GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


Your Filters Color Your Future - Grasshopper

We all know expressions like, "The rich get richer" and "if it weren't for bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck at all," but we never investigate the process, only rail against the reality. This practice signifies a clogged filter.

I'm a photo enthusiast. One of the things you quickly learn as a person who takes photographs is that a filter can oftentimes make or break a picture. Take the polarizing filter as an example. If you have polarized sunglasses, you already own the experience. They can make a blue sky bluer.
There is another camera filter that reduces the ultraviolet haze and sharpens your pictures. It's much like the allergy medicine commercial on TV; you watch as they remove a layer of film revealing a much clearer picture, as the announcer says, "You can be Claritin clear."
How we filter life will give us the picture we operate from.
"If this is the way it looks, this is the way it is" is the logical trap we all fall into. We don't realize we are viewing life through our own set of acquired filters perceptions that have little to do with the reality we are filtering.
You'll never discover all your filters because, frankly, life is too short. The key is to discover the ones that are most troublesome and clean or replace them.
How do we find the ones that are most problematic? That's the easy part. Just look at the situations that replicate like bad pennies and keep showing up in your life. You have found your filter.
Let's look at money and relationships two things many of us filter to our disadvantage.
Are you looking for ways not to go broke or are you focused on how you can make more money? This is an instance of a money filter. Most of the wealthy people I know have a focus on how to make more money. Most of the people of meager means I know are focused on how to avoid the poorhouse.
The reason their focus is the way it is, is due to how they are filtering the situation.
Reminds me of a story . . .
I used to work for a guy who had a knack for making money. He made more money when he was a high school student than most adults. He continued to make money in college and in business. I remember commenting on this uncanny ability by saying to him that he could parachute nude into the capital city of Iran with a derogatory tattoo of the Ayatollah on his chest, and a week later he would own a business there.
He had different conditioning (filtering) about money than most.
Caroline Myss in her book, "Why People Don't Heal And How They Can" writes about the myth of your life being defined by a wound. What's more wounding than a relationship that's gone south?
She says, "After experiencing a traumatic or tragic experience, these people tend to look at every new experience through the lens of the wound it inflicted on them. They project their past experience onto everything that has since come into their lives. They enter every new relationship suspecting that the same pattern of the experience will repeat itself. They warn every new person that enters their life that they will never be able to trust him or her fully because of their previous experience. And they describe their life as a continuum of personal and professional disasters that cannot change because their wounded past has stolen from them all positive opportunities that could have or should have come their way."
Filters hold our current view in place and make our future a clone of our present.
The first step is to recognize the filtering process at work. It's easier with others than it is for yourself, but noticing your filters is the most rewarding.
It's not the incident that determines how your life will be in the future; it's how you filter that event that colors your future. The experience is a fact; how you view it is a choice.
The main difficulty is we don't know that we have a choice to change filters. We do.
Continued justification of your behavior is a telltale sign that you have a foggy filter. As long as you hang on to that story, your filter will remain in place and you'll be unable to see it any other way.
Again, when you have the same disenchanting things show up time after time, you have a faulty filter in place.
Instead of saying "Poor me" again, begin to wonder how you are viewing the situation. There are 360 degrees on a circle and each degree will filter what you see differently. Shift yourself a few degrees in either direction and you'll begin the process of changing filters.
It's an impossible task to change everyone else's filters, but that's where we put most of our efforts. We heat up in frustration when we can't cool the situation, never knowing that it's the filter on our air conditioner that's clogged.
Begin to entertain the possibility that it's how you're filtering your life that's causing your strife, and you'll be clearing the way for a brighter day.
All the best,
John
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