Based on Philippians 4:8 in the New Testament, the 4:8 Principle states that wherever you focus your attention becomes a bigger part of your experience. This means that the content of your thought life influences your emotional life. The preceding sentence is an understatement. Your devotions most definitely produce your emotions.
Consider what happens in a theater or stadium when a spotlight is turned on. Your awareness shifts to the object underneath the light. As you give attention to the highlighted performance, you cease paying attention to what is left in the dark. When our kids were younger, we took them to the circus several times and witnessed this scenario firsthand.
As the spotlight was aimed at one or two of the three rings, the “unused ring” was left in complete darkness. We had to strain a bit, but as we looked closely at the unlit ring, we could see the stage crew, dressed in black, making preparation for the next stunt.
Like the circus production, you will always have some degree of darkness in your life, but you can choose where you focus your spotlight. Maybe “darkness” is a bit melodramatic, maybe not. Nevertheless, remember, whatever is not under your light has far less significance…And you always control the direction of the spotlight.
This is the essence of the 4:8 Principle: If you dwell on your strengths, your blessings, your goals, and all the people who love you, then you will notice even more blessings, even more love, and even more accomplishments. You will find yourself with joy and with peace. And in this state of mind, everything in life is better. The good times are even more awesome and the tough times aren’t quite so bad.
Reflexively, we will tend to dwell on either what we fear or what most excites us. In the absence of a clear, compelling vision, you and I are more likely to defensively descend into fear thinking and away from 4:8 Thinking. But this is a choice, even if an unconscious one.
You can build any virtue into your mentality by dwelling on that virtue every single day. For example, if you intend to develop patience, meditate on patience each day and visualize your patient responses to the upcoming situations you will encounter.
Take control of your spotlight. Spend very little time thinking about what you don’t want…invest lots of time dwelling on what you definitely do want. Pay attention to your mindset like your success and happiness depends on it because it does.
How should you adjust your aim?