You Get What You Focus On

Rob Parnell
3 min readApr 19, 2024

It’s easy to feel negative.

The media is always telling us we’re on the brink of economic collapse — or war — or the AI invasion — that it’s only a matter of days before the biggest slump since last crash and this one will take away the value of our property, our savings, and our livelihoods.

Many would-be writers are tightening their belts, ignoring the call to write in favor of the day job. They’re giving up their dreams in droves, convinced that it’s all too hard…

Uh, did I miss something?

Doesn’t anyone remember basic economics from school?

I thought it was well-known that economic activity goes in seven-year cycles — apparently something to do with the sun — and that boom and bust years are natural and inevitable.

Smart stock market people know there’s never a bad time for investors — there’s just alternate opportunities. While some stocks slide, others climb.

When the market is overpriced, it adjusts itself by devaluing. When stocks and interest rates are high, people stop buying. When stocks are cheap, new investors snap them up and the investment picks the market back up again. This is how it works. The world economies have been surviving like this for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

Except now computers already control the stock markets and make many of these adjustments automatically. It’s called progress.

So why is it that now, today, things are supposed to be so much worse?

Could it possibly be because we’re collectively making it that way?

That by tightening our belts we’re actually starving the economy of the investment it needs?

Maybe you think I’m naive — but I did study Economics! And one thing I learned well is that much of the stock market is driven by good old human fallibility — and perception.

What the market focuses on is what it gets. Boom and collapse become self-fulfilling prophecies — every time — because, as humans, we believe that’s how it should work.

Prosperity and hardship, security and scarcity are all illusions. They are not real concrete things — they are merely ‘feelings’ you have about yourself and people, the world around you.

Real success and genuine happiness have got nothing to do with money.

You either feel good about yourself, your situation, your world, or you don’t. Prosperity comes from within.

Do you have less chance of being a professional writer now than you did last year?

Of course not.

If anything you have a better chance — because so many other writers are throwing in the towel!

Don’t you be one of them.

Stick with it. Be positive. Fight back. Come up with new angles. Write more, submit more, publish more, be the exception.

Often, to make progress, we just need to change the way we think — and remove our own negativity when all around us are in train wreck mode.

If you really believe we’re heading for a crash or a war or a robot invasion (to continue the metaphor), get off the train. Go for a walk in the sunshine. Move towards your goal feeling light. Remind yourself that when you believe in yourself and your talent and capabilities, things always work out for the better.

It’s self-doubt and lack of motivation that will kill your ambitions every time.

I’m convinced that if we all got together and decided the crash/war/invasion wasn’t going to happen and even if it did, so what — the apparent looming crises would all dissolve, as if by magic, overnight.

Don’t buy into the doom and gloom.

It’s not real.

And if it’s not real, surely it can’t hurt you.

Be happy, be grateful for what you have, make big plans and move into the future with confidence.

You have a duty to believe in your dreams, and take action consistently.

To quote the old 80s pop song: “The Only Way is Up!”

Keep Writing!

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Rob Parnell

Bestselling Author and Owner of Rob Parnell’s Writing Academy