I’ve been cogitating about another space. Not the one between stimulus and response, where we can choose that response and, in that choice, choose wisely or otherwise. There is another Gap, which must be important because I used a capital ‘G’.
The self-help (ugly term) industry is designed to help people close the Gap between ‘where they are and where they want to be’, as Jack Canfield trademarked it. This is the Gap of which I write.
In my latest rewrite The Three Resolutions, which I regularly review as my understanding of the contents improve as my experiences and studies dictate, I reminded myself of a time when I was providing personal development to police colleagues, and in one of my lectures I drew a diagram which illustrated the Gap. It looked a bit like this
and was also intended to show how some of us have a HUGE gap between where we are and where we (careful…..), some of us are lucky and have a smaller Gap to close.
And it struck me, counter-intuitively, that the larger that Gap the easier it was to make it smaller, whereas once the Gap narrowed to a sliver its closure was harder to achieve. Which meant I had to figure out why this was.
My conclusion was this: when we start out in that HUGE Gap, we believe we have a million things wrong about our lives that need correction. As time passes, we tick off the faults which are easy to correct, and each closure has a massive effect on our lives. But as we get ever closer to our ideal ‘self’ we start to address the harder challenges, the ones which cause us the most stress, the ones we avoided earlier but which are also, by their very nature, the biggest of our problems.
But here’s the kicker. Despite that remaining Gap and the challenges it represents, we have become better individuals through making the Gap that much smaller. But we tend to forget how far we’ve come. We get so focused on the last 10 yards we forget we’ve travelled miles and miles.
Now and then, I suggest, look at what you were and compare it to what you are.
Not just in terms of wealth and professional standing, but in terms of knowledge, relationships, freedom and some other immeasurables. Are you better than you were at 25? Are you better after closing some of the Gap? In which case, CONGRATULATE YOURSELF.
Then set about that last bit in the knowledge that you are more capable of closing it now than you ever were. Celebrate the fact that you even know that the Gap exists, because penny to a pound you didn’t recognise it when you were younger/less experienced/alone or skint.
Yes, there may be one or two challenges left, and they may be the hard ones, but what have you got now that reflects your progress?
In 1995 I was a sit-at-the-back, let it happen of guy. Now I always sit at the front, I can think and write at a level I would never have thought possible even in my 30s, I have pursued things rather than waited for them.
So I’m a bit broader in the beam than I ought to be.
My family loves me and I love them. I am financially secure. I can read, write, count and argue with people and yet happily lose an argument.
Yup. Today, I like me. Like yourself, see how far you’ve come. Then gird your loins for the next bit……