Wellness Book Review
About my recommendation
The Gap and the Gain: The High Achiever’s Guide to Happiness, Confidence, and Success is a great read to address the important areas in life that feel “stuck.” Often perfectionism is the reason many people struggle with making positive changes in life. Perfectionism is a form of anxiety and it makes a rotten motivational tool. Although the title of this book attracts the attention of high achievers, I have met perfectionists at all levels of achievement. Authors Sullivan and Hardy provide concrete steps to change to your mindset and behavior.
About the book
The authors note how deeply rooted our culture is in the “pursuit of happiness.” As Americans we are encouraged to seek happiness outside of ourselves- somewhere in the future. This mindset keeps us ever searching for the next pleasure and distracts from our present circumstances. Self-talk that repeats “I will be happy when . . .” suggests that where we are, who we are now is not enough.
As soon as we achieve our goal of completing school, landing a great job, finding a healthy relationship . . . our brain resets to the next great thing. I spoke with a new bride recently who illustrated this well. She informed me that many people asked her “when are you going to have kids?” at her wedding reception.
Sullivan and Hardy point out that when we compare our future selves to our current selves we are looking at the “gap.” We don’t allow space for happiness with where we are now. Any setback suggests that we are further away from our goal, which will change when we reach it. This turns mistakes into obstacles, instead of learning opportunities. Perfectionistic thinking thrives in the gap.
But what if instead we re-directed our attention to how far we have come? By reflecting on our
“gain,” we become motivated by our positive, forward moving progress. By measuring achievement backward, from now to then, we are grounded in reality. Then and now are tangible clear points in time. As opposed to the future, which is an idealized concept. This book encourages us to take a mindful pause in the gain to gather momentum for change.
Written as a business book, The Gap and The Gain applies to every day life. Moving forward is harder when you compare yourself to others, who have had a different life experience, or with where you believe you should be in your life. It is a paralyzing feedback loop. Whether you are seeking change in mental health, physical health, or relationships these concepts can spark a shift in thinking.
About the book authors
Dan Sullivan is the founder of Strategic Coach, a business coaching program that provides teaching and training for entrepreneurs. Dan has over forty years of experience as a speaker, coach, and entrepreneur. He is the author of over thirty books.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy is an organizational psychologist, blogger, and best selling author. His blog posts have been featured in the Harvard Business Review, the New York Times and on CNBC.
I hope this book is a helpful resource for you in your mental wellness journey.
Health & Happiness,
Dr. Lisa Marotta