There are times when we automatically respond to a given situation, without thinking and you have to mind the gap, that lays ahead of you. Sometimes, our reactions are fair, sometimes are not, and usually, we regret about them. These exactly are the times we have to “mind the gap“.
Why Have We To Mind the Gap?
“Mind the gap“. Odd phrase, don’t you think?
“What gap is there?“, “what lies between stimuli and a response?“, “don’t we all react to some things, without thinking?“, “I mean, is not normal?“, you might wonder.
I believe, that those are some thoughts that came to your mind, as you read the above sentences. And the answer is yes it is normal, and not it is not so normal. And this duality of a “normal” situation, calls for a more close attention.
As humans, we have been developed to make some things automatically, leaving our mind for more important thoughts. Things, like breathing, moving, etc. A part of developing any given skill is and our ability to master it, at a level of unconscious competence. But this is for skills.
Reactions, on the other hand, cover a much broader spectrum of situations. Imagine, for instance, that you have trained in martial arts, and you react in a quarrel, without thinking, in the way you have trained. Can you imagine the consequences !!!
The key phrase here is “without thinking“. Some situation requires autonomous responses, but not all. Between stimuli and response, there is always time to choose your reaction, in a way appropriate for the given situation. In that gap is hiding the essence of martial arts as well as of personal development, for everyone.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Mind the Gap Management!
The point is to learn to manage, exactly that space, in any given situation. This can be done by:
- Acknowledging the existence of that space or gap between stimuli and response
- Developing the habit to be aware of the appropriate response in each situation
- Abandoning old autonomous responses, that are not any more of use or not desirable.
- Recognizing that in any given situation, you have options
- Learning to manage space, choosing more creative and solution-oriented responses for you as well as for the other person(s).
This approach, if chosen to be followed, would empower our actions and our responses towards any given environment and eventually would make better persons. The “mind the gap” approach would teach us to be responsible for our actions, to take ownership of our reactions and to know that we have always a choice.
Eventually will teach us the difference between being a reactive person and a proactive one, in every situation we may face. And for that would support us in building a better character.
So, what person you want to be? Reactive or Proactive? And how you would use that knowledge? Do you believe the next time you would mind the gap?
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey
- The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, by Stephen R. Covey
- What Is Between Stimulus And Response?, by Voranc Kutnik
- The Space Between Stimulus and Response, by Dr. Ben Kim
- One Key to Change: The Space Between Stimulus and Response, by Susan DeGenring
- The space between stimulus and response, by Neil Denny