The Gap And The Gain (Summary & Review)

AttitudeLifeMindsetPersonal DevelopmentSuccess

What’s in it? Quick Summary

The book discusses that it’s possible to feel like a failure despite having so many achievements. And suggests that it’s best to focus on our gains instead of losses and failures.

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You can buy the book in your preferable format below.

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About the author

According to his website, Dan Sullivan is expert on entrepreneurship and the cofounder of Strategic Coach, the world’s leading entrepreneurial coaching program.

He has authored over 50 publications on entrepreneurial success and has coached more successful entrepreneurs than anyone else on the planet.

Bullet Summary: The Gap And The Gain

  • The pursuit of happiness can actually make us unhappy.
  • Happiness is a choice but only if we realize that the choice exists.
  • You can have a bad life and still be happy.
  • The pursuit of happiness is like chasing a mirage.
  • Money cannot buy happiness beyond a certain point.
  • Living with gratitude can make us happier.
  • Success is subjective, and it’s important to define what it means to us.
  • We should focus on the present and appreciate what we have.
  • We should frame our experiences in terms of gains rather than losses.
  • We should compare our present self to our past self to measure our progress.

The Gap And The Gain Detailed Summary

Do you feel like a failure despite having so many achievements?

If yes, then this book summary will help you.

The author of this book, Dan Sullivan, is expert on entrepreneurship and the cofounder of Strategic Coach, the world’s leading entrepreneurial coaching program.

He has authored over 50 publications on entrepreneurial success and has coached more successful entrepreneurs than anyone else on the planet.

In this video, you’ll learn why it’s important to focus more on what you have gained than what you have lost from your experiences.

Alrighty, so without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Lesson #1: Happiness is a choice. But only for those who realize that the choice exists.

Some people are happy, while some are sad.

All of us would agree, right?


What if there was another way?

You can have a terrible life and still choose to be happy.

Wondering how?

Let’s discuss.

Everybody is pursuing happiness, which is fine.

But do you know that the very pursuit of happiness makes you sad?

That’s because only when you are sad will you pursue happiness.

This is why we must stop pursuing happiness.

The pursuit will never fully satisfy us.

Pay attention to your self-talk.

Turn your focus inwards.

Ask yourself:

Why do I feel sad?

Why do I have time to feel sad when I can simply not give a F#ck about it?

Stop watching those movies and social media posts that disconnect you from the reality.

It is not always necessary to feel happy.

Society and media has conditioned to think that you are missing something — that you should constantly be seeking happiness and fun all the time.

We have all unconsciously created a hole in our mental world that we are constantly trying to fill.

We believe that something in the outer world, be it be an object, a person, or an experience, can fill the void within us. This is why we are constantly striving to find happiness.

We don’t realize that by constantly chasing happiness, we are giving away all our powers — we are making ourselves weaker and helpless.

All happiness is temporary and fleeting.

And just to be clear: Happiness is not the problem itself. The blind chase of happiness is the root problem here.

The good thing is:

Happiness can be found in the present moment. It’s not always in the future. That’s true only when you realize you can take ownership of your life — you can choose how you react to your feelings or emotions.

Lesson #2: You can be a successful person and yet still be unhappy.

Money beyond a point will stop making you happy.

Because not all problems are material.

For example, you can have everything and still live with a fear of losing everything and worry about the future.

The solution? Live with gratitude.

Be happy about the things you already have.

This might sound weird, but it works.

When you are focusing on what you have, you are worried less about the things that you don’t have.

In fact, most of us tend to worry for no reason because of that sense of missing out.

Remember, the problem is within us. We first create the problems in our minds without realizing. And then we try to fix them externally, and that too in the wrong places.

This is the one of the reasons we feel stuck time to time and get frustrated with life.

The author talks about how most people focus on ideal situations instead of appreciating what they are experiencing in the present moment.

They are constantly thinking about how their present could be better.

Now, don’t get this wrong.

Thinking for a better future isn’t always wrong.

However, always worrying about the future shouldn’t become a habit.

What’s the point if you aren’t enjoying the present moment and constantly worrying how things could be better?

Remember, anything in extreme can cause problems.

If you are over planning everything, you are not enjoying the uncertainties life is presenting you right now.

You are always trying to control the future, hoping for the best.

For instance, many people who go through self-improvement sometimes forget how far they’ve come.

No matter what you achieve, you’ll never feel truly satisfied.

In the end, we can choose to be happy in the present moment, regardless of how good or bad our situation is.

The author calls this “Living in The Gain.”

When you live in the Gain, you are in the present moment, enjoying all the things life is throwing at you.

The opposite of this is “Living in The Gap.”

When you are in the Gap, instead of enjoying the present, you choose to worry about the future.

The problem with living in the Gap is that ideal scenarios are less likely to happen, which means chances are you’ll be in the same state of worrying, if your expectations aren’t met in the future.

In simple words, people who choose to live in Gap remain unhappy even if they become successful.

That’s because “Success” is always subjective.

If you achieve X, you can always say that you deserve Y. Because Y is better than X.

Lesson #3: Never frame your bad experiences as losses.

No matter how much positive content you consume on the internet, the reality of life is that it’s going to give you a lot of pain, loss, and suffering.

It might sound bad at first.

But it’s actually a great thing.

That’s because suffering makes human stronger.

Every loss or failure you experience, it gives you experience.

With that said, if you are into self-improvement, chances are that you already know this much.

So we need to get one step further and think about how we can use this information to our advantage.

The author suggests that every time you experience a loss, think about what you can learn from that experience.

Any usual person, upon experiencing loss, would spend most of the time calculating what they lost.

However, that’s not a healthy approach.

If you think what you gained from it, if you think what valuable learning you gained from that bad experience, you get ahead from hundreds of other people who kept thinking about the loss.

Let’s be clear about one thing.

Thinking about the gain doesn’t mean that the loss never happened.

By thinking about the gains, we are actually framing ourselves and trying to trigger the most productive behavior.

Framing is also used in marketing, by the way.

You are being framed by other people all the time.

This time, you are reversing the technique and taking the control.

If you keep framing yourself and focus on the gains consistently, you’ll become a very mature person in a few years.

Remember, you can always frame any experience as a loss or gain, it’s your choice.

Why not use this choice properly, and keep our mindset aligned with what we want to achieve?

Do you know why most people tend to focus way too much on their failures?

The reason is that people have glorified success over time.

Every social story glorifies victories.

They all silently ignore failures as they are boring and depressing.

Failures wake us up to the reality.

Anybody who hasn’t failed many times hasn’t really tried anything.

Normalize failures in your daily life.

Let your heart be broken to become stronger.

Don’t take negative feedbacks personally.

Always keep asking “What can I learn from this thing, person, or experience?”

This sentence alone will keep you on the right track.

Lesson #4: Find your reference point of “Success.”

We keep hearing the word “Success” all the time on social media.

And therefore we think that we know what success means.

But in reality, what we really know is “what success means for others.”

Success is an overused word thrown around by the people. And every time its meaning depends on the worldview of the person using it.

Now, if you want to be successful, you must know very clearly what success means for you.

That’s because if you don’t have your own definition of “success,” then you are operating on other people’s definition of success.

Think about it.

In other words, your reference point of success is outside you.

Even if you get the success, which is based on other people’s ideas, then technically it’s not your success.

The key is to find your internal reference point of success. In simple, you have to sit down and think, “what does ‘success’ mean to you?”

Another reason this is so important is because, if you don’t know what you want, you’ll be controlled by other people. And not just that, you will be operating in scarcity.

For example, for many people, becoming a multi-millionaire is success.

But what if you are a person who just wants to live a simple life? Maybe you don’t need to become a billionaire to become successful.

Your success may be different from other people.

You don’t really need external validation to be called successful.

You’ll never be able to satisfy other people anyway.

It’s much better to mind your own business and become successful based on your definition.

Remember, if you don’t know what success means for you, you really need to think.

These days, social media is flooded with content that keeps talking about success as if they have figured everything out in life. They do this to keep you hooked.

They all are operating on general ideas and treat you the same as everybody else.

In simple words, they are teaching you to be successful based on their idea of “success,” not on yours.

And if you follow all their ideas without thinking about how you want to design your life, you are becoming their product.

You are giving your reference point of success to them.

Bring it back to you!

You don’t always have to rely on other people’s opinions to become successful.

What if you are super smart with a great vision, but other people with a narrow worldview don’t understand you?

They will never give you any sort of validation.

Not because they are bad, but because they can’t understand.

That’s why it’s a waste of energy!

Know what you exactly want. And just give your all to achieve it!

Lesson #5: Never forget the progress you have achieved by overcoming so many obstacles in the past.

When you keep working on yourself, you become used to learning new things.

Once you have mastered a task or reached a certain level of proficiency, it becomes automatic and unconscious. It feels like second nature.

This makes us forget that we have reached a greater level compared to earlier.

We often forget all the things that we are capable of doing right now, which were impossible in the past.

The author suggests that we keep track of the obstacles or struggles we have overcome in our lives.

Otherwise, we’ll forget the progress and think that we’re not good enough yet.

The author recommends that you do journaling.

This might look like a lot of extra work, but it barely takes 4-5 minutes when you make it a habit.

Simply think about all the things in you achieve last 3 months or 6 months. And note them down.

After this, think about what will you achieve in the next 4-5 months.

What skill will you learn next?

Moreover, as discussed earlier, how we measure our progress matters a lot.

If you constantly measure your progress against other people, you will never feel confident in your abilities.

Always compare your present self with your past self.

Surprise yourself with your own progress.

If you are consciously working on your goals, you already have lesser competition.

Don’t worry about impressing other people with your growth. That will happen naturally as a by-product.

Finally always remember the things you learned today.

Remember, you can be a high achiever and still feel like a failure.

It’s all about the mindset.

If your mindset isn’t properly set, no amount of success will bring you long-term happiness.

The Gap And The Gain Review

I enjoyed reading about the concept of Gap and Gain, as the title suggests. It was a fresh approach, and while not entirely new, understanding things in terms of Gap and Gain makes them easier to grasp.

Whenever I face a problem, I now ask myself, “Am I living in the Gain or in the Gap?” I believe this book is worth reading, as it is easy to understand and suitable for beginners.

However, some readers may find the book repetitive after the first few chapters. Many readers on Goodreads have complained about this, suggesting that the book could have been condensed into a long-form article.

I do not agree with them, though.

Another point worth mentioning is that some case studies are taken from other books. I noticed this because I had previously read about those same studies elsewhere.

However, I do not think this detracts from the book’s overall value.

In conclusion, I had a great experience reading this book and recommend it to others.

You can buy the book in your preferable format below.

Get the Audiobook: Listen free with Audible Trial

Get the Hardcover version: View price on Amazon

Get the Paperback version: View price on Amazon

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed this book summary.

Are you ready to live in the Gain?

Now you tell me:

What are your best takeaways from this book summary?

Do you have some feedback?

You can contact me anytime and let me know.

Spread the wisdom:

If you liked this, don’t hesitate to share it with your friends and family members.

Thanks for reading.

Shami Manohar

The Brain Behind

I am Shami Manohar, the founder of WizBuskOut. My obsession with non-fiction books has fueled me with the energy to create this website. I read at least one book every week on topics such as business, critical thinking, mindset, psychology, and more.

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