Priming and Focus. See What You Want

Priming and Focus

Priming To See What You Want

One of my favorite movies (Paris, je t’aime – here at IMDb)  includes a short about a man who falls desperately in love with his wife on the day he intends to break up with her. He is having an affair. She has just learned that she has terminal cancer. They meet for lunch and, as he prepares to tell his wife his secret, she hands him a note and begins to cry. “Of course!” he thinks. “She must have known all along.” He reads the note from her doctor and what is important in his life comes into laser-like focus. He writes a text to his girlfriend – “Forget me.” He hits Send and instantly devotes himself to his wife. He falls in love again with her quirks that he had come to see as annoying. He reads to her. They cook together. She dies and he never forgets the image of her in her favorite red coat.  Wherever he goes, he sees women wearing red and he is always startled.

Psychologists would say that he is fully primed to focus on a woman wearing red. What is interesting is that we can direct this priming by deciding what to focus on. Wayne Dyer wrote that he wakes up every morning and tells himself that no one is going to ruin his day for him. He purposefully sets a focus on enjoying the world on his own terms.

What Do You Choose To See?

What would you like to notice? You will find what you look for. More kindness? More optimism? Set your mind for what you want to see and be surprised at how much is around you that you might have otherwise missed. Is this pollyannish? Is this circular? “You find what you focus on because you are focused on finding what you want? I don’t think so. You can find misery and gloom as well as optimism and happiness. Is one more real than the other? Not necessarily. This is just a simple choosing about what you will focus your thoughts on. If you look for gloom, I guarantee you will find it.

So much of our daily life is the result of being pulled in directions that we don’t consciously choose. This is a good battle to take up. Take some time to battle your culture and your upbringing and your education. Reorient yourself through the day to focus on what you decide you want. Make this for you and you’ll find a sense of satisfaction as you walk through your day on your terms.


(If you haven’t watched it then find yourself a copy of Paris, je t’aime. (Here at Amazon). Twenty film makers are given five minutes each with each short woven into the movie. Some are funny. Some (the one with Juliette Binoche – ugh) are simply heartbreaking. It’s a marvelous movie that explores all sides of love and loss.)

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