The gap and the gain

Most of us hold an ideal of what we think tomorrow’s world should look like. We create expectations around these ideals and begin to set up goals to help them manifest.

The problem is that we set the bar so high, we construct a utopia with no mistakes, no blemishes; we forget you can’t create a perfect world.

It’s a destination that can never actually be reached.

Instead of spending our time making something perfect, what if instead we used our time to make things better? What if we could use our ideal as a compass to help set our goals?

Goals have a beginning and an end. They are fixed and measurable, which means they are attainable.

Dan Sullivan has an interesting take on this, called the gap and the gain:

  1. Look forward to the future to set an ideal of what it should look like.
  2. Use the ideal to illuminate what it is you should do. 
  3. Create goals.
  4. Achieve them.

The gap is simply measuring your goals to the ideal rather than focusing on the gains you’ve made from the start to your goal.

When we measure progress to the ideal, it’s easy to become discouraged. It never feels like progress is ever made. But when we can see that we have taken a step forward, by measuring the gain, it gives us the motivation to take another.

It is why so many of us fail to diet. We measure what our bodies should ideally look like and forget to look at the progress we have made. It’s just as easy to do this as a parent or as a writer…

We often measure ourselves by how we are moving forward. But what we should be doing is measuring progress by looking backwards.

Destroy the perfect, the perfect world we have constructed in our heads, and enable the impossible.

HT Dan Sullivan. Worth watching his theory of measuring success over and over again.

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