mind the gap

There’s distance between stimulus and response. Often that distance is zero.

Often I go straight to the response, without realizing what I am responding to, without realizing that I am, in fact, responding.

It’s not a problem, as long as the response is the correct one. 

But what if it’s not? Then it’s time to pause. The pause is the distance, the distance is the gap.

The gap creates space to step away from the stimulus and to understand why that stimulus is even there. And then, to generate a more thoughtful response.

Pausing is chaotic. It unleashes restrained thoughts, letting them flow freely. The more thoughts have been squeezed and tucked away, the more overwhelming the pausing experience is. That’s why it can be so afraid to pause.

Pausing feels wasteful. In a culture that loves nonstop speed, pausing isn’t promoted or welcomed. Pausing makes manipulation harder and manipulation drives money. 

But pausing frequently is necessary. 
First, to clear accumulated information. 
Second, to continuously practice the act of pausing itself. 

So that at the time of stress, at the time when I encounter an unpleasant or unfamiliar stimulus, I have a way out. A way to recognize the stimulus, to create a gap, to process and only then, to respond. 

Go further…