About The Gap and the Gain
This short ebook from Dan Sullivan (Strategic Coach) introduces the concept of the Gap and the Gain. Sullivan discusses the importance of measuring your progress so that you increase motivation to accomplish your dreams, rather than fall into cynicism and despair.
Introduction: How Your Brain Works
- Many talented, high-performing, ambitious entrepreneurs are chronically unable to enjoy their achievements
- They measure their success against the ideal they set, not how far they’ve come
- Your brain isn’t you — you can think about your thinking. Instead of just taking things in, you can be conscious of how your brain is working
- The brain is primarily a problem-solving tool.
- We’re happiest when we use our brains to visualize, achieve, measure progress
- There is a right and wrong way to measure progress.
- People who measure accomplishments in terms of specifics tend to be happier and a lot more energized than people who speak and think in generalities.
- Ex: If you say “things are pretty good” when people ask “how are things going?” you’re not really connecting with a real experience.
- Specifics grounds your feelings in reality. Ex: “This project earned 10x as much money as last year.”
- Use your brain to measure specifics. When setting goals, compare two specific facts. “Being wealthy” is generic. “Making $10 million” is specific.
- Goals must be unique:
“It’s the constant achievement of specific measurable progress that gradually develops the unique and superior skills and capabilities in individuals. And the more you use your brain to achieve and measure specifics, the more your brain is uniquely your own.”
- You have other people’s brains telling you what to do. You don’t have your own brain utnil you set your own goals and have your own eperiences
Chapter 1: Measurement Creates Progress
- Sensing that we’re making progress toward our goals makes us happy.
- To feel progress, it must be based on specific facts
- Measuring yourself against the #1 person in your industry won’t make you happy
- We sense where we are in time, so we feel like we’re either making progress or getting left behind. We can’t stop time to catch up, we can only make better use of time.
- Time moves forward, and we feel good when we’re moving forward with it.
- If you don’t feel good about what you’re doing, you’ll compare yourself to others who do better, which makes you feel worse.
Comparison is the thief of joy — Theodore Roosevelt
- The purpose of measurement: have right thinking around results you’ve achieved.
- Measure yourself, your own business, not others. Make sure all your comparisons are against yourself.
- You’re on your own: no one else has your raw material. Be willing to be yourself and set your own standards and measurements.
- Meaning/purpose: By-products of visualizing, achieving, measuring specific personal progress.
Chapter 2: Ideals Can’t Be Achieved
- The horizon is not a specific destination anyone can reach.
- Ideals are like the horizon: they help you figure out a direction and plan a destination, but you can’t reach it.
- The only way to measure your travel distance is from where you started, not from the horizon.
- The ideal helps you envision specific, measurable goals. Powerful ideals = powerful goals.
- ‘Ideally, no one ever gets there.”
- Ideals are general. Ex: “Get closer to spouse.” Goals are specific. Ex: “Have X dates over X period of time.”
- THE GAIN = The right way to measure progress: specific to specific, present to starting point.
- THE GAP = Wrong way to measure progress: specific to general, present to ideal.
- In the gap, you feel as you’ve accomplished nothing because the ideal remains distant.
Chapter 3: Only Measure Backward
- The future isn’t reality, so it can’t be any part of your measurement of progress.
- Only use your ideals to identify your goals.
- Danger of visualizing the future: we visualize a reality that doesn’t exist and we get determined to make an ideal come true — which we’ll never reach.
- Make believe: any envisioning of a future result before that result has happened.
- Mistaking ideals for goals = we get very excited about the future, then very disappointed because we feel we haven’t progressed, then repeat.
- Progress makes you happy if you measure properly, even along the way before you reach the goal.
Chapter 4: Stay Out Of The Gap
- Feelings aren’t measurable and objective reality. If we reach our goal but don’t get the feeling we had when we visualized it, we feel like we failed = we get cynical/pessimistic.
- But feelings are still useful.
- We need to shift between different brain functions. Use the ideal for illumination, then shift to objective goal setting, then to practical measurement.
- Lots of kids are taught Gap-like thinking, striving for an ideal, and they become unhappy.
- It’s up to you to decide how to define your happiness.
Chapter 5: Always Expanding Your Gain
- Measuring backward is counterintuitive for many people.
- You can’t grow until you’ve acknowledged how far you’ve come
- For real measurements, you need a real starting point.
- Ideals don’t have a starting point. But goals must.
- Belief and commitment are different. We believe in ideals but aren’t committed to them. We are committed to good goals, and it’s not a function of belief.
- Commitment needs a measurable result and a date.
- Focus on a number or an event.
Chapter 6: Constant Goal Creation
- Your goals will alwasy be getting bigger, you’ll be growing, your achievements growing
- Protect your ideals by not using them for measurement because you’ll be disappointed if you do that, and become cynical about them.
- Being cynical about your ideals = damaging one of your most important capabilities: the ability to be inspired by your own future.
- Measuring the right way strengthens your ideals
- Be your own best friend and fan, not biggest critic, by applauding each step and enjoying progress
- Being caught in the gap makes you feel old.
- The Gain makes you feel energetic and enthusiastic.
Chapter 7: Happiness Is The By-Product
- Staying out of the Gap and in the Gain = finding happiness, automatically and predictably.
- Happiness comes from measuring properly, not from idealism
- Don’t think happiness is something you have to go out and get. Start with happiness.
- We don’t set goals to be happy, but BECAUSE we ARE happy and want to expand our happiness.
- So before starting a goal, recognize and appreciate your progress and achievements, stay happy at the center and get bigger, expand the truth of your progress outward.
- Happiness is internal, not from external standards.
- Ideas are for providing illumination to set measurable goals.
- Use an ideal that allows you to achieve goals in order to have better ideals.
Chapter 8: Three Wins Every Day
- Reinforce a lifetime of measuring 3 wins at the end of the day and visualizing 3 new ones for tomorrow
- A win: anything you can meaure a being better today than it was yesterday
- Focus on Gain not Gap/ Only progress matters: The more attention you give to good habits, the more your bad habits will get crowded out.
- Meaning and value aren’t given to us. We create them for every experience.
- You determine how your day was. don’t compare today’s value to other days because that’s going into the realm of the ideal.
- Don’t let others interpret or manipulate your experience for you.
- Tomorrow will come whether you want it or not, but you’ll be more ready for it if you’re not embroiled in the past.
- Once you measure your progress and success your mind will be freed from the past because there’s no more to learn from it, so you can look into the future.
- Look no further than the next 24 hours. Use the energy and confidence from your achievements to visualize 3 stimulating goals for tomorrow.
- Don’t dwell on perceived past failures — that’s facing the wrong way.
- Wishing = being emotionally attached to things you don’t have. In the Gain you don’t wish, you focus on gaining maximum advantage from what you do have.
- Every day you have resources unique to you — only you can say what those resources are and use them.
Conclusion: How Your Life Works
- Your brain and life are closely related: Use your brain to measure your progress and achievements, expanding ownership over your life.
- There is 100% ownership over your life. Either you own your life or someone else does.
- Give your own life meaning and value or someone else will.
- Only you can say what your ideals and goals are. You need to know your standards, what your future looks like, and how you want to feel each day.
- Measurement multiplies your ambition.
- Ambition = ideals + ability to make progress (which is neverending)
- Ambition killer: sense of never making progress.
- You will attract others who think the same way. Those who in the Gain recognize each other, are attracted to each other.
Expanding Entrepreneurial Freedom
- Aside from Gap & Gain, there are other mindsets that entrepreneurs get trapped by:
- Trapped thinking: isolated by their own disconnected creativity which churns out ideas that don’t translate into achievement. These folks need to liberate their thinking to create new practical breakthroughs for self + others.
- Trapped circumstances: surrounded by people who are unsupportive or oppositional, who guilt-trip them about their dreams.
- Trapped energy: using daily energy to sustain themselves without experiencing exponential performance and results. Instead of creating a growing business, they created a stagnant job. They need to continually transform every part of their business organization to become self-managing, then self-multiplying.
- Mindsets that help you multiply:
- Isolation to teamwork: everyone does only what they love and do best = self-managing company.
- 10X Ambition program: make breakthroughs to create exponential growth
- Exponential to transformative: Biggest competitors want to be your students, customers, promoters
Ready to live with purpose and power?
I’ve created the Write Purpose Manifesto to help you clarify your goals, discover your purpose, and change the world through your life and words.