Feb 28, 2020
In a previous episode, I talked
about a study on happiness which found that when asked if people
thought they would be happier if they were to suddenly be a
paraplegic or suddenly win the lottery, most everyone believes they
would be happier winning the lottery and significantly less so to
lose the use of their limbs.
In actuality, these two groups
of people – paraplegics and lottery winners, are essentially just
as happy as anyone else.
Why would this be and why would
people predict it incorrectly? It has everything to do with the
focusing illusion. When people only focus on one piece of a giant
puzzle that piece ends up with far too much weight. Losing the use
of your legs or winning the lottery is just one small piece of an
entire life. There are so many factors that play into happiness,
and while these pieces are significant and impactful in many ways,
they don’t tend to have an impact on overall happiness like we
think they would.
This episode is all about the
focusing effect and how these principles can be used in your
business and your life. I talk about focusing on that one thing and
making it incredibly clear to your target market. I also talk about
asking yourself what people should focus on when thinking about
your brand and what would motivate your ideal customer to take
- [04:44] A study about happiness that
illustrates the focusing illusion.
- [05:47] Kahneman did a test back in 1998 to
find out if Californians or Midwesterners were happier with their
- [06:24] If you said Californians, you would be
wrong. A focusing illusion bias puts more weight on things like
sunshine and a seemingly laid back lifestyle. People adapt to their
- [07:06] “Nothing in life is quite as important
as you think it is while you are thinking about it.” - Daniel
- [07:53] Focusing on something, not
surprisingly, puts a whole bunch of attention on it.
- [08:59] Think about decluttering and how you
would feel getting rid of something you might need. The focusing
illusion is combining with counterfactual and prefactual thinking
to maintain your status quo bias and keep you stuck.
- [09:54] When you are asked to think about how
happy someone would be or how angry something would make you or how
satisfied you are or would be…your brain will focus WAY too much on
a few key aspects and answer in a way that is just not in alignment
- [10:47] Social proof. People are more likely to
take action based on the thoughts and actions of others. They are
also likely to weigh a few key items as the most important
indicators of their happiness.
- [12:32] Our brains are split up into two
processing systems: the subconscious is super busy filtering
through 11 million bits of data per second, while the conscious can
only handle 40 bits per second. Your brain will sort through all of
the data to validate what you're focused on.
- [13:20] Anything you want to believe (or that
all important first impression) will be supported by the focusing
- [13:36] Another example by Kahneman
from Thinking, Fast and
Slow using the halo
- [15:25] Initial traits in a list changed the
very meaning of the traits that appear later. The sequence in which
we observe characteristics of a person is often determined by
chance. Sequence matters, however, because the Halo effect
increases the weight of 1st impressions.
- [16:40] When you are focusing on something, a
particular aspect, you build it up in your mind and it changes your
perception, expectation, experience, and memory of an
- [17:20] There's a high likelihood that you will
create bias in questions asked on surveys - hire an
- [18:08] Focusing on finding examples to back up
your brain’s earlier perceptions is confirmation bias.
- [19:17] It's good to take a step back and ask
yourself if your bias may be guiding your interactions.
- [19:48] I share the story that was inspiration
for this episode.
- [22:02] Live that truth and focus on that now.
Your brain will focus on what you want it to.
- [23:34] Think about your approach to a project
– what you focus on, the way you do things (or the way the company
- [24:31] The problem that is facing you may not
be as big of a deal as it seems – and something you aren’t even
aware of could create a much bigger impact if you took the time to
look for it.
- [25:36] A story about a detergent company
fixing an obvious pain point and communicating it in their
- [26:32] Find the one or two points of value and
talk about those…all the other features and benefits are
- [27:12] Focus on that one thing and make it
incredibly clear to your target market.
- [28:12] The mindstate guides the focusing
effect and what the subconscious is looking for. Narrowing your
messaging makes it more likely to resonate because it aligns with
the brain of your customer.
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