“You can’t focus on what you don’t have when you’re grateful for what you have.”
I came upon this quote in a blog post by T. Harv Eker — a man who helps entrepreneurs like me dominate the world. So naturally, I listen to what he has to say.
Now, I don’t know for sure if Harv came up with the quote originally. (In fact, I’m pretty sure Tony Robbins also has a saying along those lines.) But it’s really not that important. What’s important is the message.
Being grateful for what you have takes you to a state of appreciation and calmness. And those of you who practice meditation will immediately see a resemblance.
But furthermore, those of you who practice meditation might also recognize a certain principle in how one, positive state of mind doesn’t allow the persistence of another, negative state of mind.
When you’re truly, deeply grateful for what you have, you’re not focusing on any lack or need there might be in your life.
(And yes, both meditation and being grateful for what you have ARE necessarily positive states of mind. In fact, find just one person who practices both regularly because it makes him or her feel worse.)
“Okay, so what’s so great about this?”, you might ask. Well, the thing is, what we focus on is how our lives become.
People who are obsessed with never having enough money for this-and-that don’t GET enough money for this-and-that.
I know this firsthand, because I’ve been that guy for way many more years than anyone would need to.
And get this:
Even if we consider ourselves to be driven away from what we don’t have, our subconscious minds don’t get it. Our subconscious minds don’t GET a negative!
Go ahead: Don’t think about a blue elephant right now. A blue elephant is the last thing that should be on your mind. Whatever you think about, just DON’T think about a blue elephant.
… Yeah, we all know the example.
So it’s when we cultivate a mindset of gratitude and abundance that our subconscious mind starts to look for more abundance to be grateful for.
Now, let’s say, for the sake of simplicity, that there’s two kinds of people in the world: Those who cultivate a mindset of gratitude and abundance, and those who cultivate a mindset of scarcity and lack.
Can you guess which group might be more confident, and which one might be less confident??
Non-fident people, as I call it, tend to let their happiness depend upon getting new things. And I’m sure we’re all familiar with the idea that “things are gonna start to look up for me whenever I’ll get that [degree/job/car/house/relationship/whatever]”.
And then what happens? Well, either we get it or we don’t. And if we don’t, we immediately go into a state of disappointment and blame it all on NOT getting what we want.
… But if we DO get it…
Well, we might be happy. At least for a while.
But have you noticed how that happiness just never lasts? How you seem to think that you need to chase the attainment of one new thing after the other?
That’s because for some reason, you can’t be grateful for what you have. And as long as it’s like that, you’ll never be truly happy or truly confident.
“Well okay, but what if I need to focus on my goals to attain them??”
Of course you do. — And you should. Eyes on the prize. But you’ll never get there if you come from a place of lacking and needing; you’ll only create more lack and need.
Paradoxically, we need to detach ourselves from our goals. We need to be happy without them.
This can be a bit of a mind-twister, I know. Especially if your goal is to increase your confidence. How can I be confident if I’m not confident, right?!
The good news is, even if being grateful for what you have doesn’t come natural to you, it’s a learnable skill.
Treat whatever confidence you DO have like you just treated that blue elephant:
Focus on it. Keep focusing. And be grateful for it. In time, it will, necessarily, expand.