It was a shiny new menu sign. All the yummy drink choices with the prices lined up perfectly next to them. Dollar signs aligned vertically in almost lyrical fashion. And, then… an oops. The third item from the bottom, the Ice Blended Mocha, was missing the dollar sign. The $ was “v”. v3.80? Clearly it was a typo on a freshly printed menu board, one that had likely been proofed by several sets of eyes. And, it wasn’t just a local job. This was a board that had been special ordered and hung by professionals.
I’ve ordered lunch in this café numerous times and have never noticed this little flaw. So, what do you think happened as I sat there waiting for my lunch order? I was unable focus on anything except for that measly v3.80. The typo. The one imperfect note amidst the otherwise perfect symphony of $$$$$$$$$$$$.
What is that? It got me thinking about how easily this same mindset pervades so many areas of our lives.
How many times have you received praise, or stellar reviews, for a job or performance well done and that one slightly negative review, that may have only been a word or two, is the only one you focus on? Where you believe the criticisms rather than trusting your own voice, where truly in your core you know you’re amazing.
Or you’re having an event and rather than putting your energy towards the many people who are attending, you focus on the paltry few that don’t.
Or perhaps you’re stretching yourself in a new way and you have allowed the fear and insecurity that you’re not going to be enough to override the joy of the experience.
I know there are times when things will be sailing along brilliantly on a project or job or relationship and then something pops up that isn’t working. It’s so easy to turn the focus on what isn’t working rather than what is. I recently heard Life and Empowerment Coach Andrea Quinn speak on this very topic. She says that we can spend so much time concentrating on what isn’t working, why it isn’t working and what we can do to change it that we lose sight of all of the wonderful things that are working in our lives, "our magnificence." This is where the law of attraction comes into play, which I write a lot about here. What you focus on expands. So, as Andrea says, if you’re in gratitude about all of those things going right, then more of those projects, jobs, people and experiences will appear in your reality.
Sometimes the imperfections are what make something unique and beautiful. Like a flaw in a piece of wood. Or a mole. Or a crooked nose. Or a traffic detour that takes you down a new path. But, if your focus is only on what’s wrong with the imperfection then it only does more harm than good.
My thought is… Take it out. Next time you find yourself only looking at the typo, exploding in road rage at a change in traffic pattern, the one negative review, your crooked nose or receding hairline, whatever your definition of an imperfection is, stop yourself.
Here’s a new thought if you are stuck on an imperfection: Instead of embracing it as a part of what is, how about taking it completely out of the equation. It doesn’t exist. Don't focus on it.
To start the mindset change, try playing that old Sesame Street game, “One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn’t belong. Can you tell which thing is not like the others? By the time I finish my song?”
Recognize the thing that’s stealing your focus and eliminate it. Visualize the scene or picture and experience only the remaining good stuff. Concentrate and be grateful for the good stuff and watch more good stuff come your way.