The London Underground transports up to 5 million people each day. As digitally hypnotized passengers pour into the tubes, audible instructions remind travelers to please “mind the gap” as they enter and exit trains. While most people don’t have a problem avoiding the gap on their own, the reminder is a useful jolt back to the present moment so we pay attention and don’t accidentally do the splits down a subway platform.
What’s the London Underground have to do with this? Like The Tube, I believe life is full of little problems or “gaps” that vast amounts of people avoid but very few do anything to fix them. Minding life’s gaps might keep you from falling down a subway platform, but it doesn’t build a bridge for others.
Gaps = Opportunity
Instead of just minding life’s gaps, many of the most successful businesses and their founders seek to fill gaps. The next time you spot a problem, take note of it. Maybe you’re in a meeting and have a eureka moment, or perhaps you’re just walking down the sidewalk and you see something that just doesn’t make sense, make the effort to record this gap.
If the gap you’ve identified is something you can attempt to fix, why not give it a shot? The worst case scenario is you’ll find a way how not to fix it. But if your idea works, it will presumably add value to you own life and most likely the lives of others.
By training our brains to find and fill gaps instead of simply minding them, you’re teaching yourself to look for value creating opportunities. Often times, the problems of one are also the problems of many, and if you can figure out a solution to a difficult issue, odds are other people will want to know your secret.
What “gaps” have you noticed lately? Is there something you’ve identified that you think you could solve or at least improve? Would the result help other people too?
Think about these questions and let me know what you come up with either via email or in the comments section. The next time you find a gap, don’t just mind it, fill it.