Courage, the Red Car, and the Pregnant Lady

A few years back, my wife and I bought a red Mazda Tribute. Suddenly, it seemed like there were red vehicles everywhere we looked.

The same thing happened when my wife got pregnant for the first time. We saw red cars everywhere! Just kidding. We began to see pregnant ladies everywhere!

I’m sure that many of you have experienced a similar phenomenon in your life. This experience has a name. It’s called “frequence illusion” or by it’s much cooler name, “The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon” or “Baader-Meinhof Complex.” You can read more about it here in this article on PSMAG.

In essence you have two things going on. First, your selective attention is on high alert. You’ve just purchased a new car or your wife is newly pregnant. Your awareness level to these things is greatly heightened.

Second, confirmation bias has come into play. You have bias towards these events or happenings in your life and every time you see a red car or a pregnant lady it confirms your bias that these events are happening more than they ever did before.

Courage, or the lack of it, has become a Baader-Meinhof experience for me over the last few years. Courage and fear are what I read about most, they’re what I write about most, they are always at the forefront of my mind.

I recognize fear or courage in myself, or in others, seemingly multiple times every day.

Let me share with you just a few examples from the last week.

  1. A manager I’m coaching afraid to confront inappropriate behavior or poor performance by an employee or employees.
  2. A young child afraid to go to a sports camp for a few hours for the very first time. She cries in her fear but courageously goes anyway and has a great time.
  3. A friend about, my age, needing to make some difficult decisions about aging parents but putting those decisions off until “the right time.”
  4. A group of siblings holding a piece of property, that was purchased by their parents and handed down to them, putting off having discussions of how to deal with differing opinions on what to do with said property. Some of the siblings want to keep it others want to sell it. Again, they are waiting for “the right time.”
  5. Being approached by one spouse about having a conversation with the other spouse about the need to speak up and stand up for what they want and to stop avoiding confrontation.

I could go on with several more but I think you get the point. For me, fear, or a lack of courage is a red car in my world. I’m sure that if you were as attuned to it as I am you would see it as well.

Living in fear is an uncomfortable place to be. Stepping out in courage is an uncomfortable place to be. Fear keeps you in that uncomfortable place. Courage allows you to move past that uncomfortable place.

Those difficult situations in life that we avoid rarely, if ever, get any smaller.

Are you aware of the fears in your life?

What price are you paying by not taking action?

Where do you need to be courageous today?

Joshua 1:9


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