When you choose your focus, it is very much like when someone tells you about a new show they’re watching, then everywhere you go, people are telling you about the same show? It’s like the theme of that show just shows up in every part of your life. It can give you a feeling of surprise and can even feel a little creepy!
Or, do you find yourself questioning how safe the world is now versus when you were growing up? You may wonder if the world is less safe, or if we just know more now because of media and social media.
There Isn’t An Increase in Something Occurring, You’re Just Noticing it!
In reality, there’s no increase in the amount of people watching a show or how dangerous things are. It’s just that you’ve started to notice these things because you have heard about them.
There is something that occurs called the “Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.” This phenomenon is based on frequency bias. When Baader-Meinhof phenomenon is at play, you notice something new (to you). It could be a word, a breed of dog, a show, or just about anything. Suddenly, you notice this thing everywhere.
Think of all of the words, situations, and people you’re exposed to in a single day. It’s not possible to soak in every detail, so your brain filters out the majority of what you encounter and decides what you need to focus on. Your brain can easily ignore information that doesn’t seem vital in the moment, so it does.
Baader–Meinhof phenomenon involves two processes: Selective attention and confirmation bias. Selective attention is when you notice things that interest you most while not even noticing the rest. Confirmation bias is when you look for things that support your way of thinking while maybe unknowingly overlooking the rest.
We all use selective attention and confirmation bias each day. We are influenced by those we are around, the media we consume, the social media that we look at, the books we read, the podcasts we listen to, and the music that enters our ears.
What We Consume is What We Focus On
What we consume is what we focus on, and what we focus on expands. We begin to think that our reality is the only way to look at the world. And, the truth is that our reality isn’t the only one that exists, it is just the only one that exists for us in this moment. Our reality is based on our thoughts. If a thought is repeated enough, it becomes a belief. Our beliefs are our stories and determine how we interact and behave in the world.
We all get caught up in our stories. Most of us think we are our stories. It’s when those stories take on a life of their own, and that life isn’t the one we want, that things start to suck.
Who Wrote Your Story?
Think about the story you’re living right now. Who wrote it? Did you consciously decide to create the reality you’re living now, or was it mainly shaped by your the friendships and relationships in our lives, our profession, school, or the media?
Want more information about how your relationships impact your life? Check out this blog.
In order to consciously choose what we focus on and what expands, we have to be aware of how we are responding and behaving to life situations.
Below are some questions to help you gain perspective and choose your focus to expand your life.
- Pick a situation that has been weighing on you. What is it?
- What if the opposite were true?
- How will you feel when you have chosen another perspective?
Now that you are aware of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon and frequency bias, you can begin to notice where and from whom you get your information about the world. Choose wisely. Choose your focus.