Before he passed, my grandfather used to teach me many things – about sports, about nature, about gardening, and about life. He was a very learned man who at one point read every volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica from cover to cover just to learn.

I remember much from our conversations – though truthfully, he was often doing most of the talking as I’d just try to absorb what he was teaching me.

One of the things he said again and again is, “what you focus on expands.” He said it often, in many different ways. But the core message was always the same – whatever you think is – is.

Now I’ve seen this hold true in just about every instance in my life. If I thought something was a certain way, it would almost always show itself to be that way. Just think about how many times you’ve miscommunicated with someone because you were focused on one perspective while they were focused on another.

How you think about your business is no different. What you focus on in your business is what will expand. It’s what you believe that you’ll put effort into. Hence, where you put your focus is where you’ll put your energy which is where you’re business will evolve from. Think that you can’t get the clients you really want, and it’ll be pretty difficult too. Think that no one wants your service and you’ll become prophetic by putting your efforts into proving yourself right. That’s just human nature.

But moreover, it’s what your brain does. Your brain sees the world, sees your business, through the filters of your beliefs. How you think your business is, is what you’re business is – or what it will become. The interesting thing is seeing how easy it is to trick your brain. Just watch:

Pretty incredible, huh? See how easy it is to trick your brain?

Now consider how your your brain, your throughts, your beliefs are affecting your business. How is what you believe affecting your bottom line? Are you limiting the growth, the potential, of your business because of something you perceive about it?

Would you consider seeing it differently?

Let’s talk about it.

(note: both images from skippy13 on Flickr, some rights reserved)

Reader Interactions


  1. Brian Sommers says

    Your thoughts are really interesting. As I have understood you have a psychological point of view on business. I consider it to be a step forward, because not every person is to courageous to bring some novelties in this field of activity.

  2. Ramana Rajgopaul says

    Seeing is believing! While it is indeed easy to trick the brain into seeing something that is not really there, eventually, the brain does figure out what it needs to, just to stay in the game. In fact, that is how all inventions and innovations take place. Someone not willing to accept what is perceived to be real. It is like a dog chewing a bone. You stay with the problem till you have solved the problem. The problem is that the dog while chewing an old buried bone
    thinks that it is tasting blood, whereas it is really tasting its own blood. It has to find fresh food to take its obsession with the illusion away.

  3. Julian Sutter says

    I can attest to the comment about, what you focus on is what will expand.

    Our company has expanded there Search Engine Marketing services for clients a lot, a large part due to my passion for it. Because I put the most effort into it, that is what grows.

  4. Dawud Miracle says

    Interesting view. I’ve always considered business and what motivates people in business and have used everything I’ve learned from my past – psychology, spirituality, business skills, marketing, and on…

    I’d love to know what you see as being unique about what you’re seeing here?

    Certainly. I just think it’s important to use everything you can to understand how and why people do what they do.

    I’m played with Plurk a bit but haven’t really gotten into it yet. Maybe once someone comes up with a desktop client. My Tweeting changed dramatically with a good desktop client.

    Yeah…love your response. Just the kind of bone I like to chew on.

    Sometimes it’s easier to see what we want to see in our business than what really is. I have clients all the time who tell me one thing about their business and then when I start to learn about what they’re doing it’s very different. They’re not wrong, of course, it’s just that they see things from a single perspective. I’m just reminding them (and myself) to consider looking differently.


    And yet, I’d don’t think I’d be guessing when I say that your SEO company has areas it could grow in – business it could develop – that you may have no idea about. Even changing how you price and bill clients can increase revenue as much as 50% without doing more work.

  5. Chadwyck says

    Viewing our lives, relationships, and businesses from different angles is always important. You think of novel ways to tackle an issue and if you realize you’re in a sinking ship you can bail out.

    I could have stared at that box for 2 hours without realizing it wasn’t a box at all. Challenges and even success, viewed from a different angle, can yield surprising revelations.

  6. Colleen Kulikowski says

    Thanks for sharing this..

    A good friend of mine and I have had many conversations on this topic. In the process I have been changing how I look at how I have been running my business and focused on being better, stronger and more confident. In doing so, my business is starting to take off. A simple shift in my thinking is affecting my business in a very positive way!

  7. DaveMurr says

    Though I don’t think it was your intention, you are hitting on a topic very close to me. The brain does want to work a certain way and when you think we only use 5% of our brain, it is no wonder illusions get the best of us.

    To your point – what you believe is what you see. Take this one step further, you could say, what you believe is what you achieve. This is the foundation of creative visualization.

    I don’t want to spin this into a completely different conversation but if thoughts become things, then you can easily adapt this practice to your business.

  8. membership site script says

    This is a great thought. I love the video, amazing how they could trick our brains..great post there. It really open my mind.

  9. Cookie Diet says

    Amazing isn’t it ? And scary, in a way. Our brain, the vessel of our soul so to speak can be so easily manipulated and deceived… It’s scary until you realize you can manipulate it in your favor 😉 Thanks for the article.

  10. Hendry Lee says

    When I got started online, I was underestimating the power of niche marketing. Even a small and obscure niche could be very profitable online.

    Instead of jumping from one niche to another, I now try to drill deep instead. It is amazing how many marketers are working on the small business owners niche, but yet no one can possibly dominate it.

    Great post. Stumbled.

  11. Orlando Real Estate Girl says

    Interesting how we are designed to automatically make assumptions based on our own experiences.

    Stepping out of our own boxes and stretching our imagination and pushing our own boundaries is something far more difficult than we think.

    Great post.

  12. Dawud Miracle says

    They can. Yet don’t you think the important thing here is to be willing to look? Be willing to learn and change? Otherwise, how do you see the box differently?

    So how would that apply to your business?

    So true. We can take different paths to how it works, but what you focus on is what will likely come to pass.

    Try this…walk in a direction looking straight-ahead as you usually would. Now turn your head to the right and continue walking on the straight way you had previous. Do this for 30 steps and tell me what happens.

    Exactly. Where you put your attention is where you’ll have the greatest affect.

    What’s one thing that’s changing in your business based on having this new perspective?

    Thanks. Any further thoughts?

    How will this change the way you think about your business?

    How has your beliefs affected your business?

    It is amazing. Yet if you nail your niche, it’s likely everything you need. Wouldn’t you agree?

    It’s so easy to get ‘stuck’ in our ideas of how things work. Yet things are changing all the time. So it’s easy, and odd, at the same time. If things are changing, so are we. But do we really honor, or even experience, own changes in perception?

    Even more important, do we act on them?

  13. Kelly @ Pass the Torch says

    Last month I saw that sculpture in your first picture. It’s truly awesome – my whole family was mesmerized by it. And it’s an excellent illustration of perspective.

  14. Nate Nead says

    This reminds me of two things: first, the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill and second the Bible verse which states, “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” So much can be said of the state of mind. It’s much more powerful than I think we put it out to be.

  15. Shari Voigt says

    Very interesting presentation. Thank you! I agree that how we think about something directly affects its outcome. Taking this one step deeper, it becomes an issue of thinking about what you’re thinking about. As you said, what you focus about in your business will expand. Thankfully, we all have within us the power/capability to change our focus and improve our lives and businesses.

  16. Tommy says

    It is amazing how optical illusions work. It is always best to think positively, because thinking negatively can only end badly, so why not think positively and have a higher chance of success!

  17. Laura Spencer says

    This makes a lot of sense.

    In fact, the post reminds me of a similar principle I learned when my Dad was teaching me to drive – if you watch something along the side of the road you’ll start heading towards it.

  18. Dawud Miracle says

    So you know I have to ask… what’s one thought you have about your business that you can prove is an illusion?

    Without getting into how we’re inspired to create or who creates through us, our minds are the fertile ground for creating. Just look around, so many amazing things we have today because of minds looking at problems from different perspectives.


    Thinking positively sure does help, I believe. Yet can you just think away your business problems or is something more needed?

    True. Yet thinking is only the first and second step. The creation step happens through action. So after we think we should ask – what are we going to ‘do!”?

    Exactly. And hence, you’ll crash. Same with your business. If you spend your time on the periphery, you’ll end up there – crashed.

    Oh do I have some posts on that concept – including on marketing, negotiating terms, pricing and sales. Thanks for reminding me.

    It’s not that you can’t trust your brain. But rather to be successful as a business owner, you need to push past it’s perceptions to see things with different eyes.

  19. Bill Austin says

    My brain has been telling me that lots of new business would be appearing soon if we just kept working the plan. My wife kept saying “Why aren’t you worried?”

    “What good does that do?” I asked.

    The work is flowing in again and if we get two more decent sized jobs we will be back in hiring mode.

  20. How to do anything says

    That Guy Jerry Andress is too much. I really see your point though. In essence your business will grow only to the extent your brain visualizes it.

  21. Data Entry says

    I’m pretty obsessive so I know that if I get on something – my brain takes off. Right now I’m on SEO – driving myself crazy! Thanks for your thoughts.

  22. Heating Buffalo NY says

    No doubt: you are spot on when you say that what is focused on will grow most. I couldn’t agree more with that. And conversely, what you ignore is destined to fail.

  23. Data entry says

    I focus my job what i am doing, it is most important thing which is keep on surrounding in my brain. Thanks for you’r for this blog.

  24. Data Processing Services says

    I agree with the thoughts that your business will grow only to the extent your visualization.

  25. Criminal Justice Degree says

    I love learning for the sake of pursuing knowledge, and I really admire your grandfather’s ambition. I find that my perspective skews conversations frequently and it’s important to keep an open mind. I always appreciate a second opinion on my ideas because I know someone else will see things differently.

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