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Deficit Mindset and Red Car Syndrome



Have you ever noticed how we are all looking to fix something about our lives? We all want to be more successful, happier, thinner, more fulfilled, and the way we chase these goals is through figuring what is wrong first.

Like physicians, we all believe that there is some disease that first needs to be cured for our lives to improve. We approach our goals by focusing on what is going wrong and trying to make that thing stop.


We believe once we fix the thing that is wrong, everything will be much better.


But what if this is not the most efficient way to improve our lives?


Let me tell you about the “Red Car Syndrome”. Essentially this is the idea that once you buy a certain type of car you start to see that car everyone.


It applies to everything, and the reason it happens is that the reticular activating system within the neocortex of our brain helps us to filter important information and impacts what we focus on. It increases our awareness of certain things just because our brains are primed to find examples of them.

So how does this apply to fixing our problems?


Well, the issue is that we think that something is wrong in the first place. If we think that we are stressed we are going to find evidence and examples of this stress.


I’m not saying that stress is not real, it very much is. But what I’m saying is that in focusing on the problem (stress) we might be making the solution harder than it needs to be.

Instead of trying to get less stress in life, what if we focused on getting more of the things that make us feel joy?

Then our brains would start looking for the things in life that bring us joy. Looking for opportunities and examples of these instances and trying to make them happen more frequently.

So as you start your week. I want you to ask yourself:


What is going right and how can I get more of it?


Because expanding the things that we know are working is much more effective than trying to figure out a way to stop the things that aren’t.


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