Recently I heard about a fascinating study that I’ve been thinking a lot about. Researchers asked a group of singles two questions. The first time, this is what they asked (on a scale of 1-10):
Question #1 How happy are you?
Question # 2 How many dates have you had in the past month?
They found a weak correlation between how happy the responders felt and how many dates they had had recently.
BUT THEN they SWITCHED the order of the questions:
1. How many dates have you had in the past month?
2. How happy are you?
Tricky. And you know what they found? All of a sudden there was a stronger correlation between dating and happiness. Those who hadn’t had as many dates believed they were less happy. Because they had been asked the dating question first, that’s what they were focusing on. Researchers called this phenomenon, “focusing illusion”.
Your focus impacts your reality.
As I was thinking about this, the person who came to mind embodying this truth is my grandmother. “Grams” was a hero of the faith. A remarkable woman who focused on God’s faithfulness. She became legally blind late in life, but instead of focusing on what she wouldn’t be able to do, her first response was, “Well, I have a really nice phone voice. Maybe I can call anyone who comes to visit our church just to welcome them.”
Then she had another idea. She and my grandfather felt prompted to give $1,000 to a mission organization caring for the blind, but they had no money. Really, no money. But instead of focusing on what they didn’t have and couldn’t do they participated in a “run” in which they got sponsors to support them walking once around an olympic track. Grams had my aunt write down hundreds of phone #’s in black marker, large enough for her to see and she called everyone she knew. That’s a lot of calls to people who mostly gave $25 or $50. None more than $100. When they hit$1,000 they sat down and laughed and cried over what God had done. The following year they raised more. The year after that Gramps had died, but Grams persevered, raised $3,300, walking with her great-grandson. At 92, the last year she walked, Grams raised $4,000.
Grams focused not on what she couldn’t do, but what she could. Not on the “can’t’s” but on the “cans”. Her focus determined her reality.
And now she and Gramps are in the “great cloud of witnesses” cheering us on, encouraging us to “run with perseverance” even if we can’t see clearly.
Is there someone who has inspired you by their focus?