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We Are What We Repeatedly Do

We are what we repeatedly do

I recently read about a study that looked at the effects of video games on people.  They had subjects play long hours of Tetris and then see how it affected them.  They were amazed to hear subjects claim that they were constantly seeing shapes in everyday life and imagining how these shapes would fit together in a Tetris-like environment.  They called it the Tetris effect and realized that when we repeatedly focus on something, it affects more than just that particular scenario.

This makes sense.  If we have a job that critiques or manages to a large extent, we probably look at other areas of life the same way.  I know a lot of people that seem to focus on the negative regardless of what we are discussing.  To them the obvious is the negative and opportunity is something that they miss.  For an example, close your eyes and picture the color red.  When you open your eyes, you will likely be amazed at all the red that suddenly jumps out at you.  Your focus shifted and reality then matched that focus.

This can be looked at negatively or positively.  We can be afraid of this or realize that we can actually control this to a large degree.  There are several things to keep in mind when exploring this phenomenon:

1. Our focus on something is just a system.  We have a system for dealing with every area of life.  What we continuously do follows a systematic framework that we may or may not realize

2. We have control over the system if we address it and modify it but we give up control if we ignore it.

3. If we ignore the system, it happens automatically, usually without us even knowing.

4. We can start to take control by filtering what we put into our minds.  Do we watch a lot of news programs that emphasize the negative, or a listen to music that always leaves us depressed?  

5. We may not have control of external factors in our life, but we can always control our response.  We can start to look for the positive or the opportunity in everything and stop immediately seeing the negative.

We often feel we have no control over life but if we address the systems in our lives we can control much more than what most people realize.  There are still unpredictable factors but by consistently addressing areas of improvement we can grow and improve, regardless of what external factors appear.