June 30


What is Red Pencil About? Escape the Crushing Focus on “Wrong”

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What is red pencil about? When I heard about the Red Pencil Syndrome, I wondered about the terminology. I bet you did, too. We want to know what the heck it is, whether we have it, and how to eliminate it if it’s bad. As the Master Key Experience presenter talked about it in class, I started nodding in recognition. I bet you will, too.

What is Red Pencil About?

From the time we start school, we associate our teachers with red pencils, don’t we? Did your first grade teacher draw red lines to show you how to make your black lines straighter? Did you hate seeing red check marks or X’s when tests were returned? Did you beam with pride at a really good grade at the top of a page even if it was in red–especially when it had a plus after it?

So, red wasn’t all bad. That made it more confusing to understand what is red pencil about. Then came years of getting “compositions” back looking as though someone had bled all over them. Well, all that developed in us RED PENCIL SYNDROME: focusing mostly on what’s wrong with our performance rather than what’s right.

Our Teachers Had Red Pencil Syndrome

Unfortunately the RED PENCIL SYNDROME had become part of the educational system at some point–so our teachers got it as kids and then passed it on to us. I myself was a teacher for many years and it never EVER occurred to me to return a paper with green pencil marking all 90 plus per cent of the items that were right and good on a paper.

Yes, I wrote compliments… but I wrote them in red pencil as had my teachers for over 20+ years of my schooling. That RED PENCIL SYNDROME was there constantly to remind me that I was being judged. Red was the color of correction for my own good. Red was a reminder that I was far from perfect and that someone was noticing, calling it to my attention, and ranking me among my peers.

That’s what red pencil was about for me.

Becoming Aware of What Red Pencil Syndrome is Can Help

There’s more to the question – what is red pencil about. Even out of school we talk about someone’s bank account being “in the red,” and banks “red lining” neighborhoods. So we all have RED PENCIL SYNDROME, at least in the U.S. Realizing that and putting a name to it is the first step to eliminating it.

That’s what the Master Key Experience course is doing for me. In my daily “sits” I’m deepening my belief that I am the only one responsible for my life. The teachers I have attracted into my life were there for a reason and a season. They were guides suggesting approaches. The difference is now I know I am free to accept or reject their guidance!

My life is always green and growing and I certainly can use guidance to grow in the direction I intend, especially when I’m too close to the situation to be objective. But now I want guidance to be green and growing, too–to focus on the 90 plus per cent that is right and good and to encourage more of it.

what is red pencil about
Red can also represent growth and balance beautifully with green

Why? I’ve learned that one of the principles of life is “what we focus on expands.” Too much of my life I’ve focused on what’s wrong with me and my performance. What is red pencil about? It meant I felt “less-than” in face of all the glaring reds pointing that out day after day. I wrote in another blog about the FEAR I lived with most of my life as a result of being constantly criticized and how the Master Key Experience gave me the tools I needed to overcome it.

Now I’m focused on what’s right with me and my performance. My self-confidence is through the roof as I’ve surrounded myself with guides who help the green and growing parts of me. My zest for life is higher than it’s ever been because I’ve left the red pencil judges behind in favor of helping myself help myself. I love mind-mastery study, applying scientific techniques I’m learning through the MKE, and focusing on transforming into the Shirley who will achieve a huge Definite Major Purpose.

Red Transforms Itself into Another Kind of Impact

Imagine my delight, knowing all this, when I opened the Master Key Experience app which has a checklist of activities to accomplish over each day. No red anywhere! In fact the whole list is already filled in with GREEN check marks assuming we are living at our highest and best every day. Only if I don’t do one of the things do I remove a check mark. Yet that leaves all the GREEN of what I have accomplished for me to focus on and celebrate!

Not only that, but we are being encouraged to look for red circles everywhere in our lives, beginning the process of changing the association of red with judgment and less-than and RED PENCIL SYNDROME. Yes, there are red stop lights and red stop signs. But I’m noticing that FAR MORE red things are natural and full of life that is growing. So many of the red circles are fruits and berries on very green stalks, bushes, and trees!

Get the Key Free! Breakthrough too!

Through the Master Key Experience I finally have a MasterMind group that supports me powerfully as I remove the RED PENCIL SYNDROME from my life. They can answer the question Finally, by recognizing what is red pencil about, I’m able to create breakthroughs I’ve longed for.

So I understand if up till now you’ve not had a MasterMind and have been missing out. I skimmed life, too. If you’re ready to stop skimming and to start doing the deep work that creates breakthroughs in the context of a true MasterMind, I can help. I’ve been given the privilege of offering a very special free tool to help you start training your brain to think the right way.

The MKE course and its scholarships happen only once a year, starting the last Sunday of September. But you can get started today by clicking here while you wait: 7 DAY MENTAL DIET. (1) Put your name on the waiting list for the next MASTER KEY EXPERIENCE course. (2) When you’ve clicked to do that, the 7 DAY MENTAL DIET comes up. Download, print, read, and try it!

Once you sign up, the other guides and I will keep in touch by email, even sharing tips of what helped us to do the Diet. Sound good? You can opt out at any time. But why not check it out now?

You know what they say–if not now, when? If not you, who? No one can get the key to YOUR breakthroughs but YOU. No one can understand what is red pencil about for you, but YOU. No one can get through what’s locking that door but YOU–it’s a YOU-shaped key. No one can make it work except YOU. I wish you a powerful MasterMind in your future and NO MORE RED PENCIL SYNDROME. And all the best!

Read more articles by Shirley Koritnik

About the author

I'm always curious and "detective-y." Since 1993 I've used thoughtmanship and products from my brand partner to sleuth out ways high performing business professionals like me can uniquely strengthen their own mind-body connection. A former teaching and broadcasting nun, I'm prepping my next classroom--an international Detective of Magic radio show about the authentic magic we perfect in MKE. I became an MKE Guide to help others dramatically improve their lives as I have after decades of searching.

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  • Thanks for your insight on the red-pencil syndrome. I appreciate your insights. I love it. Thanks for reading it to all of us as well. Really appreciate that very much.

  • This blog is so important!
    It may be a huge breakthrough for so many people to read and digest this. Thanks Shirley.

  • Wow surely this is such a cool insight! You express so well that disempowering feeling of defeatism and Icannevergetitrightism.
    AND, that said, I am impelled to stand up for the red pencil (of course).
    For me it’s not just about school, but my entire professional life as an architect.
    I think it helps to be literal for a moment. We use red pencils (stylii, digital pencils, text in BlueBeam) to quickly draw attention to what is important.
    And to me, it’s just INFORMATION that I don’t want to miss. It means that someone took the time to really see what I created. And the markups/edits are possibilities to make it better. And the red marks agreeing with something I did are again, just information and feedback. Not better or worse than the changes.
    I acknowledge that I have been the red markER rather than the red markEE for decades. And my red marks now mostly come to me in different ways. But I welcome them, because they indicate that I am seen.
    So sure, make your marks in green. But be sure they can actually be seen easily, because your feedback is important!

  • What an eye-opening recognition of how negativity sinks in all around us. Thanks for this share, Shirley. Very powerful!

  • I know this feeling of “X” on most my papers as a child….till this day I share with many when making a list instead of crossing the list off give it a tick , circle or both.

    If correcting papers circle the positive feedback rather than giving it a “X”..

    For the past 12 years I’ll read books and immediately all the negative words disappear…Does that happen to you? Do share this great way our minds can only see positive words on the pages….and so much more!

  • What a beautiful blog, Shirley, helping people understand that they can choose to focus on the positive rather than the negative. Old habits can be hard to break; in fact, they need to be replaced with healthy habits. The MKE is the best way I know to get that done.

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