What You Appreciate Appreciates
What you appreciate appreciates – such a powerful truth, yet very few of us truly understand and consistently apply the incredible power that is contained within these four simple words.
Now, the phrase itself, coined by Lynne Twist, cleverly plays on the three slightly different meanings of the word ‘Appreciate.’ So first, let’s break this phrase down by exploring the dictionary definition:
1. recognise the full worth of. (value) be grateful for (something). (give thanks)
2. understand (a situation) fully; grasp the full implications of. (acknowledge, realise)
3. rise in value or price (increase, gain, grow)
Essentially, what these four words mean then is this: what you value, recognise the full worth of, be grateful for, and fully acknowledge or realise, will increase, gain or grow in your life.
Maybe this seems like new-age drivel to you, but hang with me, because there is plenty of science to support the idea that what you focus on expands, and that the simple act of consciously channeling your attention, concentration and appreciation have the power to shift your reality by growing and attracting more of what you want to yourself.
2 Reasons Why You Need to Learn These Methods…
1. ALIGNMENT – To step fully into your personal power, by becoming a conscious co-creator of life, and understanding that you design your life from the inside out.
2. RESULTS – So you can begin attracting more of what you want, including everything from good feelings, thoughts and relationships, right through to increased success, more money, and things you need. (Results)
Reason #1: Alignment
Suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction. It is an indication that the individual is out of harmony with himself, with the law of his being. ~ James Allen
The universe is abundant, and you contain the universe within you. You truly are a miracle when you stop to consider it. However, if you do not acknowledge and fully grasp the implications of this truth, that you are one with the universe, and therefore your true nature is also abundance, you will not be able to plug into the power and align yourself with universal laws.
To be aligned with the universe is a wondrous thing. When you have experienced this feeling, the appeal of money and wealth will pale in comparison, because you will realise true wealth is to be in complete harmony with your own nature and the greater cosmos that surrounds you. That is to say, true wealth is the recognition of the oneness that includes you.
To clarify, I’m not saying you can’t choose to attract material wealth. That’s fine. But, there’s a reason that money does not rank in the Top 5 regrets of the dying**. In fact, two of the most common regrets of the dying are:
1. Wishing they had been more true to their selves and lived their dreams.
2. Wishing they had allowed themselves to feel happier and simply enjoy life.
It is so important to understand that everything you need and want, you already are and have.
And when you recognise the truth of who you are, you will feel a sense of immediate abundance and all that you need and want will begin flowing towards you. Of course, this act of “recognising” must itself become a practice.
Appreciating what you truly want brings it to you…
Therefore, focusing on what you want and already have, rather than on what you don’t want and don’t have is the key to making this work for you.
In his book ‘A New Earth’, Eckhart Tolle advises us to try this activity: “Whatever people are withholding from you – praise, appreciation, assistance, loving care, and so on – give it to them. You don’t have it? Just act as if you had it, and it will come. Then, soon after you start giving, you will start receiving…The source of all abundance is not outside you. It is part of who you are.” P.191
Photo by Chase Clark on Unsplash
Reason #2: Results
All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts. ~ James Allen
Your life, as it stands right now, is one great self-fulfilling prophecy. You have created exactly the results you have been focused on creating, consciously or, more likely, unconsciously.
So often, people say to me: “I guess I am just bad at manifesting” or “I have bad luck” – but that’s just so far from the truth. You are always manifesting exactly what you choose, based on your thoughts, beliefs and actions at the time.
If you change your thoughts, beliefs and actions, you can immediately start to transform your inner and outer conditions. If there is something you want more of in your life, ask yourself “How am I unconsciously blocking the very thing I say I want?”
You are a master manifestor – if only you could focus your gift more astutely.
Another thing I hear often is, “I can’t be happy until…”
The very structure of this statement keeps ‘happy’ at a distance.
Happy is something you are lacking. Something dependent on external factors.
And, it’s completely inaccurate.
The trick is to start practicing and choosing ‘happy’ now.
Firstly, look at your life and find reasons to be joyful and grateful.
If you are reading this then I can tell you that you already have a few big ones: you are alive, you are breathing, you have eyes that work, and probably ears too! You live in a free country. You probably have access to good food and clean, running water, not to mention electricity, gas, and fuel to run machines that make your life easier.
There is Always Something to Appreciate, If You Look Hard Enough
I remember when I moved onto the farm. There was no running water to the caravan site. There was no plumbing, no shower and no bath. So, every couple of days, I would carry down a 15L container full of fresh drinking water. And every evening I would boil the kettle 2-3 times to have enough hot water to add to another 20L bucket of cold water, which I used to wash myself after working for 8-hours in the fields.
That experience made me appreciate running water and hot showers more than I ever had before. Sure, there were times when it was a struggle and an effort, especially when I was tired or it was freezing cold. But overall, I appreciated lugging those buckets to the caravan, and showering with a ladle and bucket of warm water. I chose to focus on the simplicity of it, and the beauty of my surroundings, and that made it enjoyable.
There is always something to appreciate if you look hard enough. When we are unhappy, it simply means we need to look harder to find things to be grateful for right now.
And there is a reason this is so important.
Imagine yourself as someone on a journey, and on this journey you’re carrying a backpack with everything you need. Whatever you have in your backpack as you make the journey is what you will have with you when you arrive.
You can’t expect that “happy” is going to be waiting for you at your destination, i.e., when I have a girlfriend, when I have a successful business, when I have a million dollars, when I have a new job I’ll be happy…
I’m calling BS on that.
It’s the same with success, joy, gratitude, abundance…
“Where your focus goes, your energy flows.”
~ Tony Robbins
“Where your focus goes, your energy flows.”
~ Tony Robbins
Nope. Happiness has to be in your backpack from the start, and you have to cultivate it, care for it, and protect it as you travel along your path, so that you bring joy and happiness with you to your destination.
Happiness, gratitude, joy – and everything else – is generated from within you!
Consequently, if you are not happy now, that is to say, you are not enjoying your life and your life conditions now, then you will not attract new and better circumstances to you, nor will you appreciate or enjoy them when they come along.
Like attracts like. You reap what you sow. You attract that which you are.
So, if you want more happiness*, start by shifting your focus to being happy here and now. Find something you can feel happy about. Generate a feeling of happiness with yourself, your life, or your possessions right now. (*Insert any feeling or result, like abundance, success, gratitude, positivity etc)
Choose to feel happy, find reasons to be grateful, enjoy whatever it is you do have, look for the joy that already exists in your life, smile more often, bring happiness to others, watch comedy, tell jokes, find pleasure in the simple things…
Because the more you focus on what you do have, the more you will attract, enjoy and create the results you want.
The Science Confirms: What you Focus On Expands
FOCUS is not true reality, because it’s one view; it’s only one perception of the way things really are. ~ Tony Robbins
BASIC PRINCIPLES: Your attention is limited, so what you choose to focus on will be what you see…and what you choose to see habitually, over time becomes your reality.
There’s an old psychology test that proves this theory nicely. In the video, you are asked to watch two teams passing basketballs, and count the number of passes the team in white makes.
Watch this video before reading any further:
Most people who watch this video miss something that is right in front of their faces, and that happens because they are focusing their attention on something very specific: counting passes.
I remember being so shocked when I rewatched it, having completely missed the moonwalking gorilla. But that’s the limitation of our attentional capacity.
Think about attention this way – imagine yourself holding a camera, getting ready to take a photo. As you move the camera around, the lens of the camera focuses on different realities. They are all real, but depending on which one you focus on, you could see something completely different.
Here’s another well-known psychology test that demonstrates how different realities can be present, yet we can only see the one we focus on.
There are two women visible in this picture. An old hag, and a youthful beauty. So what do you see?
I recall first being shown this image at uni, and the disagreements between students arguing that the old or young woman did not exist, because they could not see both women.
How similar is this to the fights people have over politics or religion – when we decide that what we see is the truth – it can be very powerful and command our reason, our emotions and our direct experience of our world!
P.S. You may be able to flip between the two – but it still takes effort to consciously shift your focus.
The bottom line is this: Focus is powerful, and it can turn into experiences, emotions and beliefs, that make it feel even more true.
How the Brain Changes Your Reality
To understand the science behind this we need to appreciate the role of the Reticular Activating System (RAS).
Every moment, zillions of pieces of stimuli are occurring, and we cannot attend to all of them, so the RAS filters out the irrelevant.
Like a strainer that only let’s certain size particles through, the RAS only let’s about 1% of the potential information through to your brain.
Approximately 99% of information is discarded!!
And we are the conductor of this symphony – telling the RAS what to focus on.
This explains why, when you decide to buy a new car, you suddenly start seeing that car everywhere. Your filters are focused on that car, and so it appears to you more often.
It’s also why “I always have bad luck” or “Nobody pays attention to me” can feel true, but it only shows what your RAS has been instructed by you to focus on.
Your Focus Filtered
The information that passes through your filters, then activates your neural pathways, and maintains and strengthens connections between those pathways – so particular realities get embedded, and others get completely ignored.
The RAS programs your mind to see the version of reality based on the filters you put in place. At any time, you can choose to re-program your mind, by changing your filters.
There are 6 filters that you use to program your mind: Values, Beliefs, Memories, Decisions, Paradigms and Meta-Programs.
(NB: For a more in-depth exploration of these filters, click here or if you are a coaching client, go to the Documents tab.)
Basically, you can keep reinforcing programs that aren’t working or you can choose to install a new program, even though it “goes against what you believe” – one that will help you appreciate the things you want to have more of in your life.
What you believe if just what you have chosen to believe. You set your own “boundary conditions”, so what is possible and not possible, is pretty much up to you!
Everyone has a unique REALITY and everything you experience will alter your brain, so choose your perceptions wisely!!
If You See It In Your Mind, You Will Hold It In Your Hand
Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash
Bob Proctor, the money manifestation guru, says this: “When you change your perception, you change your life.” And he is absolutely right.
That’s because everything you create, you create twice. Once in your mind, then you create it again in your external reality.
That’s one of the reasons coaching is so powerful, because it helps people who are not happy with their some aspects their life, by showing them how to build a very clear image of what they want, and through repeated focus and clarification, they begin to create the thing which once eluded them – whether that’s in their relationship, business, career, money, health or spiritual life.
Change can come so easily in this way. Sure, it requires action and effort and skill, but it’s like all the hurdles just begin to melt away, and soon the thing you were chasing appears in your life.
The sad and simple truth is, most people focus on the wrong things, at least some of the time; the things they don’t want. They use exactly the same techniques and ideas I am discussing here, but they do it unconsciously to create negative results. In my coaching sessions, I teach people how to consciously create positive results.
Let’s explore a couple of examples of how this works:
I was working with aa gay guy who wanted his partner to be more attentive. This behaviour had been present at the beginning of the relationship, but had gradually dwindled.
In our sessions, I helped him to develop a clear picture of what this would look like. He identified a couple of key behaviours that would let him know his partner was displaying this quality. He was even able to acknowledge there were times when his partner already displayed these characteristics.
Then I set him a task: to look for those behaviours, even if they only showed up briefly, and to acknowledge, appreciate or reward them on the spot.
Next, I recommended that, for a couple of minutes each day, he deliberately focus his thoughts on memories of his partner being attentive, and to totally fill himself up with good feelings and gratitude for how much you love it when he gives you attention.
Finally, I encouraged him to be more attentive to his partner’s needs. To really listen, ask and check in on his partner’s needs, because the Law of Attraction says, if you want something, then give it away as tough you have an abundance of it.
Well, it wasn’t long before he reported to me that he was feeling so much happier, because he was seeing all the times his partner was attentive, and because he was appreciating him in those moments, his partner was gradually encouraged to give more of that side of himself to my client.
So, his thoughts and appreciation turned into seeing and experiencing more of what he wanted. He stopped being demanding of attention, which only pushed his partner further away, and increased his own feelings of “lack”, and started being appreciative.
Let’s explore another example I see frequently:
I talk to many people who are dreaming of building a new business. However, often when we first start coaching, the focus of their thoughts is on how impossible, impractical and difficult it is. Sometimes, they’ve been dreaming about this business, or trying to make it happen for years, or even decades. And they may come to me feeling pretty hopeless and despondent.
Without a doubt, they have faced obstacles, but their focus is on “failure”, not success. So, they are literally talking themselves out of achieving what they want by focusing their appreciation on the opposite result. They appreciate failure not success.
You can see how our thoughts can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
As they progress through coaching, they begin to shift their focus onto seeing themselves creating a really successful business. They visualise their goals daily, they learn how to mentally rehearse overcoming obstacles, they picture themselves making headway, and turning their dream into reality.
Basically, I get them to visualise succeeding so intensely and so often, that before long, they are building momentum and creating a business they love.
When you start to focus intensely on something, the brain deduces that this thing must be of high importance, and begins focusing energy, attention and behaviours in that direction.
What did they change? Firstly, they changed their focus. And that change in focus, facilitated their belief that it is possible, their brain followed suit, then their actions, and soon reality began to line up with their view of the world.
It’s not hippy-trippy. We have all been using this faculty all our lives, to good and not so good effect.
The Practical Applications Are Endless
You can apply these same principles to great effect in any area of your life. You want more peace of mind. Focus on things that make you feel peaceful. Imagine yourself living a peaceful life. Repeat a peaceful mantra over and over.
You want more money. Focus on the abundance that already exists in your life. Even if you are financially poor, you have an abundance of breath, or free time, of family, of hope, of fresh air…Also, you can find ways to give to others. Look for the riches that already exist in your life. Perhaps you are deeply loved, or have a great social network, or an abundance of intelligence.
Bob Proctor again:
“Thoughts become things. If you see it in your mind, you will hold it in your hand.”
Find ways to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. You can read more in how to do that here:
The biggest question I am asked on this topic is: ”But will this work if I don’t believe it; if I feel silly telling myself it is true, when it’s not?”
No. It doesn’t work to tell yourself: I am happy, when you actually feel depressed. The brain would know that is just a lie.
You need to actually believe there are things to be happy about, and then start to search for them. You need to remember that your brain is currently only seeing about 1% of what’s available to it, and try to shift your focus, a little at a time, onto the quality, result, or thing, that you would like more of.
I did this when I was first starting out in business. It was early days, so I couldn’t call myself a success yet – but I believed success was a possibility that existed. So I chose to focus as many of my thoughts as I could on the future reality of running a successful business. I pictured it vividly. I wrote out my goals every day. And I repeated mantras to myself, especially when I was having feelings of fear and doubt. Furthermore, I adopted at attitude of success. And success was the result I created.
The other question I get is: “How long does this take?”
The answer to that is: How long is a piece of string? Who knows!
It depends on what you are trying to manifest, on how intensely you work at it, on how clear your vision is, and a whole range of factors.
The probable motive behind this question is fear disguised as impatience.
A better question to ask is this: Is my current way of thinking getting me the results I want? What have I got to lose?
Turn your impatience into positive motivation, and pour all your energy into shifting your focus.
In conclusion, the message I want you to get is this: what you appreciate appreciates…and appreciation is something you can control, and do easily, with little effort, and no risk…so why not start implementing these ideas into your life immediately.
Let’s review the key takeaways from this article:
Well, I really hope you have enjoyed and benefitted from this month’s article. Even if you already know this stuff, it’s always powerful to have a reminder!
Wherever you are at with these ideas, I simply encourage you to strive to elevate these practices to the next level in your life, so you can attract more of what you desire to yourself. I’ve included some book recommendations below that may assist you to develop this practice of appreciation and focus in your own life.
There are a few stand-out books on this topic and I have included links to them below.
The first book, ‘As A Man Thinketh’ is a powerful book on this topic, and it’s only 25 pages long – it’s also a free download of the entire book that I tracked down for you, so START HERE, it’s 30 minutes of your life that I promise will be transformative…
Then check out the others…you’ll be glad you did!
James Allen, 1902
Napoleon Hill, 1937
Dr. Wayne Dyer, 1989
Tony Robbins, 1991
Bronnie Ware, 2012
P.S. Questions, comments, personal stories? Please share them below so we can all grow together.
The Mindset Mentor
Michelle McClintock is a Life & Business Mindset Strategist who specialises in transforming your mindset so you can experience more peace, happiness, success and fulfilment.
Michelle has 30-years experience in personal development, as a Psychologist, Facilitator, Speaker and Results Coach. She loves it when people get new insights that spark massive growth and positive transformation.
Through her writing and videos she makes complex coaching and psychology ideas easy to digest and assimilate, so you can create your ultimate life.