The Gap between Knowing and Doing
I know I must Be proactive. I know I must Begin with the End in Mind. I know First Things must be First. And I know of four other important habits that, applied, lead to an effective life. I have read ‘that book’ hundreds of times, I could probably get a cracking score if it was my specialist subject on Mastermind. But..
I lose my temper. I get wound up. I forget things because I haven’t planned, and I procrastinate more often than i like to admit. I don’t listen (I’m a man), I am non-considerate – by which I mean I’m not inconsiderate (deliberately uncaring) but I’ve never developed the empathy required to see when compassion or thoughtfulness is called for. I frequently find reasons not to exercise my body or my mind.
So there is a gap between what I know, and my ability to master its application.
Yet I can live with it. I can live with it for two reasons. First of all, the guy who organised those ideas wrote that he himself had trouble living in their accord with 100% consistency, and if he can fail, it’s reasonable to say that I can fail, too.
But the second reason is because it means when I do comply with those effectiveness habits, I can recognise and learn from that experience from a positive state, rather than from the personal perspective of guilty failure.
It would be true to say that I should’ve learned by now. I know from recent experience that compliance with one’s values and ‘productivity training’ that making the effort brings great emotional satisfaction, while allowing emotions to set the agenda does not. In other words, deciding to be proactive, values-driven, productive and contributive overcomes the emotions of ‘tired’, ‘bored’, ‘unmotivated’, etc.
It’s all in his book, and mine. Yet all too often, in the moment, the emotions mentioned above will still dictate our response – I say our, because we both know it isn’t just me. You feel unmotivated, bored, tired and utterly washed out yourself, on occasion. And at times like that it is easy to fall into the Gap between what you know you should be doing, and what you actually are doing.
Eventually, just like me, you recommit. And the only question to be asked is: Will I get it this time?
Yes, you’ll get it. You’ll get it the moment you lapse again.
But here’s the rub. Over time you fail less and less, and you learn more – and better. Your knowledge/behaviour Gap shrinks. Or it changes its nature and you discover new and better ways of behaving in keeping with your values system, which may require more effort but which bring ever greater rewards, and a renewed sense of higher self-esteem.
That, readers, is your Integrity Muscle being developed. And the more you exercise it to the point of failure, the stronger it gets.
Know what to do, do what you know. And when you fail, you know something new.
Onward, ever upward.
The rewards of your efforts will be spectacular.
For more on the field of principled self-improvement and development of a personal philosophy with which you can be come congruent, get The Three Resolutions at Amazon, HERE