The Action-Impact gap lies between our awareness of having done or said something, and the realisation of that action’s impact on others.

When we have a large gap, we act without realisation of our actions. We may not even be aware of our actions.

As our self-awareness increases, our Action-Impact gap is reduced. Ultimately, the gap disappears and we can truly think-through the implications of our actions before we do or say anything. This takes practice. And the disciplined reflection on our performance in every situation.

This gap is exacerbated by strong emotions. The more aroused/agitated we are, the wider the Action-Impact gap becomes. This is why people lash out or act up when they are in crisis. It is harder to think-before-we-act when we are under stress.

We have different Action-Impact gaps in different situations too. Someone who can respond consciously with deliberate calm at work, may become fearfully, unthinking reactive if their family is under threat.

With practice, we can become more calm and less reactive when faced with stress in different situations.

What do you think is the current state of your Action-Impact gap, in different situations?