The difference between happiness and pleasure
For the last six years Dr Adam Fraser has been researching how people flourish while fulfilling some of the hardest jobs in society. This ranged from special forces soldiers, palliative care nurses, leaders, working mothers and elite athletes. His research showed the common characteristic they shared was what they did in the transitional space (the third space) between the different roles, environments and tasks that they move between.
Most of us habitually carry our mindset and emotional state from one of these activities to the next - and all too often this has negative, occasionally disastrous consequences.
For years we've been told it's getting the 'big' stuff right that gives us balance and makes us happy: the holidays, the audacious goals, the pay rises. But in our hearts we know it's really the small stuff: a great result at work, our welcome home, an absorbing conversation, a game with the kids.
The Third Space is a book about getting the small stuff right - not 'sweating' it, but making it much more rewarding, much more often. It's about using the 'Third Space' (that moment of transition between a first activity and the second that follows it), to mentally 'show up' right for whatever comes next.
According to Fraser, the average employee is interrupted every three minutes. Twenty-eight per cent of our day is spent recovering from distractions. The challenge we face is the way we transition between tasks, roles and environments for maximized performance. Fraser refers to these roles, environments and different tasks as 'spaces'.
"We spend our day transitioning between different spaces..."
- The First Space is the role/environment/task you are in right now; namely reading this article.
- The Second Space is the role/environment/task you are transitioning into, for example, you might be about to go into a meeting, or have your professional development reviewed.
- The Third Space is the transitional space in between the First and Second - and what we do in this transitional space will determine our level of success in the Second space.