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  • Writer's pictureJosh Wymore

1+1: Closing the Reality Gap + Saint Teresa's prayer

Hey there! Here’s one leadership idea and one resource I’ve found beneficial this week:

A grapefruit sliced in half

1 idea: Closing the Reality Gap

800 years ago, English kings devised a graphic means of punishing treason called quartering. This creative and gruesome means of execution debuted in the late 1200s after the Prince of Wales incited a rebellion against Edward I in 1282. In response, King Edward had the prince's arms and legs tied to four different horses which then ran in opposite directions--hence, quarters.

(I know it's a bit early in the morning for such a grotesque image, but maybe the example will come in handy the next time your middle schooler complains that you punished them by taking away their iPad.)

This grisly image comes to mind for me anytime I am struggling to be more adaptable. Because I’m a planner (J on the Myers-Briggs; Strategic on CliftonStrengths), I instinctively map out conversations, projects, or vacations in my mind beforehand. In most situations, I have a plan for what I want to happen, and I credit this vision and foresight for helping me accomplish so many of my goals. This is a good thing.

But a problem arises when an unexpected event occurs that changes Reality:

  • My plan to start a project for a client is interrupted when they suddenly ghost me.

  • My plan to sleep until 5:30 is interrupted by a child waking up early.

  • My plan to start writing my next book is interrupted by being dislocated from our home.

These unexpected events create a new Reality that I now need to adapt to. But the problem is, I don’t want to adapt. I don’t want to get up earlier or start my project later. Like a toddler throwing a tantrum, I mentally throw myself on the floor at and say, “No! I don’t want to!”

Here’s the big problem with that approach: regardless of whether I agree to comply or not, Reality moves on. Reality doesn’t care if I agree with it or like it. The sun shines even if I’m not in the mood.

The longer I fight Reality and try to live in my hoped-for world that no longer exists, the more I’m stretched between two galloping horses going in opposite directions. I’m caught in the Reality Gap, and I’m being quartered (or in this case, halved) by trying to live in two realities at once.

That’s why learning how to accept Reality brings so much more peace. It doesn’t mean that I just abandon all aspirations or ambitions; it means that I adjust those hopes and plans in light of my new Reality.

Accepting this new Reality is hard because I’m essentially killing a small dream every time. A whole multiverse disappears in the moment that an unexpected event changes Reality. The more emotional energy that I’ve invested in that other Reality, the harder it is to accept. But it’s a lot less painful than getting quartered (or halved) by continuing to try and live in that Reality Gap.


  • Which of your plans are not going according to plan?

  • What Reality are you struggling to accept right now?

  • What would acceptance look like in this situation?

1 resource: Saint Teresa's prayer

I didn't grow up reciting someone else's prayers, so I was surprised to discover when I came across this ancient prayer from Saint Teresa and found it to be so helpful. Whenever I've struggled to close a Reality Gap, this prayer centers me:

Let nothing disturb you,

Let nothing frighten you.

All things pass away;

God never changes.

Patience obtains all things.

Whoever has God lacks nothing;

God alone suffices.

Cover of James Clear's book Atomic Habits


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