I don’t remember how I first learned about Benjamin Hardy. Not much of his advice resonated with me. However, one medium post in particular did. In it, he describes the concept of the gap and the gain.
“Your future growth and progress are now based in 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.”
And that’s all you really need to know. If you want two hundred and thirty additional pages of examples and anecdotes about how people experience the GAP and the GAIN, then by all means read this book.
If it isn’t clear already, I’m about to tear this book to shreds. But, before I do, here is why I’m giving it two stars instead of one. I have found value in adopting this mentality. I’m not a perfectionist by any means. But I have imposter syndrome. To me, success is always a moving target. By focusing on how much I have improved since beginning a project, new hobby, fitness regimen, etc, I am able to feel good about what I’ve accomplished. If I compare where I am now to the ideal, I am constantly frustrated. I’ll give you an example. I’ve lived in a few different countries. In my first experience living overseas, I spent years studying the local language. I worked in multiple jobs which required me to have an understanding of the language and culture. Guess what? I did it! For years! But rarely was I proud of my progress. Instead, all I focused on was how many mistakes I made despite having lived and worked in that country for years.
If this sounds like you, you are not alone. Celebrate your successes and try not to be too hard on yourself. If you really really want to read this book, here is what you have to look forward to.
If you need to write a book report on something that is neither a cookbook nor a book for young children, this is for you. Also, if you need to turn a nine hundred word Medium post into a book, you can use this as a template. In this book you will find:
- The words GAP and GAIN are capitalized throughout. There is no gap and gain. There is only GAP and GAIN.
- Single sentence paragraphs. If the author could get away with bullet points, this book would consist of two hundred and seventy-seven pages of bulleted lists.
- No less than forty-one pages containing nothing but a single-sentence quote in the center of the page. These inspirational quotes are eye-catching. However, unless the authors expect me to tear out these pages and pin them on my wall for inspiration, I don’t really need to see a single-page quote to push me toward action or enlightenment.
- Forty-four pages of endnotes.
- Seven blank pages on which you can write your GAINs and your goals.
- Four additional blank pages.
- Six pages of ads.
Benjamin Hardy did not come up with the gap and the gain. His friend Dan Sullivan did. I have not read Dan Sullivan’s books and I don’t intend to. The brief bio at the end of the book introduces us to Dan as “the world’s foremost expert on entrepreneurship and has coached more successful entrepreneurs than anyone on the planet.”
Not surprisingly, the forty-four pages of endnotes did not include a reference to support this statement.
My WTF moment
About halfway through the book, Benjamin Hardy writes this:
“Tell five people you know and love about The GAP and The GAIN. If you so choose, get them a copy of this book so they can live more in the GAIN themselves.
The good: Take some time to figure out what success means to you. Come up with a clear definition and use that as your goalpost. Remember to celebrate your successes.
The bad: This book – reading it, thinking about it, even laughing at it – was such a waste of my energy. I haven’t been this irritated with a book since I read Lean In. And that book was unbelievably rage-inducing.
* I stole the post title from a truly inspiring review of this book on amazon