What is this book about?
The gap and the gain is the most powerful concept that can empower you to live a more fulfilling life. This book will change how you think about success and how you think about happiness. For everyone, who wants to be a successful person or who is already successful. this book is a must-read.
The way to measure goals is backward, against where you started, not against your ideal.
There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. We believe happiness is something that we pursue, but its attainment is impossible. When you say, happiness is something you pursue, you say that you don’t have it right now. You tell yourself: Happiness is around the corner. After I achieve this, I will be happy. After I do this, I’ll be happy.
But happiness is never there. By embracing the idea of the pursuit of happiness, you rob yourself of the happiness that you have right now.
The Gap and The Gain : Book Summary
“Your future growth and progress are now based on your understanding about the difference between the two ways in which you can measure yourself: against an ideal, which puts you in what I call ‘the GAP,’ and against your starting point, which puts you in ‘the GAIN,’ appreciating all that you’ve accomplished.”
High achievers are particularly prone to being in the gap. In fact, CEOs are twice as likely to have depression than the general public. They remain unhappy even with their accomplishments.
High-achievers usually spend their time in the gap mindset. They don’t appreciate their gains. They are never grateful or happy about their situations.
Being in the gap makes you feel miserable. It’s human nature to be in the GAP. The GAIN is the antidote. The GAIN creates immediate happiness. The GAIN connects you to yourself and your own progress. The GAIN transforms everything. The GAIN gives you power over the direction in your life. The GAIN gets you out of the GAP.
When you measure yourself against the ideal, instead of the actual progress you made, you’ll become unhappy about everything in life. You have to stop measuring yourself against your ideals because that’s an endless race.
If you focus on what you lack, you lose what you have. If you focus on what you have, you gain what you lack.Greg McKeown
Being in the gain means you measure yourself against what you were before. You measure your own progress. You don’t compare yourself against something external. Every experience you got is viewed as a gain. This allows you to focus on what you have actually done. And When you see your gains, it allows you to create more gains in the future.
Any experience you have can be turned into again. The choice is fully yours in how you frame your experience. When you frame an experience as a gain, you learn something from it. But when you frame it as a gap, you do the opposite.
Once you are in the gap mindset, you are unstoppable. The more you’re in the gain, the less you compare and compete, or even care about what others think or feel. You move at your own pace. It changes how you approach your life.
When you are in the gap, you only see your flaws. You don’t see how far you have come from the starting point.
Get Out of the Gap
Happiness is right here. Happiness is where you start, not where you finish.
When you are in the gap, you tie your happiness to something outside of yourself. But when you are in the gain, you’ll be happy automatically.
Life is a single-player game. There is no external progress, no external validation. You’re competing with yourself.
Happiness is what propels you to move forward. It is the starting point of learning, growth, and high performance. Positive emotions facilitate higher performance, which increases confidence and filters back more positive emotions. It’s a repeating cycle.
When you focus on your gains, your confidence immediately elevates because you can see your prior successes.
Happiness is a byproduct of realizing that you are enough and you have enough.
Obsessive vs harmonious passion
Putting yourself in the gap is not how you reach the optimum level of performance. Having an unhealthy need or ‘obsession’ is not how you reach your highest level.
Being in the gap means that you are driven by unhealthy ‘need’ while being in the gain is driven by a healthy and chosen ‘want’.
Obsession is regularly associated with addiction. To perform at your peak level, you have to completely detach yourself from what you are doing.
Instead of having obsessive passion, you should have a harmonious passion that is intrinsically motivated and healthy.
Play the long game
Playing the long-term goal helps you to embrace being here. You appreciate everything around you. You’re genuinely happy.
People feel as if they need to get something or achieve something in order to be happy. When you’re in the gap, you are desperate to get ‘somewhere and you are trying to escape being here.
When you’re in the gain, you play the long game. You are in love with where you’re at now. You love where you’re going. By playing the long game, you set your own pace.
Define your own success
You have to be self-determined. You’ve to define your own success, achieve it by your own rules and build a life that you’re proud to live.
Autonomy is a crucial aspect of motivation and thriving. You don’t have to compete with someone else. That will only put you in the gap. Measuring yourself against others causes you to lose identity and lose your compass. You have to make an internal reference point.
“I’ll be successful when…” led people to chase the wrong forms of “success,” and never actually get the life they wanted.
Define your own success criteria and make informed decisions based on that definition.
Use your filtering system to go faster and further
“Use this rule if you’re often over-committed or too scattered. If you’re not saying ‘HELL YEAH!’ about something, say ‘no.’ When deciding whether to do something, if you feel anything less than ‘Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!’ - then say ‘no.’Derek Sivers
Get very good at saying “No” to anything that misaligns with your success criteria. As you do, you’ll be shocked at the confidence and momentum you quickly build.
Are you in the gap or the gain?
Being in the gap has a tangible physical effect- it is heavy, anxious, stressed, unhappy. The gain is the most powerful and energizing context for viewing any experience.
You can choose to view any experience as a gain or gap.
Being in the gap completely kills the reward of any positive experience you have or progress you make. Being in the gain not only makes you happier. It also makes you more resilient to challenges. It increases your health and longevity.
Practice Mental Subtraction
Good things are rare and precious in life. Imagining the absence of a positive event in your life is simply more powerful than looking back at the positive event. Imagining the absence of an important person can be more powerful than simply appreciating their presence.
We take our life for granted. If you imagine the absence of the most important thing in your life, you can genuinely start to appreciate what you have.
Don’t stay in the gap for more than 5 minutes
Implementing intentions increases your self-control even when you are not in a favorable environment. You can be the victim of decision fatigue when you’re sure what you are going to do. Train yourself to not stay in the gap for more than 5 minutes.
If you ever feel discouraged, or setback then tell yourself you will stay in the gap no more than 5 minutes.
Always measure backward
It’s easy to miss the gains throughout our lives when we are focused on the problem in front of us. Going back and appreciating how far you’ve come keeps you in the gain. If you compare yourself with your former self instead of your ideal, you will quickly get into the gain.
Most of us have trained ourselves to brush off compliments and never appreciate our progress. The more you practice it, the more specific you will get at seeing, appreciating, and framing GAINS.
Gains allow you to live your life without regrets. It gives you power over your own progress and experience.
Transform every experience into a gain
“Meaning and value aren’t given to us. We create our own meaning and value for every experience.”
“Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it. . . . It’s just easier if you do.”Bryon Katie
If you frame an experience as a gap, you lose power and ownership over that experience. On the other hand, gain puts you in the driver’s seat of your own life. You chose to decide what the experience means to you. You can take it this way: you’re either winning or learning.
The past is nothing more than the meaning you ascribe to it. Being in the gap leads you to avoid your past and take ownership over your life. You don’t see any usefulness in certain experiences. You simply wish that they hadn’t happened.
Being in the gain allows you to own your experiences and transform your past.
Other Favorite quotes from the book
“There’s only one way to measure success. You measure success backward by looking at where you are now compared to where you were before.”
“Vagueness generates vagueness, so you must be specific when describing your desired results.”
“An ideal can’t be measured. It’s there for emotional, psychological, and intellectual motivation, but it’s not there for measurement.”
“I don’t think we set and achieve goals in an effort to become happy. We do it because we are happy and want to expand our happiness.”