Editor’s note: This month’s column is an excerpt from the author’s new bestseller, Don’t Get Lucky-Get Smart.
After dating Chuck for too long, Sara decided she had had it with men who couldn’t be fully present. After their final frustrating date, Sara vowed to herself, "I refuse to see unavailable men anymore."
A few months later Sara was shopping in a mall with her son. Suddenly the boy tugged on her sleeve and asked, "Mom, why aren’t you talking to Chuck?"
Surprised, Sara asked the boy, "What are you talking about?"
"Chuck has been standing right next to you talking to you for a couple of minutes," the boy explained, "and you have been ignoring him."
Sara shifted her gaze and, sure enough, Chuck stood just a few feet from her. During the entire time he had been trying to get her attention, she hadn’t even seen him.
Sara was not ignoring Chuck; she simply did not notice him. When Sara refused to see unavailable men anymore, she wasn’t kidding. Without even trying, Sara had screened Chuck-and men like him-out of her field of vision. We all see what we want to see, and do not see what we do not want to see.
Your intentions and expectations are like electromagnets that draw people and events into your experience. Everyone else will not show up on your radar screen. This is why you keep meeting certain kinds of people, and you will never meet others. If you want to change the kind of people you meet (or increase the likelihood of meeting the kind you like), the place to start is right where everything else in your life starts: your head.
You cannot have your mental and emotional radio dial set on WBUMMER and receive shows on WAWESOME. If your needle is stuck on the dial, you could have a different date every night for a year, and you would just keep meeting the same ol’, same ol’. If you are tired of the same playlist and wish to reset your tuner, here’s how to do it:
Keep complaining about the dates and relationships that haven’t worked.
Explain to new dating partners why your marriage(s) failed.
Label and refer to yourself as having a particular dysfunction.
Find people to agree with you about your predicament and complaints.
Keep arguing with people you don’t get along with.
Indulge in movies, TV shows, novels, and tabloids glamorizing painful or disastrous dates and relationships.
Enter social situations where most people do not match your interests or goals.
Participate in groups that keep beating a victim drum.
Indulge in mental chatter that demeans yourself or your present or past partner.
Think and talk about your ideal partner and relationship.
Give yourself the benefit of the doubt when assessing the path you have taken that has brought you to where you now stand.
Thank your dates and partners for the positive gifts they have bestowed upon you.
Make a "treasure map" of your desired situation by pasting photos and headlines on a poster board you will see often in your home.
Spend a few minutes each day visualizing a mental movie of your perfect relationship, to the point that you get the feeling of having it.
Be selective about movies and books that focus on positive outcomes.
Participate in groups, meetings, and social occasions where people are aligned with your interests and positive outcomes.
Talk to new dates about your positive dreams, goals, and visions.
Who ends up with a great relationship and who keeps missing the boat are no accidents; the process is as scientific as water boiling at a certain temperature and freezing at another. While your dates and relationships may seem random, chaotic or uncontrollable, you have a huge say in how your dates, relationships and life turn out. You may be just steps away from connecting with someone who matches you in extraordinary ways. A small tweak on your mental tuner can open you to a world you thought was unavailable. Who knows? The person you seek may be standing just a few feet from you, and you needed just a small tug on your sleeve to look up and see him or her.