The Empathy Gap

Humans are tricky. How we reconcile what we want now versus what we’ll want later… well, they aren’t always well-aligned. 

The name for this mismatch is the empathy gap

If we want to eat healthier but the bag of chips we bought a week ago and hid in the high cabinet is psychically calling out to us to be devoured immediately, we’re experiencing the empathy gap. 

Our “now” emotions aren’t the same as our (projected) “later” emotions. 

How do we close the gap? 

We don’t. 

All we can do is be aware of it. Noticing how we feel now and bouncing it off of how we’ll feel about the same scenario later can help. 

When we’re leading/helping/guiding others, these “how would you like to feel later,” and, “how do you feel now,” and “what should we do to make sure these align” questions are critical. 

Not to close the gap, but to shine a flashlight onto the end posts around it. 

The empathy gap is a core feature of being human, not a bug. Being aware of and addressing it directly are key to all types of progress. 

*I may have some experience with this specific scenario

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