Heard the expression, “A watched pot never boils?”
Have you ever hovered over a pot on the stove and waited for the water to boil? It takes time, and somehow the time seems to stretch out even farther when you're waiting for the change to happen.
You do not see anything at first, and then you slowly feel the pot physically warming up. After a little while, tiny bubbles start to form at the pot's base. Occasionally, these tiny bubbles start chasing each other up to the water's surface. The bubbles start to dance faster and faster, until you see larger bubbles forming. Finally after about five to ten minutes, the water shows a rolling boil. Phew!
This event can be fun to watch once in a blue moon, if you have the patience for it. But what if you were to cover the pot, turn your back on it and do something else for five to ten minutes, and then return to it once it's boiling – without ever having watched all the steps in between?
Sometimes, with the changes we want to see with our health or with life in general, it can be tempting to hover over ourselves and wait expectantly for the changes to occurrence. Ironically, a lot of times when we're being our most attentive and we feel like change should come because of our intense focus on it, it evades us. Why?
Ever witnessed (or been) a teenager who gets a zit during the most inopportune time, like before a date or before the prom? The teenager stares at the menace in the mirror, telling it to be gone or else … and the darn thing gets bigger overnight! What happened? Why did not listen to the poor teen who needed to be seen blemish-free for an important moment in time?
Focus can be a good thing. If you focus on studies, you can do better on a test. If you focus on the road, you can be a safer driver. If you focus on what you want, you can take steps to get there. But in certain areas, there is such a thing as too much focus to the point where pressure starts to build and you prevent changes from occurring naturally.
Too much focus can turn into a mixture of control and stress. You can start trying to control everything so that things can go your way, but naturally in this world not everything can be controlled. Also, you'll face the loss of not approaching situations as who you are because you're too fixated on the outcome of the change you'd like to see happen. Whether you want more financial freedom, a new job, a slimmer waist, more energy in life, less insomnia, a better diet, more mature communication with those you know, or whatever else …
… it might be worth it to give the changes enough space to breathe too. Change is rebellious, just like teenagers are or life is in general. If you try to control it too much, it can do the opposite of what you want it to do. You want faster, it'll go slower. You want cleaner, it'll go messier. You want smoother, it'll go rougher. Once in a while, if you take even a small step back and let the change happen more naturally, you may see more progress made with less effort from you and your focused mind!
Now, is not that ironic?