Book Club – The Gap and The Gain

Book: The High Achievers’Guide To Happiness, Confidence, And Success By Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach with Dr. Benjamin Hardy

Key message of the Book: When it relates to our goals and happiness, there are two ways of being – in the gap or in the gain – based on what our reference point is.

  • If we measure ourselves against an ideal, needs and wants, we function from a state of gap, lack and frustration.
  • If we measure ourselves against our starting point, we appreciate our progress and accomplishments, which puts us in a state of gain.

When we are in the gain, we are more likely to extract uses, lessons, and purposes from our experiences, in other words, we are turning our life experiences into either wins or learning. This type of living becomes a catalyst for more impactful and meaningful GAINS.  To practice our “GAIN” muscles, we need to build the habit of journaling and measuring our top gains, as well as defining what our desired gains for the future are.

One specific learning from the book: 

  • Personal development: The self-determination theory says that a crucial aspect of motivation and thriving is autonomy: “The more independence and ownership you take for yourself, your circumstances and your life, the more self-determined you will be.” In order to become self-determined and intrinsically motivated, we need to define our “success criteria”, our “I’m being happy/successful when” versus “I will be happy/successful when…”
  • Leadership development: We can help others see and appreciate their own gains by (1) asking them about their recent progress and (2) pointing out to them their progress. When we are in a difficult situation, we can help others find the GAIN with questions like: “What is the GAIN in this?” Or “How can we turn this into a GAIN?”.

Favorite quote from the book: Happiness is a byproduct of realizing that you are the destination”.

Additional resourcesHome – Gap And The Gain Book (

Growth Is A Journey book review is intended to represent 1-2 key nuggets of insights from the book, with an invitation for readers to discover the book in its entirety.

Published by Helene R. Johnson

Helene R. Johnson is a pseudonym. Living life as a mom and manager. Articles are also published on, a site dedicated to human resources with a focus on transformational change and development.

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