Reduce the Anguish Gap Between Actual Self and Potential Self
In London’s train stations there are loud repeating voice announcements, “Mind the Gap” that is to remind commuters to be aware of the hazard gap between the train and the platform. I often think of that saying and its many applications to my life.
We all have a gap between our Actual Self and our Potential Self. And in that gap lies our anguish: stress, depression, anger, regret. The wider the gap, the more pain we experience. Our potential self is what the Greek word arete means: living our moment to moment lives, hard working with virtue,courage, compassion, etc.
Our actual self may, at times, feel disconnected from arete. We are aware that we are not at our best, not virtuous, not who we strive to be. And that awareness of the gap between these two selves is where our negative emotions live. However, that awareness is also good news because it’s the first step to change and improvement.
Once you become aware, you can next formulate a strategy to close the gap. You can do this yourself or have someone like a coach, a friend, a family member, a therapist help you formulate your strategy. With your strategy, as we said last week, get relentless in your pursuit. Closing the gap between your actual self and your potential self will be a source of happiness. Even during the step by step process of closing the gap will relieve a lot of anguish.
For example, recent studies using an MRI on the brain found that when people thought about a project that they were procrastinating on their pain centers in the brain lit up. However, as soon as they started to work on the project those pain centers went to neutral. This week, I’m going to mind the gap.