This popular phrase was made famous on the London Underground. If you use the Tube for your commute every day, you probably hear the words “Mind the Gap” many times each day, possibly every time your train stops at a station.
It’s a pretty simple phrase and we all know what it means — reminding passengers to watch out for the gap between the train and the platform on the Underground, which to be fair can be quite big sometimes.
The origins of “Mind the Gap” on the London Underground dates back to 1968. It came about all because it was discovered that an automated message made much more practical sense than station attendants and drivers having to warn passengers all the time.
If you have ever travelled on the London Underground you will undoubtedly have heard it.
There is another meaning for this phrase in my own dictionary and all because I am reading a book titled the Gap and the Gain, co-authored by Dan Sullivan and Dr Benjamin Hardy. It claims to be the High Achiever’s Guide to Happiness, Confidence and Success. I’m not 100% sure about that massive claim, but it has changed my thinking considerably.
I first eluded to this in my article a few weeks ago. https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/blog/2022/1/your-mind-is-conditioned-in-the-gap
So in this article I would like to go a little deeper into the concept of the Gap. Most of us live in the Gap and you will be able to trace this back to your childhood. During our childhood we had the Gap pointed out to us millions of times by our parents, our siblings, our teachers and society at large, so much so that you have believed all your shortcomings, shortcomings that someone else pointed out to you and eventually they conditioned you to accept those shortcomings as truth and that you probably were not really good enough.
Don’t get me wrong parenting and teaching are probably THE toughest jobs on the planet. Children don’t behave, after all they are children, but the whole adult-child things is the wrong way around. Children are creative, adults are not. Adults try to stick to the “rules”, children don’t understand the rules and certainly don’t want to follow them. Children can entertain themselves for hours with just their mind, adults need things and money to entertain themselves. Children’s creativity are pushed down, in order for them to learn the rules of the road, the road to misery, the road to unhappiness of unfulfillment and the road to a likely mid-life crisis.
Don’t take my word for it though, have a listen to the late Sir Ken Robinson in his Ted Talk of 2006, which has had 72 million views, “Do schools kill creativity?”. Sir Ken makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.
I’m sorry the Sir Ken is no longer with us, I wish he had become the educational minister of the world.
Another visionary is Sadhguru in India. He has established a few schools to change the education paradigm, this is what he says:
“Our social structures have created extremely complicated survival processes. A child’s ability to look at life with utter freshness and involvement is slowly disappearing. It is the duty and responsibility of our educational systems to bring that back. Education can never be a profession — it must be a passion. In the process of education, it is very important to see that the child does not lose his joyfulness, his spontaneity, or his ability to be truthful without any fear of consequence. At the Home School, we are striving to create the necessary platform where education is not about loading the child’s mind with information, but about making the child’s mind capable of razor sharp perception, capable of knowing life in its full depth and dimension. Education is about expanding the horizons of human experience and becoming inclusive. Only in a state of inclusiveness can the empowerment of education become a bounty all of us may cherish.”
All aspects of the school are designed to kindle the innate urge within every child to learn and know. The prime focus is not only on developing a child’s intellectual capacities, but also to provide opportunities to explore other dimensions of life.
More specifically, the aims of the Home School are:
- To provide children with an inspiring and loving atmosphere that is devoid of fear, ridicule, and comparison.
- To provide children with the opportunity to take up responsibility for themselves and others, in order to develop in them, a greater sense of commitment and enable them to contribute to the world in which they live.
- To allow a child to grow with an uncluttered intelligence so that she/he can perceive and experience life as it is, without distortion.
- To mould children into sensible, respectful, and vibrant human beings who have the necessary confidence, openness and willingness to question themselves and the world around them.
The school’s pedagogical methodology encompasses a myriad of direct and indirect processes to achieve the above.
Their Co-Curricular include physical disciplines, fine and performing arts, community service and a totally different approach to education. You can examine some of it via their website: https://ishahomeschool.org
Here the Gap is significantly narrowed if not even eliminated. How wonderful would it be if there were no Gaps in our lives, when we didn’t see the Gap in ourselves and in others, that our focus would be more on the Gain.
I lifted this paragraph from the Gap and the Gain book:
“Happiness is a byproduct of realising that you are the destination. You are enough and you have enough. You are worthy of love. Your viewpoints and judgments of your own experiences are infinitely more important that anyone else’s judgments of you and of your experiences.”
I will always remember this Phrase by the late Wayne Dyer, who I learnt a huge amount from:
“Your opinion of me is none of my business”.
There has been so much pressure on us in our lives to perform, to achieve, to succeed, to demonstrate our wealth, to acquire possessions, to be better than others, to show off our superiority, to attain awards all to satisfy our ego, our ego which has been trained to believe that we can only be good enough when we achieve success and wealth.
After all this is what we’re being shown every single day, whether it’s the media serving up stories to satisfy our fascination with celebrities, TV serials showing us how the wealthy live, billionaires travelling to space, social media feeds filled with false stories of achievements, celebrities showing off their wealth and I could go on, it’s all around us 24/7. The Gap is showing up every single second.
That conditioning is inside of us, we need to unhook our neurones from the Gap and instead examine the Gain.
The Gain is where we know without doubt that we have already achieved, we achieve every single day, we have millions of examples when we have achieved. Focus on what you have done right and you will witness more things that you have done or will do right. Squash the Gap, daily, reframe, reframe, reframe, don’t accept comments from others as truth, know yourself more.
Let’s examine a very simple example from my own life. I love Yoga, I have always loved it and today I am grateful to be able to attend a Yoga class twice per week with my wonderful wife.
We do a new routine every 4 weeks. The first time we do the new routine, it’s hard, we don’t know what we’re doing, we are faced with some impossible poses (asanas), it hurts, our limbs, muscles and brain don’t comprehend the new routine. We have a choice, we can feel deflated, frustrated, annoyed even at our inability to perform at our best. But as each week goes on, we get better at the new routine, by week 4 or 5, we know every single pose and we do our best to achieve it.
The Gap is when we feel we can’t do it. The Gain is when we know that we are doing Yoga and it’s of benefit to us, whether we can’t master the pose yet, we’re there and we’re trying. The Gain is when we know that in a few weeks time it gets easier, it always does, we will master it, we will surprise ourselves.
How is the Gap showing up in your daily life? Are you able to find the Gain instead? Can you find the Gain in most aspects of your life? How good does it feel when you are able to master that? No rush, start small, start by finding just one every single day or maybe once per week, it’s up to you. I assure you by finding the Gains, you will build a mental muscle that will grow exponentially and then you’ll be able to spot the Gains automatically and you won’t be able to see any Gaps any longer, because there are none, there are only Gains.
Let me know!