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  • Writer's pictureMartin Benefer

Are You Focused...on What You DON'T Want?

Updated: Aug 21, 2020

Focus on the flag

Do you see a bunker, a lake or do you see a flag?

What's the Problem?

It's a common problem, not just in golf, but in life: focus so intently on what you don't want and you unconsciously aim for it! And it actually works - your eyes follow your attention, your head follows your eyes and your body follows your head.

Look at the lake and don't be surprised if that's where you aim and that's where you go!

OK, but that's just physical stuff, right?

Not relevant to your career, business or personal goals?

Afraid not! There's an extra layer to contend with:

Meet the reticular activating system (RAS) inside your primal brain.

Our senses process millions of bits of information every second and we can't attend to it all. Something needs to act as gatekeeper so we focus our attention on what matters most. The RAS filters out the noise and passes on information in line with our goals so we place our conscious attention where it matters most.

Great huh?!

Not so fast.

Your unconscious mind can't deal with negatives.

So if you condition it to "avoid the lake" it just learns "focus on the lake".

So if you're focused on avoiding what you don't want in your business, career or personal life, that's where your energy goes.

And it's a double whammy:

You're alerted to all the things that remind you of what you don't want,

And literally can't see information that helps you get what you do want!

So what do you do about it?

It's never easy understanding what's going on in our unconscious minds, and it's often not clear to us what we're trying to avoid.

Here's some questions that will help you get started.

Ask yourself:

  1. Are you getting what you want?

  2. What are you afraid of happening if you fail?

  3. Do you find yourself working to avoid what you don't want?

Be honest.

Write it down.

Park it.

And then...

Reset and refocus on what you DO WANT.

Direct your attention, efforts and energy towards your desired goal in the knowledge that aligning everything will maximise your chance of success.

If you get stuck ask yourself: what's one thing you can do now to realign towards your goal?

And if you find yourself relapsing, this is normal! The lake is still there!

Acknowledge it.


And bring your attention back to the flag.

Good luck!


For more information go to

Phone: (+44) 07969 653 024


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