Insights for the deeply romantic and deeply skeptical

Gap Cred: How We Really Decide Whether To Trust Each Other

People judge your integrity by how you manage your "aspirational gap" the gap between what you are and what you aspire to be. You lower your gap cred if you often pretend that you've closed the gap, either by not aspiring when you do or by claiming more progress than you've made. Here are some tips for maintaining high gap cred, essential to earning people's trust. Read More

As far as I know . . .

I have no external credibility gap. I’m always surprised when someone introduces me as an actor, when, in actuality: I’m an actor (with 30+ years experience) who no longer acts.

But internally (and this is similar to our earlier discussion about rationalization:

Not long ago I watched a TED talk, on the topic of . . . some psychological process (name escapes me) that we go through when aspirations are unrealized. It’s in keeping with your second #4, with one exception: Having reached the point where you determine that “you don’t really care about being a star,” you’re no longer pretending. You’ve gone through the aforementioned (unnamed) psychological process and no longer care. It has become your reality. The TED talk lingered because it’s been my experience. But discovering that there’s an actual process, covering reframing of former aspirations, I’ve begun to wonder:

Was I kidding myself as a teen, deciding that I wanted to be “a rich and famous actress”? Or do I kid myself now, having realized: I wanted the fantasy but never was willing to do all that had to be done to actualize that youthful aspiration? I’m introverted, would detest life in a fishbowl. And at this stage of life, I find that what really excites me is: ideas. Not necessarily implementation of same. But turning them this way and that, examining from every angle; tasting them and seeing if, in theory, they hold water.

So little time . . . so many mixed metaphors.

Anyway, thanks for a couple of other thought-provoking blogs.


Indeed, Same for me about


Same for me about ideas. Gregory Bateson calls it "solving for pattern" I think of it as three things:

Pattern sensuality: Loving the patterns of human and natural affairs enough that you want to explore them, through the arts, sciences, philosophy, sports, whatever.

Pattern discernment: Distinguishing between the ones that fit and don't fit the habits of the real world.

Pattern fluency: Getting good at recognizing them as they fly by in experience, and mixing and matching them in reflection on your experience.

As for kidding myself, I'm in favor of optimal illusion, pretending that I don't care about something I do care about as a means of coaxing myself to not care about it. I'm also for nervous laughter over some disappointment as a stepping stone to easy laughter over it. And contrived irony ("no tag backs. I was just kidding") as a gateway to philosophical irony. These are all fake-it-til-you-make-it moves. I too thought I should become a famous writer or something. I've adjusted expectations and like it. I'm happy for my 15 people of fame. Famous among the barns as Dylan Thomas put it.

Anyway again nice talking with you.



Patterns are the heart. And I like your three-part breakdown. That, too, describes it nicely. I see myself, therein.

Yes, it has been a pleasure,


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Jeremy Sherman is an evolutionary epistemologist studying the natural history and practical realities of decision making.


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