How to Get Past Challenges by Changing Your Focus (Like Richard Branson)

In Richard Branson’s autobiography “Losing my Virginity” he frequently mentions calling someone of stature or fame…

My interest is on how he approaches such situations. What stood out for me here is not the overtly implied fact that he ‘just did it’, but the reoccurring inclusion of ‘picking up the phone’.

By including the words “picked up the phone” Branson is saying that calling people of stature or fame is as simple as picking up the phone.

However on a deeper level, embedded in these words, is evidence of a useful technique in overcoming otherwise challenging obstacles.

If calling someone is difficult, it’s certainly at least a bit easier once the phone is in your hand. (Like going for a run is easier once you have your running shoes on.)

This is not the big idea though. The big idea is where Branson’s (and your) attention goes. Branson’s primary attention is not on calling, but on picking up the phone.

Instead of focusing on making that phone call, focus on picking up the phone.

Instead of focusing on going for a run, focus on putting your shoes on each morning.

Change your focus and find yourself slipping past challenges like Richard Branson.

Richard Branson’s Secret to Knowing What to Do

In Richard Branson’s autobiography “Losing my Virginity” I noticed a few times how he uses the word “decided” in places many people usually wouldn’t. Like in this passage…

This particular passage exemplifies the kind of worldview that leaders like Branson hold. At this meeting, he didn’t ‘realise’ they were right, nor did he ‘understand’ they were right…he ‘decided’ that they were right. This may seem like a subtle difference, but it’s not.

Think of the power contained in the ability to ‘decide’ for yourself and your business when something is right or wrong.  A decision does not necessarily make something true, but it certainly makes something happen.

If you want to make things happen, then instead of waiting to ‘know’ what to do, simply decide.

Think Positive (But Only If You Believe It)

No Bullshit

I’ve had a hunch for awhile that positive affirmations could in some cases be destructive. I know it sounds strange, but keep reading…

I use positive affirmations almost daily, usually in short bursts before I’m going to do some activity or need a bit of motivation.

“I can get this done in 5 minutes, so start it now.  I’m awesome.”

“I’m incredibly good at this. They will love it.”

Most of the time I find the little trick very empowering and motivating.  However I have also noticed that in rare situations, positive self talk can result in an onslaught of “but” and “what if” internal dialogue.  Such dialogue is self-defeating and usually shifts my emotional state in a negative direction as well as reinforces my doubt.

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