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Did you ever overlook the obvious?

Car repair. I almost blew my lid, literaly. The roof latch mechanism on my convertible is giving me problems. It won’t stay latched. But I’m a smart guy, I can figure it out, it’s just a simple clamp. How difficult can it be?

Fortunately, the weather has been good, so I’ve driving with my top down. But the rain in southern Germany won’t stay away for long, so when I got home today I decided to fiddle with the mechanism. The right (broken) one seemed to work the same as the left one, and there were no screws on the mechanism to adjust or that were obviously loose. Hmmm.

Puzzled, I sat in the car with the roof closed and, for lack of anything else to do, I tried to wiggle each mechanism. The broken side had a barely noticeable wiggle, but the unbroken side was solid as a rock! I opened the roof and saw that the 3 big screws that fixed the good left-side mechanism to the roof were tight. Then I looked at the broken side and … there were only 2 screws! One screw was entirely missing.

Once I noticed the missing screw, the problem was obvious. I must have missed it because I was focused on the latch mechanism and not on how the latch was attached to the roof.

Another problem solved by dumb luck. This is a good example of what psychologists call mindset or framing.