Book Review: Measuring success “The Gap and the Gain” (Dan Sullivan & Benjamin Hardy)

The GAP and the GAIN

What’s the best way to measure success?

Do you look forward at the distance between where you are and where you want to land (the gap), or do you look backwards, measuring the gains you’ve achieved since you began?

When measuring success, if you’re anything like me (or most people), you measure the gap, obsessing over an arbitrary goal. Dan Sullivan, a business coach, and Dr Benjamin Hardy, an organizational psychologist, co-authors of The Gap and the Gain, have discovered that it’s better to measure backwards. In other words, get out of the gap and into the gain.

Here’s the gist of it.

When you measure your progress (gains) rather than the gaps that remain, you eliminate the feeling of failure for not being where you think you “should be”. In brief, that positivity will fuel even more progress. 

The two main takeaways are:

  1. Get out of the gap. Many people aren’t happy because they’re focused on “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, and that happiness is always just out of reach. It’s always in the gap. To illustrate, let’s say you were on a weight loss journey and your goal was to lose 20 pounds. You believe once you lose the weight, things will be better. You successfully lose weight. Are you happier? Or “If I just had that handbag….” It’s a treadmill. So long as you measure the gap, you’ll never get “there”. 
  2. Get into the gain. In the end, a better and more productive way to operate, personally and professionally, is to acknowledge the progress you’ve made so far. It sounds counterintuitive, but when you focus on what you’ve achieved, you become more likely to gain what you still lack. There are 3 things you need to do to get into the gain:
    1. Always measure backwards. 
    2. Every day, mark 3 gains
    3. Consider experiences to be gains.

The moral of the story? Think more about your gains. Celebrate what you’ve achieved in your life and work. After all, it’s a much better way to live and move forward. 

Lots of other great insights in “The Gap and the Gain”. It’s worth a read (or, in my case, a listen).

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