Medium 9781626566620

The 3 Gaps

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For a Better Life, Close the Gaps!

We all want to make a difference. But just as you need to put on your own oxygen mask before helping other passengers on an airplane, getting your own life together is the first step to making a positive impact in the world. Franklin Covey cofounder Hyrum Smith shows that what stops us are gaps between where we are and where we want to be. The first is the Beliefs Gap, between what we believe to be true and what is actually true. The second is the Values Gap, between what we value most in life and what we actually spend our life doing. The third is the Time Gap, between what we plan to do each day and what we actually get done.

Smith offers a practical blueprint that we all can use to recognize and close each of these three gaps and illustrates how it can be done through inspiring true stories. The 3 Gaps provides the concepts and the tools needed to establish a solid foundation from which you can help make the world a better place.

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CHAPTER 1 The Beliefs Gap

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Because beliefs are such a powerful determining factor in our lives, the first gap I want to discuss is the gap between what you believe to be true and what is actually true: your Beliefs Gap.

There was a time when the vast majority of the people on this earth believed that the sun revolved around the earth. When Copernicus suggested and Galileo insisted that it was the other way around, people considered them heretics. The fact that they were right was irrelevant; and, at the time, believing the wrong thing about the sun’s relationship to the earth had no serious consequences (other than personal ostracism). Had we not corrected that erroneous belief we certainly would never have had the power to achieve the tremendous scientific advances spurred on by the space program. The correct belief allowed us to make a difference.

Consider the following story.

John walks into the yard of a friend, and is surprised to see a Doberman pinscher that has never been there before. At first he freezes in terror; then he runs out of the yard as fast as his legs can carry him without pausing to wonder how the dog got there or to notice if it is on a chain.

 

CHAPTER 2 The Values Gap

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It’s not uncommon in this crazy hectic world to get so caught up in the “busy-ness” of life that, before you know it, time has passed; and when you look back you might feel as if a piece of your life has gone missing.

You usually come to this kind of realization when something major happens, such as watching a child leave home, having a heart attack, going through a divorce, having problems with a struggling business, watching the economy go off a cliff, dealing with a rebellious child, or witnessing something that you’ve always believed, trusted, or known fail in some way. Time feels as if it comes to a standstill, and you pause for self-reflection.

When you find yourself in one of these situations you can become painfully aware of a gap between what you value most and what you are actually doing—the Values Gap. Where are you actually spending your time, energy, and resources compared to where you want to be spending them? The Values Gap is the gap between doing “any old thing” and doing the things that matter most.

 

CHAPTER 3 The Time Gap

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In the many seminars and speeches that I have given about living more effectively, people often say, almost wistfully, “I wish I had lived a hundred years ago, when they had more time.”

My response to that is, “Really? How much more time did they have a hundred years ago?”

And the response is usually something like “Well . . . they had a whole lot more time.”

Reflecting on that widespread desire for more time, I have come to realize that when it comes to time, the only difference between now and a hundred years ago is that we have more options in how we use our time. We have more options because we can do things faster. With modern household appliances, for example, what took a few days to do a hundred years ago can now be done in three hours on Monday morning. Instead of taking two or three hours to prepare dinner, we can now do it in twenty minutes.

A hundred years ago, advances in technology had already shortened the time needed to cross North America from three months in a stagecoach or wagon train to less than a week on a railway train. Today, we can go from New York to San Francisco in four and a half hours, eating dinner and watching a movie as we fly across the continent at nearly six hundred miles per hour.

 

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