The Daily Jedi: Focus

“Always remember, your focus determines your reality” – Qui-Gon Jinn


If you focus on wrongs you energize anger, resentment and frustration. If you focus on forgiveness you energize patience, tolerance and compassion. Focusing on fault leads to accusation and fails to lead to resolution. Shifting attention to finding a solution energizes action.

It is better to say “things are tough right now but it will get better with hard work” than “Why me? Life is not fair! Nothing I do seem to matter”. The attitude that you bring will determine your focus. Your focus will set the color of your day and ultimately the tone of your life. Unhappy people generally have unhappy lives.

Focus on the negative and we energize it. Throw a positive light on anything and we give it life. Always focus on where you want to go. Focus on what is in our control as opposed to what is not. What we focus on and energize ultimately determines our life.

“If you change your mind your conditions must change too. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds.” – Emmet Fox

The Seven Day Diet

One of the hardest mental exercises I have ever tried is the “seven day mental diet” as suggested by Emmet Fox. The exercise takes extreme focus and attention on our moods, emotions and thoughts. We are applying mindfulness to every moment of the day. We soon begin to realize that our mind is like a tree of chattering monkeys. We barely have control over the mind.

“You must train yourself to choose the subject of your thinking at any given time and also to choose the emotional tone, or what we call the mood that colors it” – Emmet Fox

Our thoughts, concerns and moods shift continuously rarely remaining static for long. Emotions change through the day in response to internal and external stimuli. One minute we feel content and happy, the next we are in a self made drama clouded with anger, fear or sadness. Much of the time we are largely oblivious to why.

We are slaves to the very tool we need to master to achieve equanimity, peace and serenity, our mind.

Mind Control

The seven day mental diet is an experience in mind control. To achieve even a day of the diet is an outstanding achievement. To go the entire seven days without entertaining a negative thought or emotion is truly a feat. A Jedi would be hard pressed to achieve it for that amount of time.

“Make up your mind to devote one week solely to the task of building a new habit of thought and during that week let everything in life be unimportant as compared with that” – Emmet Fox

The key of course is focus. Images, thoughts and impressions drift in and out of consciousness all of the time. Some are passive like passing clouds and others are intrusive demanding our attention and response. It may not seem like it at times but what we choose to focus on is entirely within our power. You have the potential to rein in your mind and harness its potential. This is why it is important to focus on recovery.

“For seven days you must not allow yourself to dwell for a single moment on any kind of negative thought. You must watch yourself as a cat watches a mouse…you must not under any pretence allow your mind to dwell on any thought that is not positive, constructive, optimistic, kind.” – Emmet Fox.

Take the Challenge

Try the seven day mental diet. Give it a go. Your ego will hate it but you will be astounded by the effect it has on you. I agree with Emmet Fox that it is one of the most truly outstanding things you can do. To summarize this is how it works:

1. Set a day and time to commence the diet. Any day or time will work however it is best to start in the morning as you rise fresh. Prepare mentally the night before.
2. For seven days pay very close attention to where your mind is at. Focus on where your thoughts are leading. The goal is to immediately put out any negative train of thought. The diet is to refuse energizing any negative thoughts or emotions.
3. Any self defeating, self deprecating, attacking or negative thoughts that enters in to your consciousness must be immediately silenced before they elicit an emotional or behavioral response from you. Do not struggle with the thought, simply let it go.
4. If you can avoid situations or people you are sure will get the better of you. The diet most often fails early. The longer you can go the easier it will be.
5. Be honest. If you get angry at someone cutting you off in traffic or harbor resentment for even a moment you have fallen of the diet. You must start again. Take a few days and when you are ready start afresh.
6. Note: If you unsure if you have broken the diet just ask yourself did this thing or person cause you to invest negative emotions? Did you focus on it? If so you have broken the diet. If still unsure look inward, your heart will reveal the truth. Fleeting thoughts and emotions do not count as long as you arrest them before they take hold.
7. Journal each day on the diet. Like progression in any exercise you will find the more you do it the better you will get. Don’t get frustrated (that’s a fail) just learn from where you went wrong and try again. After a while it actually gets fun and you learn a lot about yourself as you are paying close attention to where you focus yourself. You are your own observer for a week, watching a 24 hour reality show about you!
8. Keep it to yourself. Don’t tell people what you aim to do. I find that boasting a project or plans to friends and family can render it to the “later” pile or guarantee failure. Stephen King himself said he would never discuss a planned book with anyone until it was written. If you attempt the seven day mental diet and succeed by all means share your experience.

A copy of Emmet Fox’s pamphlet “The Seven Day Mental Diet” can be found here. The piece was written in the 1930’s but remains as relevant today as it did during the Great Depression.