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T.E.A.M. Tuesday Articles 

Eyes Focus On What They're Trained To See

By Justin Simmons - Nov 14, 2023

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From a darkly lit room to the sun-drenched outdoors, our eyes will adjust to accommodate a change in the environment within minutes. The rounded shape of our cornea is designed to bend and refract light entering the eye so it lands efficiently on the lens, allowing the retina to focus. While this is happening, the eye is also adjusting based on the distance of the objects we’re attempting to view. Muscles in the eye will relax to thin the lens when attempting to see from far away and contract to thicken the lens when focusing on things in close proximity. Combining these muscular transitions with the mechanical movements of directional observation and blinking, our eyes will move and adjust over 100,000 times per day.

With so much visual stimulation predicated on our surroundings, it can be hard to imagine focusing our attention on any one item for longer than just a few moments. Luckily our eyes are built to withstand such intense activity but our brain requires a bit more nurturing. It’s estimated that over fifty percent of our brain cortex is dedicated to processing visual information.

As we consider this processing of visual imagery, we must go beyond just the physical present. Visual memory and mental imagery are also included in this data exchange. This means our mind can capture and identify images important to us both externally while viewing the world and internally through imagination or recollection. A purposeful concept but can also prove equally distracting.

Given the many options for how our mind can share and manipulate ordinary images, we often revert to what we’re accustomed to and miss much of the peripheral in plain view. Consider buying someone special to you a nice gift. After taking the time to research different brands, models, features, and even places to make the purchase, your brain has taken an invested interest in the product. Eventually, you pinpoint all factors and pull the trigger on said gift. From that point forward you’ll be hyper-aware of anyone you see also possessing the item. Not because it’s suddenly more prevalent, in fact, it could be very rare but your brain is now on high alert for the thing you have paid ample attention to.

These points of recognition are defining moments. They serve to show us how we continue to learn and think differently about things that always existed, yet never gained our attention. Once we choose to apply ourselves and visualize an outcome to a goal, our commitment takes on a new form.  The data that has been visually processed now spans multiple regions of our mind, occupying our thoughts by igniting neurons to communicate in new patterns. This is the power of our ability to focus diligently.

Working on a truly important task can increase one’s sense of focus based on stimulus triggers elevating our impulses. Applying visual aids through either a direct line of sight or by way of visualization can further enhance this process and help to draw a clear path to completion. In either case, we must recognize an open mind with open eyes is more susceptible to noticing the details we may otherwise miss if not looking for them.

Distractions plague us from every corner we allow them to beat us, including within our own heads. As soon as we decide we can only do things one way or perhaps not at all, our eyes will block out all associated opportunities. This applies to anything we seek: making new friends, finding new employment, sports, hobbies, etc. When we think negatively, we see negativity and very little positive is built from such an environment.

Positivity however casts a similarly like-minded net. Thinking positively will prompt us to seek positive outcomes. Suddenly we spot the benefits in situations where they might be challenging to see. In some cases, there may be no positives present and this is when our mind can cultivate thoughts that still enable hope.

Reminding ourselves things can always be worse or a brief flashback to visualize a happy moment can create just enough motivation to get us through the tough times. Positive affirmation for our own being is powerful and it starts by seeing ourselves for who we are. Walking tall with our heads held high allows us to see from our greatest vantage point. Such poise also allows us to be seen with the confidence and pride we deserve.

I’d also like to take a moment to recognize those who might not have the luxury of eyesight. I will never try to speak from a position I cannot relate, so I will leave this topic open-ended by simply acknowledging that blindness holds its own set of inherent challenges. I will however encourage everyone to respect each other’s strengths and weaknesses in hopes of working together more effectively.

Perhaps ideological but I envision a world where positive individuals embracing their surroundings might just recognize those with impaired vision and decide to offer assistance if warranted. An instance where one person’s eyes can work for more than their own exclusive purposes and in return help another. Expand this concept across all functional scenarios of self-awareness and imagine how many more ways we can begin to help each other all because we choose to believe in ourselves.

Greatness is in all of us, it doesn’t mean everything we do is always great but we can certainly try! When you start to view the world through the lens of positivity, you become the tip of the eye, the cornea finding ways to bend and refract light, maximizing your own clarity. Allow your eyes to lead you through both bright and dark moments as they’re designed to do so and trust their ability to serve yourself and those around you. Be sure to take an extra wide look around today and appreciate everything you’re surrounded by because this is only your present… Imagine what the future will look like. Are you ready to discover the power of your mindset?

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