Always look at what you have left. Never look at what you have lost.

Always look at what you have left. Never look at what you have lost. – Robert Schuller

If the top scoop slips off, what are the odds he will focus on the scoop on the ground, at the risk of what is left in the cone?

If the top scoop slips off, what are the odds he will focus on the scoop on the ground, at the risk of what is left in the cone? You don’t want to learn that lesson twice!

What does that mean?
This quote is urging us to go against a basic force of human nature. If you drop one thing, what do you look at, the one you dropped, or all the things you didn’t drop?

Just like the kid with the three-scoop ice cream cone, when the top scoop slide off and hits the floor, what do they do? They look down. And they lean over a little bit, and the second scoop falls off.

Have you ever done that? It’s not a lesson you forget. But still, we tend to be like that child, staring at the lost ice cream scoop, at the risk of the remainder of our desert.

Why would we do that? I have no idea. But I’ve done that and seen it plenty of other people do the same thing. The quote urges us to avoid looking at our losses, but instead, to look at what remains.

This is a matter of focus. If you are looking for, and focused on, what has been lost, you will see nothing but loss. That’s not going to be good for your attitude or motivation, is it? Somehow, I doubt it.

Why is focus important?  
There is an old example of focus and the concept of mental exclusion., The example starts by asking you to look around you to find everything which is red. Red books. Red shoes. Red paintings. Red pencils or pens. A red car parked outside your window. Anything and everything red. When you think that you are ready, the question changes. What around you was blue?

Most people are completely baffled. While they were busy looking for red, their minds were deliberately excluding all the things which were not red. The same thing happens when we become focused on what we have lost. We can easily become fixated n what we have lost, what we do not have, or why we can no longer accomplish a task. That is not going to get it done, is it?

By focusing on what we do have, we can start working towards a solution, or at least start to come up with ideas. Consider the case of a cast-away, lost on a deserted island. If they focus on the fact that they don’t have a radio or a boat, they might not notice that they have a magnifying glass and plenty of dried out palm leaves for a signal fire.

By focusing on what you have, you have a better chance of getting a useful answer to your questions. And I believe that this is what the quote is all about. Focus on the task at hand, and what you have. You’ll never have everything you want or hope to have. Make do, and get busy.

Where can I apply this in my life?
How often do you find yourself in the situation where you have to move forward after a loss? At work, you might lose a key team member, but still have to meet a tight deadline. In a social group, you may find out that you still have to organize the party, but on half the budget you had initially expected.

Quick: what was your first thought on reading those two examples? Did you focus on what you lost, or what you might still have around? Even with the topic of the post known, how hard was it to avoid focusing on what you just lost? Join the club.

I don’t think it is worth the effort to try to change human nature and fight the urge to see what was taken away, what we lost. But if we recognize the phenomenon, we can train ourselves to look away as soon as we notice our initial reaction. Then we can direct our focus on what we have left with which to work.

Now what? You focus on achieving your goals, completing your task and doing it within your new constraints. It won’t be easy, but if you focus on how hard it is going to be, it certainly won’t get any easier, right? So focus on what you have, and start the brainstorm session to come up with new ideas.

Where are you presently focused on what you don’t have? What tasks or projects are you busy focusing on something other than what you do have, and what you can do to get the job done? That might be a real good place to start, wouldn’t it?

Pick something in your life and take a moment to consider what you are trying to achieve. Sometimes we get so focused on what we don’t have that we forget what we’re trying to accomplish. Now, consider what you do have, and how you can best use these things to get things started up again, and moving towards your goal.

It won’t be easy, but it can be done. If you focus on what you don’t have, you will soon lose hope. And that’s never good. You won’t get anywhere with that kind of attitude, right?

From: Twitter, @QuoteGym
confirmed at :
Photo by Michael Bentley


About philosiblog

I am a thinker, who is spending some time examining those short twitter quotes in greater detail on my blog.
This entry was posted in accomplishment, creativity, focus, goals, question, thinking and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Always look at what you have left. Never look at what you have lost.

  1. Brilliant post! (big smile) Thanks! Be blessed today. (smile) no boxes LOL

  2. Shared this on FB and Twitter (smile)

  3. Jason Kunen says:

    Very true. Thank you for your post.
    Loss is not only a very humbling experience, but it teaches us that we should not be psychologically dependent on things. If we learn a lesson from losing something, instead of focusing on what we have lost, perhaps we have in fact gained something in the process of loss?

    • philosiblog says:

      Excellent points. Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment.

      Please visit, as the site will not be posting any updates. Thanks, and see you at the other site!

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