Ms Brene Brown calls the fourth chapter Mind The Gap. The title is brilliant for what she wanted to say.
She says that there is often a wide gap between what you want to accomplish (your strategy) and what defines you as a person (your culture). This is as applicable to organizations and groups as it is to individuals.
Values aren’t buses… They’re not supposed to get you anywhere. They’re supposed to define who you are.
~ Jennifer Crusie
Most people have two sets of principles- one they live by and the other they profess/ preach. They keep their party principles in safe keeping, never subjecting them to the wear and tear of daily living. The values and principles they mouth are not the values and principles they act on. What you hear from them is not what you see in them.
In other words, they do not walk their talk. That is the Gap she is talking of.
In the end you should always do the right thing even if it’s hard.
~ Nicholas Sparks
The Gaps in what you say and what you do is the prime reason for breeding distrust between people. This Gap fosters disengagement. There is nothing to say when you do not live the values you uphold verbally. In the face of such duplicity, you have no option but to withdraw. There is no wonder people turn cynical.
Those who do not practice what they preach, trot out many reasons for why there is such a Gap between what they say and what they do. The commonest alibi they give themselves is the need to be practical. Nothing could be shoddier than that!
If your value system is impractical, why on earth are you professing it? If you say Honesty is the best policy but I see you being anything but honest (in letter AND spirit), I’m not going to excuse you when you claim that you are only surrendering to the demands of pragmatism. Either walk your talk or don’t talk the talk you are talking! I see you wax eloquent on the benefits of discipline but I see none of that wonderful discipline in your own life, I will have no choice but to call you fake.
Ms Brown gives some very luminous real life case studies where as parents, teachers and leaders, people demonstrate the Gap between what they say and what they do. The chapter would not have made the impact it made had the illustrations not been included.
I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.
~ Frederick Douglass
People have often expressed incredulity at my early bed-time. Perhaps they don’t realise that as a single parent, the only way I could inculcate certain habits and behaviors in my children was by following them rigorously myself. It wouldn’t have worked if I were to tell my children that getting their full quota of sleep was essential if they were to perform to their best in school if they saw me staying up until all hours.
I know it will sound like a boast (though I hope not, it isn’t meant that way), but I have never preached what I could not practice. I knew I would lose the respect- and hence affection and regard- of my children had I ever done that. And that is a risk I could not take.
I’m not claiming that there has never been a Gap between what I hold as my values and what I live everyday. There have been. But the Gaps have been mere slivers and I have made amends quickly. At times, I have even apologised to my children for compromising on my values. And yes, my kids do feel it their right to question me when they see me violating professed standards of conduct.
I have tried my best to wipe out the Gap and mostly I have been successful.