The Gap and the Gain Book Summary - The Gap and the Gain Book explained in key points
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The Gap and the Gain summary

Dan Sullivan with Benjamin Hardy

The High Achievers' Guide to Happiness, Confidence, and Success

4.6 (1748 ratings)
20 mins
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    The Gap and the Gain
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    Take ownership of your own happiness.

    Dan Jansen is one of the best speed skaters in the world. In 1984, when he was just 16, he took part in the Winter Olympics and nearly won a medal. Nearly – but not quite.

    For ten long years after that, he was plagued by bad luck. Despite his brilliance, a gold medal at the Olympics continued to elude him. In 1994, Jansen thought he’d give it one final go in Lillehammer, Norway – but he performed poorly in what were usually his strongest races.

    Soon, there was only one race left, the 1,000 meter sprint. Jansen knew his chances of winning were very slim.

    But instead of feeling sad about another looming defeat, he brought a different mindset to this event. As he took up his position at the starting line, he thought of everything he’d gained during his career; the coaches who generously mentored him, the places he’d seen, the enormous satisfaction he got from skating.

    The key message here is: Take ownership of your own happiness.

    Jansen decided that he’d dedicate his last race to expressing his gratitude to the world of speed skating. This was to be his goodbye to a long and fulfilling career.

    So he raced with a beaming smile on his face. And this turned out to be his career’s best run. Jansen won the race, and broke a world record in the process. His positive thoughts brought about a positive result.

    Many high achievers struggle to adopt this way of thinking. They believe that they have to make themselves miserable in order to become motivated. Here’s how their thinking goes: if you’re too satisfied with your life, you’ll have no desire to succeed. But that’s not true at all.

    In fact, numerous studies have shown that when you’re in a positive frame of mind, you actually perform better. You have more confidence, you think more creatively, you become better at adapting to changing circumstances.

    When you’re feeling stressed and negative, on the other hand, you go into survival mode. This kills off any creative, lateral thinking. You also stop having fun at work – and your internal motivation dwindles.

    Jansen was so successful because he stopped needing to win in order to feel happy or fulfilled. Of course, he wanted to win. But his happiness became intrinsic.

    If you look for happiness outside yourself, you’re giving away all your power. Life becomes a treadmill of constantly hustling to get the things you believe you need. But you don’t need anything or anyone else to be happy. You can choose happiness, right now, by learning to appreciate your life just the way it is.

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    What is The Gap and the Gain about?

    The Gap and the Gain (2021) is a guide to finding happiness and fulfillment inside yourself, instead of constantly hunting for external affirmation. By learning to define your own standards of success, and by measuring your achievement backward, you’ll appreciate how much progress you’ve actually made, and experience renewed motivation in every area of your life.

    Who should read The Gap and the Gain?

    • Undermotivated entrepreneurs 
    • Successful but unfulfilled business people
    • Persistent ruminators who want to learn how to think positively

    About the Author

    Dan Sullivan is the cofounder of Strategic Coach, the world’s leading entrepreneurial coaching program. He’s published over 50 articles about the secrets to entrepreneurial success.

    Dr. Benjamin Hardy is an organizational psychologist and best-selling author of Willpower Doesn’t Work and Personality Isn’t Permanent. Together, they wrote the national best seller Who Not How.

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