The Missing Tile Syndrome
The “Missing Tile Syndrome” refers to a preoccupation with imperfections and anomalies. Picture a large beautiful tile mosaic where out of the 1,000 tiles, 10 are missing. Most people would enjoy the beauty of the mosaic, but then comment or inquire about the 10 missing tiles (e.g., “It’s a shame those tiles are missing,” or “Uh oh, what happened to those missing tiles?”). The source of the “Missing Tile Syndrome” is said to have been “hard-wired” into the brains of all living creatures for survival throughout the course of evolution. If while a zebra is enjoying bountiful grazing on a beautiful day in the African savannah the zebra hears some rustling in the nearby bush, that zebra ought to assume the worst case scenario and run, because that rustling may be a lion. Over time, the “pessimistic” zebra who runs will be more likely to survive that the “optimistic” zebra who assumes that the rustling in the bush is just a breeze. Indeed, the pressure for “survival of the fittest” exerted by evolution selects for the “survival of pessimism”. Focusing on “the missing tile” can be considered a psychological offshoot of this survival mechanism. To be a “Maximum Strength Parent” and to overcome the “Missing Tile Syndrome,” first identify your “missing tiles,” then make some choices and either work to get what’s missing (if that’s possible), forget what’s missing (if what you want is unrealistic), or replace what’s missing (with an acceptable substitute).