Ready to Change Your World? Stop Focusing on What You Don’t Want

By Ryan Taft

Years ago I worked with an amazing group of folks in the personal development space. Aside from what I am doing now with Shore Consulting, it was one of the most rewarding professional experiences of my life. We would help people via personal coaching to transform their lives in countless ways. For example, we helped people to:

  • Stop smoking
  • Start new businesses
  • Overcome limiting beliefs
  • Become more confident
  • Feel worthy
  • Communicate with their spouse more effectively
  • Etc…

I recall a woman who I coached to change her eating habits. She had an addiction to horrible foods. In her words, “The greasier, the better!” When I sat down for our first session, I asked her the same question I asked all of my coaching clients, “What do you want?” Her response was no different from most. She replied, “I don’t want to burden my kids when I get older.”

Let me pause right there for a teaching moment. Did you notice how she didn’t answer my question? Read it again and notice how I asked her what she wanted and she replied with what she doesn’t want.

You might be thinking, “Ryan, you’re splitting hairs. You get what she means.” Okay. True. I could figure out what she was saying. But here’s the thing, it wasn’t about me. It was about her taking on a mindset that would set her up for success.

The Point

It’s impossible to get what you want when you’re talking about what you don’t want. It’s like trying to drive a car forward when you have it in reverse!

Consider these quotes:

  • “We become what we think about most of the time” – Earl Nightingale
  • “What you focus on expands” – Budda
  • “You move in the direction of your most dominant thoughts” – Marshall Sylver
  • “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” – Proverbs 23:7

All of these quotes are basically saying we must be very mindful of what we focus on. When my coaching client told me she didn’t want to burden her kids when they got older, I had to ask again, “What do you want?” It took a few times and eventually she started to focus on what she wanted for her future rather than what she didn’t want. And, yes, she did kick the greasy food habit.

So the next time you think of, pray about or meditate any of the following thoughts, remember you get what you think about:

  • “I don’t want to be overweight
  • “I hope I don’t end up in last place
  • “I don’t want to get divorced
  • “I hope I don’t end up on Social Security
  • “I don’t want to miss my sales goal

What negative thoughts do you need to change? Focus on what you want and then watch how it changes your world.

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About the Author: Ryan Taft

Ryan Taft
Ryan Taft is consumed with a passion for helping others achieve breakthrough results in sales, business and life. With a career spanning two decades training and coaching sales teams from call centers to new home sales to Realtors®, Ryan combines his knowledge of human performance, psychology and sales skills development to deliver extraordinarily engaging, energizing and insightful training experiences that drive peak performance at all levels.  Learn more at and follow Ryan on Twitter.