Being Happy: “The Reverse Gap”


When I’m doing Body Beastย ย or Insanityย it’s great to look at my muscles.

But then I look at my belly and go “Hmmmmm………”

It can seem like goals take forever.

I also get a lot of emails from teachers saying “In my school they just want me to have fun and not teach anything.”

This tends to get the natural reaction from me of “Set some goals!

After all if we’re not teaching anything we’re just stealing the kids time – they might as well be out playing in countryside enjoying themselves!

The Dark Side

But setting goals does have this dark side.

As natural, normal competitive human beings as soon as we reach a goal, ย we set a new one!

And as we never finish it can lead to a sense of never ending struggle and never being happy. ย (Or getting a six pack.)


The magic!

So that’s where today’s magic comes into play: ย The Reverse Gap!

Instead of thinking “Oh, I’ve got so long to go before we reach the goals!”, flip the class around and occasionally look back on just how far you’ve come.

Facebook are doing a great job with this by featuring pictures you uploaded a year ago, ย when you look at them you go “Wow, actually I’ve done quite a lot this year!”

So keep a diary of all your lessons, and every so often pop back and show the kids what lessons they were doing last year.

Even if they are constantly struggling when going forward, ย as long as you’ve been doing your warm ups and reviews they’ll look back on these lessons and go

“Wow, that’s really easy! ย We’ve done really well!”

And this type of gratitude, and seeing “The Reverse Gap,” is what makes us really happy and gives us all the energy to move forward!

The thing is that unless we consciously take the time to think about it, it often *seems* that we haven’t moved at all.

But I *know* you’re not the same person as last year.

So, ย what were you doing 12 or 24 months ago? ย And how far have you come? ย Do let us know in the comments!

Be genki,


P.S. ย  If you can’t remember, write it down! ย  The Five Minute Journal is one of the most recommended ways of doing it – then pop back here in a year’s time!

P.P.S. ย This is also why I always recommend doing the Thanksgiving Lesson every year. ย Even if you’re not American or Canadian this one act of being thankful each year is a huge boost to happiness!

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

4 Responses to “Being Happy: “The Reverse Gap””

  1. Mr.Rainbow


    Doing the “reverse gab” on myself is not new, but showing the kids how much they have improved is a brilliant idea! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have kinda done it a few times with the game Time Bomb.
    What I do is stacking up ALL the vocab they have learned to far, at then they complain about it being to much/hard, at which point I tell them that ALL THIS is what you have studied so far!
    They surprised/proud faces I get in reaction to this is priceless ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Martin

    This is a great idea. I’ve sort have been in awe of how much has changed in the few years I’ve been at my current school. I’ve been slogging through the records of the school trying to clean up the accounting and discovering thousands in missing class fees :O! Of course, this means seeing when kids joined, what classes and levels they were in a year or two ago and boy things have changed.

    I’ve been feeling pretty down and a little lost on my role at the school, feeling ineffective as a teacher, just not doing anything right. What do you guys do when you are just feeling down and out and teaching or planning a lesson or activities is the last thing you want to do?

  3. Richard Graham

    @ Mr Rainbow: Cool stuff!

    @Martin: Just do the exercise, look back on everything you’ve achieved so far – it’s a heck of a lot!

  4. Aya

    I was feeling down and lost confidence a bit today, and you just sent me the link to this post by e-mail. You made my day! Thank you very much!

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