Focus = Growth

People say whatever you pay attention to it grows.

For example, if you focus your attention on the negative things in your life, more likely than not you will encounter more and more negative things in life.

Poor people get into worser debts and liars keep on lying to cover up their lies.

The opposite holds true for people who are positive.

People with tons of friends have no trouble making more friends and people who rise to leadership roles have no trouble moving up wherever they go.



It’s similar to the Bible passage Mt 13:12 that says, “For whoever has, it shall be given to him, and he shall in abundance.”

Its as if once you’ve trained your brain to do something, it naturally goes about doing it regardless of whether you are aware of it or not.

I recently saw this theory unfold while I was shooting on a set with John Bich Sy Vuong.

John is the owner and shooter at Blue Angel Photography.

He asked me to come along to help him with a family portrait shoot.



As photographers, we love to setup the setting, lighting, and subjects to coincide with our vision.

Since the family portrait shoot consisted of a family of five (father, mother, 2 boys, and a girl) the photographer’s job is to pose this family of five in the most heartwarming way.

Normally, a shoot would typically last 3-4 hours, but ours lasted 6 hours

This was due to an unforeseen challenge that always pops up in every shoot.

Only this time, the unforeseen challenge happened to be a 4 year old.



The boy wasn’t too happy at that moment.

He wanted to watch his cartoons or get on the computer to play his games.

He didn’t like the fact that we were in his home either, these two strangers with big photographic equipments.

The fact that all his family was looking at him disapprovingly, didn’t help his state of mind either.

So when we asked him to pose for us, he wasn’t going to oblige.



First, it began with defiance.

He would run around, go find some food, and fidget during the whole shoot.

Then, when we forced him into a certain pose for the next shoot, he decided that he had enough and expressed his frustration the only way a 4 year old knows how.

He cried.

He cried and he cried and when he wasn’t crying, he made sure to communicate his displeasure with a sour face.



His dad was extremely frustrated with his son.

He yelled, he threatened, and even tried bribery.

None of it worked.

Soon the dad was just as frustrated as his kid.

Great, now we have two unhappy family members.



At that moment, John the main photographer stepped in to intervene.

Family members with sour looking faces don’t make good pictures.

Not to mention that his reputation is on the line.

Who would want to book a photographer who take pictures of family members with sour faces?

Anybody could do that, John got the job because he was known to be better than just anybody.



John’s method of intervention was actually very creative.

Instead of allowing everyone’s frustration to escalate, he directed everyone’s attention to something else.

He started with the kid.

He gave the kid a little bell with stick.

He asked the kid to hit it as hard as he could.



As the boy was enjoying his new toy, John asked everyone to applaud.

“Hey look at him, he knows how to play an instrument. That’s awesome!”

Everyone played along and started clapping, even the father.

In a matter of minutes, the atmosphere within the house changed from one of frustration to one of applaud.

With the boy’s focus on the bell, John gave it to me and asked me to move behind him while he was taking pictures.



The boy kept on looking at the bell.

He wasn’t in a sour mood anymore.

He was anticipating the next time he could get his hands on the bell.

And just like that, John started shooting away.

After a couple of shots, he would ask me to give the bell to the boy to satisfy his curiosity and we were good to go again.



John ended up getting all the pics he needed.

John turned the tides into his favor through the rule of “focus”.

Whatever you focus on, its gets bigger.

When the boy was in a sour mood, everyone started focusing on the boy’s bad behavior.

The father started yelling at him, threatening him.



Everyone’s eyes were on him, waiting for him to get in place so they could be done with the shoot.

The boy already didn’t want to be there in the first place, but now that everyone unhappy with the him, it made him feel worst.

When you focus on the boy’s negative aspects, it makes him feel worse, and when he feels worse you can’t expect him to put on a smile.

He cries, he throws a fit, he sits in the corner feels bad about himself.

But look what happens when John started to ask everyone to focus on the positive.



Give the boy a toy that he can play with and ask everyone to encourage the boy when he plays with it.

Clap for the boy, hug the boy, and praise the boy.

Do anything to make him feel that he is doing a good job.

The boy felt good about himself and he also felt everyone around him was happy with him.

It was much easier for the boy to put up a smile now that he is in a good mood.



When you focus on the positive of what the boy can do, he feels positive.

When he feels good and we encourage the family to praise the boy, the boy feels good about everyone.

So now, whenever anyone ask him to do anything, he happily obliges.

When you focus on the negative, your attention feeds the negativity and it grows.

When you focus on the positive, your attention feeds the positivity and that grows.

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One thought on “Focus = Growth

  1. Tien says:

    Word! I try to preach that everywhere i go!

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