The Acuity Gap

Although few people realize it, everyone has an “acuity gap.” A gap between our perceptions of the world—what we see—and the moment we realize that these perceptions are created via our own thoughts. The narrower your gap is, the smoother your journey through life will be; the wider your gap, the more rocky.

An insane person, for example, possesses an infinitely wide acuity gap. He or she believes that every thought that pops into his or her head is acutely real. Thus, this person’s behavior is always unproductive and often quite peculiar since, to this person, there is no reason not to act on each and every thought that occurs.

Similarly, the average person will sometimes struggle because it is normal to, at first, be fooled into believing that our errant feelings are derived from the world around us. As soon as we reach the edge of our acuity gap, however, we wake up—become conscious—as we realize that it is merely our own thoughts that are doing this. As a result, our struggle begins to lessen.

In which direction is your acuity gap moving? If narrower, you’re on your way.

The truth is that all of us, at times, think dysfunctional thoughts. I, on occasion, think about what would happen if I Iost my audience for these articles, my books, or talks. I then become insecure and think, “If I’m feeling this way, it’s probably going to happen. If it happens, I could lose my house, and my kids and wife would be so sad.”

Now, it is the width of my acuity gap that determines how long I remain embroiled in this type of thought attack. And the cool thing is, the more I appreciate that a gap does exist, the smaller the gap actually becomes.

In other words, simply recognizing that our thoughts (and not our circumstances) are creating our perceptions is what allows us to see infinite possibilities in any situation—including those that initially appear disastrous. To illustrate, I just started working with a young pro hockey player who recently got sent down to the minors. When I asked how he was holding up, he replied, “Well, when I first heard the news, I was real down, but, even though I’m still not happy about the decision, for some reason I just know things will work out for me.” Translation: This player woke up to the fact that only his thoughts were creating his feelings and mood (the edge of his gap). If he believed that moving down to the minors was the cause of his low state of mind, he would never notice an opportunity in this seemingly negative event.

Appreciating that there are many ways to think about the same situation is a sign that a “difficult” situation will correct itself soon.

Remember, recognizing that your thoughts are the foundation for your feelings will not necessarily make you feel better in an instant. But this understanding will prevent you from exacerbating the turmoil by trying to fix or force things when you are not capable. Knowing that an acuity gap does exist is what allows stillpower (and not willpower) to take hold. And once it does, it’s only a matter of time until you are feeling light, unencumbered, and full of faith once more.