Mind the Gap

"It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking how did he know to put the 'pursuit' part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue and maybe we can actually never have it. No matter what. How did he know that?"

Chris Gardner,
The Pursuit of Happyness

I re-watched the Pursuit of Happyness this past weekend and I realized I missed a lot of truly empathetic moments in the movie - and the above quote hit me the hardest. Nah, in this newsletter I'm not talking about happiness. But rather, something that has been a recurring topic for me as of late... the pursuit. 

As we close out the first quarter of this year, we see a lot of our peers have accomplished some pretty amazing things. Just as many probably fell short on some of our goals, and are, quite frankly, a little underwhelmed with performance. Yea, that feeling is the equivalent of trash. Lastly, there's another group of you high-impact, high-potential, highly-motivated individuals that have accomplished something pretty great, looked back at it #pause, felt dissatisfied, and pursued a new goal without celebrating the milestones you hit.

It's a dichotomous feeling of achievement and "I gotta go harder."

For the record, I think this gif is an accurate depiction of
how some of us walked out of Q1.. yikes.

A lot of us are constantly in a place 'somewhere between I want it and I got it' (*cues Drake's Furthest Thing) and for me, that is a constant, yet uncomfortable space to be. It's at that point where if you look back and think - you realize that you've made tremendous progress. BUT if you look forward and imagine - you realize you still have a hell of a way to go.  We are a dog chasing a bone, a balance between a reward, personal satisfaction, and well - exhaustion. If you've heard the phrase, "carrot and stick," well, that is pretty much a manifestation of how a lot of us feel on a consistent basis.

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  • maybe it's the promotion or new job you worked hard for and didn't get.

  • maybe it's the physique you were always in the gym for, and it didn't happen.

  • maybe it's the credit score you were working towards but didn't reach.

  • maybe it was the GRE, GMAT, or LSAT you studied for but didn't pass.

we are all pursuing something... we are all somewhere between where we started and where we want to go... but we seldom celebrate the progress we've made in the gap.

During transitions, like a quarter change, we spend too much time in this space, and usually with the wrong mindset. We look back and think 'I didn't go far enough' rather than 'look how far I came;' and we look forward and think 'look how far I have to go' rather than 'look how far I get to go.Perspective is everything.

I'm going to challenge you to use this period not to dwell on where you fell short but to focus on how far you came. 

  • maybe you didn't get the promotion, but you've improved leaps and bounds professionally. 

  • maybe you don't have the physique you want, but you've developed much healthier habits. 

  • maybe you don't have an 800 credit score, but you're no longer at the 400 you started at.

  • maybe you didn't pass your test, but you're much more equipped for when you take it the next time.

If you need some extra time exploring this topic, I encourage you to check out Pastor Steven Furtick's sermon, In The Middle, where he talks about this exact topic. He says, "Your Faith is hanging between two thieves, what was (is gone), what will be (is unknown); but the glory is in the middle." 

If you think you've arrived, arrogance is going to follow. There will always be a gap between where you are and where you want to be, just know you are where you need to be. The gap behind you shows your GREATness, the gap in front of you keeps you GREATful.

Oh, and in reference to the pursuit of happyness.. *spoiler alert* he does achieve it.


the prolific pursuit.

As we mourn the death and celebrate the life of Nipsey the Great, I had to stop and think about how he epitomized the pursuit. the balance between where he's been and where he's going. doing the work in the gap. He manifested the intersection of art and education, culture and technology, elevating inspiration, and leaving the community greater than you found it.

"I keep moving, keep hustling till I see improvement /
I know that I can't win them all, but I can't keep losing. / 
What I used to tell myself when life seemed useless /
When it felt like if I was to change it'd be for music / 
When Pac showed us that the pain we felt, was not exclusive / 
Was in the hood, but Shawn Cater showed us no excuses / 
Kids tell me I'm the reason that they finish school / 
And if it wasn't for the marathon, they wouldn't have made it through it"

-Nipsey Hussle

Brandon Miller