Mind the Gap

Some time ago I decided to take some driving lessons again because I hadn’t driven in years and I remembered enjoying driving very much; that, along with the desire to be more independent and conquer another one of my fears, made me decide that I wanted to get to a place where I could drive again. During the lessons I had, there was something that my instructor said that really struck a chord within me.

One of the issues that I had was that I found it hard to gauge the space between the moving cars and the parked cars when the street was quite narrow, and I was scared of hitting either of them, and my instructor reminded me to “look at the gap” between the cars and not at the cars, because if I focused my attention on the cars, on the obstacles, those are the ones that I would have hit. And I thought to myself, what a good metaphor for life in general that is!

How many times, when we have a destination to reach, metaphorically speaking, which might be like looking for a new job, starting a new venture, developing new positive habits, make a change in our life-style or health regime, how many times we look at what might come in-between us and that goal, at all the reasons why it could not work, at all the obstacles we might hit while we reach that destination, all the excuses and the stories we tell ourselves, instead of looking at the free space that connects us to that point in the future.

What is it within you that pulls you towards the obstacle rather than the gap where you have all the space to take action and find new opportunities? What are the motives of the excuses that you create to justify to yourself that you will never get there? What can help you to just focus on the possibilities ahead of you and make a detailed plan and follow through with it? How can you open up that space within yourself to start looking at the steps that will move you closer to where you want to be headed to rather than the boulders in-between?

I’d like to suggest a little piece of homework for the week to come.

Take some time, even as little as 20 minutes or part of your lunch break, to think about one thing that you are procrastinating on, and this time, ban all the thoughts about the bumps you might find on the road, and just imagine that those bumps were never there, or, if you still see them, I want you close your eyes and picture them fading away like moving clouds in the sky disappearing from your horizon. Now, focus all your attention on that gap between the cars, all that free space where you can think about all the small steps you can take, all the possibilities you hadn’t thought about, even the craziest ones, just open your imagination and you will start seeing them. Once you have done that, write them down, decide on a date, and draft your plan of action.

We get what we focus on and if we start practising focusing on that space instead, in time, that’s all we are going to see.

Artwork by Joe Hole

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