Lacuna: an unfilled space or interval; a gap.
The doughnut hole.
I heard the phrase “focusing on the hole and not the doughnut” a few days ago. I’ve probably heard it before, but it struck me solidly this time. This phrase has been around a long time and I found an interesting reference, too.
This cheerful message, created more than 100 years ago, was first published in the New York Sun newspaper in 1904 as
‘Twixt optimist and pessimist
The difference is droll;
The optimist the doughnut sees –
The pessimist the hole.
In 1929, a restaurant in Charleston, West Virginia, revitalized The Optimist’s Creed’s wording and message. The Optimist’s Creed was displayed in the restaurant’s window and written in more contemporary language for the patrons. The targeted audience was customers who drank coffee and ate “sinkers,” another word for donuts.
“As you ramble through Life, Brother,
Whatever be your goal.
Keep your eye upon the doughnut,
And not upon the hole.”
I am realizing how frequently I focus on what I’m missing, what I’m not enough of, what I can “do better.” This is focusing on the hole — not the doughnut. and really, I’m a pink, fluffy, rainbow sprinkled kind of doughnut.
This lacuna-focus is insidious. Ironically, it keeps me from growing. It keeps my attention on something to fix/improve before I can step out and do something difficult (e.g., I can’t write a book like that — I’m still a short-tempered, cuss at other drivers kind of person! A mystic, huh? You don’t look like a mystic. etc., etc.) The lacuna’s seduction has me thinking that if I fix these shortcomings then I can be something greater. Only there’s always a new thing to fix and I can never quite get it right.