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Scanning for the positive


Yesterday, my daughter reminded me of the value of re-training our brains to scan for what is positive – finding the good or meaningful in place of focusing on what’s wrong.


As high-achievers, we’re often trained to scan for the negatives.


→ We’ve been rewarded in our jobs for finding and solving problems.

→ We’ve protected our families by identifying and eliminating risk.

→ We’ve kept our world controlled and organized by eliminating chaos.


Over time, our brains can’t help but increasingly scan the world around us for problems to solve. Scanning, re-scanning, over and over. Over time, it’s the primary filter through which we start to see the world. And we become exhausted and demoralized in the process.


But it’s possible, with time, to re-train our brains to scan for the positive. For the good in the world around us. For the meaning in the midst of challenges.


My daughter reminded me of this yesterday when her summer camp was canceled at the last minute. She told me, “I know we’re disappointed, but the good thing about this is that we’ll get lots of time together.”


I hope she never stops scanning for what’s good in life, that she doesn’t fall into that oh-so-common trap of scanning to find the problem.


My regular gratitude practice has been critical in ever-so-slowly retraining my brain to scan for the positives. What most helps you remove yourself from the scanning-for-problem cycle?

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