When you board the underground train at Heathrow airport in London, a disembodied voice warns you to “mind the gap” (between the platform and the train car). “The gap” is a tripping hazard.
It turns out that often when we cross a threshold there is a gap: between the world we are more-or-less settled in and the world that awaits us. As the distance between where we are and where we want to go increases, the gap can become more of a tripping hazard, and may require more of our attention to navigate it successfully.
The gap you’re standing in front of makes no judgements. It holds no insight for you about you, where you are now, or your destination. The gap is a datum point. “Minding” the gap is another way of saying “respect the data.”
The way we mind the gap is the story we tell about where we are, where we want go, why, how, and the potential hazards between here and there. When we tell ourselves a story long enough, it feels more like fact than interpretation. It’s not.
If the gap exists, it’s worth taking that fact into consideration before you make your move. How you do that – the stories you tell yourself – is probably a bigger tripping hazard than the gap itself.
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