People use the phrase “They have their head in the sand.” to describe people who are willfully ignorant to problems around them. I think we all know people whose life could be going straight down the commode and they would be the last one to admit there was anything wrong. Something a little less severe would be those souls who act as if ignoring the problems in their lives will make them go away. Not so I am afraid. It was described wonderfully by Tony Robbins as someone who sits in their garden, closes their eyes and chants “There are no weeds. There are no weeds.” While they may believe that to some degree, and it even may help them feel a little better about their current situation, the problem is when they open their eyes, they will be looking straight at a garden full of weeds!
I find it amusing that people think that is what I do personally and even worse, that is what I teach others to do. In no uncertain terms do I tell people to ignore their problems or the sometimes ugly truth of life. If you have read either of my books, that is abundantly clear. How do people come to this conclusion and why I am telling you to bury your head in the sand in the title of this post? There is a big difference between ignoring challenges and things that are negative in our lives and not dwelling on them. In fact, noting what is not working in our lives or what we find unpleasant can be a great tool to help us discover what we would like. Spoiler alert – it is usually the opposite of what sucks.
When people tell me that I have my head in the sand I reply, “You are damn right I do. I also have my toes, my butt and everything else.” Other than the joy of seeing a confused look on the face of someone who has thrown some shade either directly or indirectly at you, there is a point I am making hear. I realize things are not all sunshine and rainbows in my life. Here is the secret, I focus on what is working and the solutions that I am working towards. Ask yourself, what is the purpose of focusing on negative things in your life? Focusing on a problem does not solve it. As Albert Einstein once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them.” Not only that, focusing on what sucks in your life…well…sucks. It makes you feel lousy.
You may be thinking, “That’s all well and great Neil, but what I am supposed to do, just ignore what is going on?” Not at all, then we are back to being the people in the first picture. We want to be more like the baby in the second picture. When you focus on what is not working in your life, you feel miserable. While you are walking around feeling miserable, what kind of people, events and circumstances do you seem to find yourself in? 9 times our of 10, it would be miserable people events and circumstances. Here is what we should do instead. Take a second and become crystal clear as to what the challenge or negative event you are facing is. Then decide if there is actions you can take to correct or deal with the situation. If there is, focus on those and the solution you are working towards. If there is nothing you can do about the situation, turn your focus on something that is working in your life.
Here is a personal example from my own life that may make everything a lot more clear. All of my regular readers know of my affection to warm weather and sunshine. Most of you also know of my aversion to the cold and dreary weather we experience this time of year where I live. Can I do anything to change the weather? Not at all. I am good, but not good enough to change mother nature. There are two aspects I can use that we talked about. Begin saving for a vacation to a sunny destination (already in the works) or choose not to focus on the fact it is so cold some days that animals choose to stay home. Am I burying my head in the sand to the fact that the temperature is below freezing out? No I am imagining burying my entire body in the sand of a nice tropical beach. I have said this a million times, but it is a very important truth – there is no law of physics or biology that states your mind and body must be in the same place at the same time. When you choose to focus on the positive in your life instead of dwelling on the negative, it puts you in a positive emotional state. Like our example above, when you are walking around in a positive happy state of mind, what situations will you find yourself in? What kind of people will you surround yourself with? Chances are they will be positive as well.
Next time life throws a lot at you, and don’t worry it happens to all of us, don’t bury just your head in the sand, bury your whole body! Take yourself on a mental vacation. Maybe even throw on some tropical music and dance around. Change that state while you work on solving your challenges in life. Ponder them if you must, but do not dwell on the problem, always focus on the solution!