Are You Living in ‘The Gap’?

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The GapHow much is enough?

That’s a question many people never answer.

How would you answer?

For most people the answer is very simple, “A little more…”  In fact, when John D. Rockefeller was asked that very question his answer was, “Just a little bit more.”

What an indictment.   Let me explain…

When we do not answer the question of how much is enough, nothing is ever enough.  Nothing is good enough.  I am not talking about setting a ceiling for growth for your business, but how much is enough for you personally.  How much do you need to be content, satisfied and at peace?  If you end up with more than that, great – that’s a bonus!

If we do not determine how much is enough we are always chasing something we never apprehend.  We don’t get any closer no matter how hard we work, how hard we try.  Basically, we end up chasing the horizon.  When you chase the horizon you never get any closer.  No matter how far you travel you don’t get any closer to your destination, because you don’t really have a destination.

That is a recipe for a discontented, dissatisfied life.

Chasing the horizon, not determining how much is enough, is called living in ‘The Gap’.  The Gap is that never-never land between what is, and what isn’t.  The Gap is awash with discontentment and dissatisfaction because what you have is not enough, and you never accomplish what is enough because it remains undefined.  Always pursing, never apprehending.   No matter how much you acquire or accomplish it’s not enough.

The Gap is a terrible place to live.

The Gap is also a terrible place from which to lead, because not only are you unable to define what is enough for you, but you are also unable to define it for those you lead.  Nothing they do is ever good enough because it can always be a little bit better.  That kind of leadership is a breeding ground for cynicism and hopelessness.  The people being led become disillusioned and cynical, and that leads to an ineffective and inefficient workforce.

I spoke with a successful business leader recently who told me how in his younger years he was always chasing the bigger deal – “more” was his battle cry.  He accumulated more and more stuff in an attempt to somehow prove himself, to be a success.  He discovered that oftentimes we don’t end up owning our stuff, our stuff owns us.  And, what we think our stuff will bring us never comes.

C.S. Lewis once said, “When you reach the thing you were desiring, if it doesn’t satisfy you, it was not what you were desiring.”

This leader has now begun to find satisfaction by determining how much is enough for him, to live in gratitude for what he has, and to determine what he really wants.  Does he want ‘more’, or does he want quality time with those he cares about?  Does he want more stuff, or does he want to share life with people who care about him?

Remember the song “Satisfaction”?

“I can’t get no satisfaction. I can’t get no satisfaction.  ‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try.  I can’t get no, I can’t get no…When I’m drivin’ in my car and that man comes on the radio and he’s tellin’ me more and more…I can’t get no…Hey, hey, hey – that’s what I say.”

That’s living in The Gap.  That’s where you end up when you don’t determine how much is enough.  That’s where you end up when you don’t live with an attitude of gratitude for what you already have.

There are two keys to get you out of The Gap:  1. Determine how much is enough for you.  2. Be grateful for what you have.

And, if you really want to go deep, take some time to be honest with yourself about what you really want.  Do you really want that new car to make you feel important, or do you want to know deep down that you have value, worth and significance?

So, are you living in The Gap?  Now you know how to get out…

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Leading and Living on Purpose.