Once you realize this, you will also realize that you can reprioritize yourself and your life at will.
You will be able to easily identify where you’re wasting your time and energy and who you’re wasting it with.
Here are 3 strategies for how to deal with emotional pain by regaining control over your focus and your life…
1. Eliminate the wrong people.
When you enter into a difficult period of your life, it’s critical that you surround yourself with the right people.
It’s also critical that you remove the wrong people from your life.
This means stepping away from anyone who is not supporting you during a difficult time, or anyone who tries to make you feel worse about yourself or the situation you’re in, even if it’s a family member or close friend.
Of course, no one can make you feel like garbage without your consent.
But you need to be proactive in eliminating people who consistently dump their garbage on you too.
The obviously toxic people in your life are easy to see.
Some emotional vampires advertise themselves loudly.
On the other hand, some are more subtle and passive-aggressive.
The ones closer to you or related to you might be harder for you to pick out.
They might distract you with feelings of guilt and obligation.
If you’re crippled by some outdated sense of loyalty or some dysfunctional codependency with toxic people in your life, it’s time to make a change.
You were not meant to be distracted by these people forever.
You were not meant to be miserable forever.
Take back your focus by eliminating the wrong people from your life, and do this as soon as you know they are wrong for your life.
The ones who have values that are the exact opposite of yours.
The ones who always turn you into a worse version of yourself.
The ones that pretend to support you, but really just want to pull you into their drama.
The ones who make you question your ideas and goals because they lack vision and have a vehemently negative mindset.
Don’t allow these people to steal your focus anymore.
Get surgical and cut them out of your life forever.
Allow yourself to outgrow people without drama.
Don’t allow anyone to impact your confidence or focus by cutting you down, criticizing you, or distracting you with passive-aggressive statements.
Stop wasting your time.
Remove the wrong people from your life so more of the right people can enter into your life.
2. Eliminate the wrong goals.
You will never be able to maintain focus and the necessary discipline toward your goals if you aren’t 100% committed to them.
This means getting 100% aligned with the future you want for yourself.
Lots of people set goals that are wrong for them personally and, as a result, fail miserably and repeatedly.
These people set goals that other people want them to set.
Or they just copy other people’s goals.
These people are sheep.
Are you a sheep? Or are you self-directed?
The truth is, we’ve all been sheep before.
We’ve set goals for a specific career path and college program because our advisors or family nudged us to.
Or we gave up on career aspirations and got married too early because our friends and families told us having 2.5 kids and a picket fence would fulfill us.
Look — just because someone else has a goal doesn’t mean you need to have the same goal.
It seems obvious, but most people spend their lives chasing other people’s goals.
The biggest distraction you will ever face in life is the distraction of being pressured to chase other people’s goals.
Sometimes this pressure is the result of social pressure: other people pushing their opinions and goals on you.
Other times, this pressure is the result of your own biology: mirror neurons in your brain and powerful psychological factors, like the chameleon effect, driving you to copy other people’s goals.
The only way to protect yourself against this is to spend some time getting to know yourself.
What do you want?
Who do you want to be?
Start getting to know your core values and the outcomes that you want to achieve in life.
What drives you? What excites you? What future vision makes you come alive with seething and relentless passion?
What idea or vision makes your eyes dilate, the blood rush to your head, and tears come to your eyes?
What gets you excited?
(Excitement is that feeling you used to experience when you were in your early 20s before responsibility, obligation, and deadlines started to take over your life.)
Stop wasting your time on the wrong goals — goals that feel like stale white bread in your mouth.
Stop holding onto the past, or what didn’t work out before, or what someone else wants for your life — these are distractions.
Trying to change the past, or wishing you had said something different, or pretending things are the way they used to be when they’re clearly different now — these are not good goals.
They’re a waste of time.
Forget about the past and forget about the future that other people want for you.
Instead, focus on your current situation and focus on deciding your own future.
3. Eliminate the wrong thoughts.
Internal locus of control — this is a core belief that you are the master of your life.
You are in control of your destiny.
You determine your success or failure.
But what determines whether or not you’ll be successful?
If you can’t learn how to manage the chaos of your own mind — your obsessive thoughts, your wildly changing goals, your emotional highs and lows — you are doomed.
You can either be in control of your mind or your mind can be in control of you.
“I’m not good enough. I’ll always be a loser. I’m not worthy of this success (or happiness or love).”
This is what will go through your mind when your mind is in control of you.
“I’m strong, confident, and disciplined. I’m a winner. I am worthy of success and the best that life has to offer.”
This is what will go through your mind when you are in control of your mind.
Your aim is to rule over your mind with an iron fist.
When you tell your mind to do something, your mind does it.
You are the president, governor, and mayor of your mind.
What you say goes.
You decide what you think.
You decide what you feel.
You decide what you do.
End of story.
If you want to be happy and successful in life, there is no other option.
You must start choosing the right thoughts and you must start eliminating the wrong thoughts.
Wrong thoughts include the obsession of loyalty to unproductive people, things, and thoughts by guilt and obligation — the suppression of greatness because of false humility.
These wrong thoughts will distract you from the inside out and hold you back from everything you deserve in life.
These wrong thoughts will consume you and sabotage you in ways beyond even what toxic people and misaligned goals will.
Your own mind is your first and most important dragon to slay.
Eliminate the thoughts that disempower you and make you feel bad about yourself or what you want out of life.
Eliminate the thoughts that were implanted by someone else when you were too vulnerable to reject them.
Decide to own your thoughts and make them work for you.
You’re the only one who has the power to do this.
You’re the only one who has the power to control your focus.
100% of the emotional pain you experience in life is caused by distraction. The only way to protect against distraction is to sharpen your focus. The only way you’ll build a life that you want is to protect your focus and stop giving away your time and energy to things that don’t amplify your life. Being distracted by other people, changing circumstances, and your own rampant thoughts is the quickest way to derail forward progress in your life. To eliminate pain and distraction from your life, you need to focus on the right things, and to do this, you need to cut out the wrong things.
To learn more about how to deal with emotional pain and regaining focus from distractions, and to get instant access to exclusive training videos, case studies, insider documents, and my private online network, get on the Escape Plan wait list.