Getting Refocused

Have you ever been at a really fun social event, and then you’re talking to someone about it afterward (someone who was also there), and that person thought it just stunk? Isn’t it funny how you could both be at the same party, and one of you loved it while the other hated it?

Life is like that. Here’s how I learned to be the guy having fun.

In the late 1990s my family and I were going through a rough time financially. As crazy as it sounds, we were living off our credit cards for some of the basic needs of life. Month after month, the debt became worse. I can still remember how it felt standing in the grocery line, worried that maybe our card wouldn’t clear.

Day after day I stressed over how I was going to get out of the mess I was in. I was angry with myself and angry with others whom I thought had mistreated me. My health was poor. We were forced to sell our home and cars. We even sold a lot of our furniture. I was at one of the lowest points of my life.

One afternoon I remember driving in my car, just looking out the window, wondering, How bad is this going to get? Then I saw something that made a huge difference on how I was seeing things.

Off to the right on the sidewalk sat a man with no arms. He was drinking a soda with some friends. How? He would place his feet in a cupping shape and lift the cup and straw to his mouth—all the while laughing, smiling and carrying on a conversation. To watch him, you would have thought he hadn’t a care in the world.  And there I was, thinking I couldn’t handle another ounce of discouragement, and this man was happy. He was content.

Was it because of the friends that surrounded him? Was it the fresh air in his lungs? Was it the beautiful blue sky or the warmth of the sun? I had all of those same gifts but couldn’t see any of them. Why? Because I was so focused on what I had lost that I had stopped being grateful for what I had.

As soon as I started counting my blessings, I began to look at my life through a different set of lenses. And when you look at things differently, things become different. You become different.

What in your life could use a little refocusing?

7 Replies to “Getting Refocused”

  1. Great reminder Bryan!

    Sometimes we are so consumed with getting “somewhere” or “something” that we neglect to pause, reflect, and enjoy the journey. Spending time with the ones we love matters the most…

  2. Hi Bryan,
    I was touched by your blog this morning regarding Getting Refocused. It’s so easy to get caught up in focusing on what we don’t have, (usually in comparison to our peers, friends, family, etc…) that we forget to appreciate all the important things we have. Thank you for your insight today.


  3. What you share is true to the core of personal growth and development regardless of how young or seasoned we become in our years. For a long time I have directly expressed to my immediate family members: “If you can experience the freedom to be happy with NOTHING surely you will become and appreciate having something”.

    In June this year our 19 years young son celebrated his birthday assisting other high school graduates building a community clinic brick by brick in Honduras South America. He returned saying; “your right dad people there still have dirt roads everywhere they have very little, unlike we have in America. My son said with emphases; “they eat rice & amp; beans every day”…. But one thing I noticed about the families there they cared and shared with their neighbors genuinely and there was happiness in their eyes for each other.

  4. When I awoke this morning and logged into my email – I was hoping with all my heart that there would be some sort of message from you! Either one of your awesome videos – or this. This was JUST what I needed. These words reminded my weary soul right now, of what I believe in – but needed some re focusing admist my life challenges and chaos that is going on right now. It is difficult to “see” when you’re head high in life stuff, but your story touched my sould-deep. Thank you for opening up, being real and sharing it. You helped change my life today Bryan. I am grateful for what I have right in front of me. My family, health, food, clothes etc. The “little moments” inbetween the big ones. And so very grateful for friends like you who know just what to say, at the very moment I need it. This message was truly an answer to prayer.

  5. I do agree we all need to refocus at times in our lives. This holiday weekend a very good friend emailed me that his father had suddenly passed away. I could feel his pain in the message and I called him that evening. It was difficult. The next day he sent me a picture of his daughter sitting on a San Diego pier with her grandfather. It was evident that even though grieving he was also focusing on the beautiful times that he and his family so thankfully spent with his father.

  6. Indeed. I have overcome many obstacles by looking for the good in it and still finding people and things to be grateful for. After learning how an attitude of gratitude seemingly magically changes everything I am a professional ‘focus changer.’
    Let’s remember: It’s ALL a gift.

  7. My husband and I feel like every day is a blessing. We look around us in awe and are amazed at the beauty all around. Just to have eyes that see, how easy that can be taken away. We verbally like to express how grateful and blessed we are. The more we state how grateful we are, the more we see the amazing gifts we have been given. This economy has really been tough on so many around us….so many people, focusing only on all the ugly happening in the world. Thank you Bryan for focusing on a higher level. Daily, I see and feel many people are in dire need of a refocus. You are my sunshine today!

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