Updated: May 16
Our brains are really amazing when we are in an emergency; the amygdala kicks in, and it allows us to focus only on what is necessary, even if we previously had a million things on our mind. In extreme situations, we are able to unconsciously shift our focus to the immediate moment and to the very next action we need to take.
Most of the time when we are overwhelmed, we are not in an emergency. It's really easy to feel even more overwhelmed by the future, because we don’t quite know what will happen! Something we can focus on is consciously doing what our amygdala would do for us if the context of our tribulation were more serious: zoom in on the present moment. This means that if your week feels daunting, shift your lens to focus on only the present day. If your day feels daunting, shift your lens to focus on only the present hour! Fear lives in the future. By zooming in you will find that things are usually fine in the present moment.
Just focus on the next step. Split your goals into smaller goals. Split the smaller goals into a to-do list. When we zoom in this closely, things seem much more doable. Tiptoe if you have to, but keep moving forward.
Putting one foot in front of the other is great, but it is just as important to know what your destination should be. When you’re not in a trial, zoom out to find this final destination! Push your perspective further than you normally would. Maybe you have a plan for what you want your business to look like in the next year or two, but what about the next ten years? Do you want a corporation, or a small business with a handful of employees? Try to paint as clear of a picture in your mind as possible, because then in the future you will be unwilling to settle for less.
Once you know what you want your future to look like, it will be easier to discern which steps will take you closer to your goal and which steps are detours. Ask yourself: will this get me closer to my long term goal?
When we focus on our day to day life, we tend to overestimate what we can get done and our to-do lists can be unrealistic. This is where zooming in is helpful, because what seems insurmountable can seem achievable when broken down. The opposite is true looking into the future. We tend to underestimate what we can get done, so when you zoom out, zoom way out! Dream big!