Have you ever watched a new born baby take in his world? His wide eyes are looking at everything, not focused on any one thing yet. What he sees must be overwhelming - no wonder his little mouth is gaping open. There is so much to take in. Eventually he learns to filter out some of his surroundings and focus on one thing at a time…mama, dada, bottle. That’s not so overwhelming, and he can learn more easily.
Each time you focus, you are filtering too. You sift out anything you consider extraneous. A filter is a great tool, unless you start believing that what you are focused on is all there is, and what you filter out doesn’t exist. That can cause trouble.
I was looking inside the refrigerator door for Worcestershire Sauce. I didn’t see it; it wasn’t there. I knew it had been on the grocery list, but Bruce must have forgotten it on his recent shopping trip. I started to get irritated, and asked sarcastically, “Hey, where’s the Worcestershire Sauce?” “It’s in the door of the refrigerator,” he said. I didn’t see it, and we had a couple of refrains of “No, it isn’t!” “Yes, it is!” Then he grabbed the door of the refrigerator, pulled out the brown bottle and demanded, “What’s this?”
It was Worcestershire Sauce, but he had taken the paper wrapper off. I had never removed the entire wrapper, only the top, above the band. I didn’t see that paper around the bottle, so I didn’t see the Worcestershire Sauce.
My filter sabotaged me, in that small way. But your filter can really interfere with your success:
• Do you filter out all the complements you get, hearing only criticism?
• Do you filter out opinions you disagree with?
• Do you filter out people who are different than you?
• Do you filter out sources outside your comfort zone?
• Do you filter out criticism, because you don’t like it?
Try removing a filter sometimes. You might find that what you’re looking for is right in front of you.
Chris Waugh is a business consultant, author and speaker who “lends wings to your success.” Visit ChrisWaugh.com or Facebook.com/chriswaughonthefly for more.
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