The Gap and the Gain describes two ways of thinking that measure your progress in life.
Gap-thinking is focusing your thoughts on the ‘gap’ between where you are now and where you want to be. Gain-thinking is focusing on how far you’ve come, or the ‘gains’ you’ve made. According to the authors, both styles of thinking have significant consequences for your well-being. Gap-thinking is detrimental to your happiness, self-esteem, and physical health, whereas Gain-thinking improves these aspects of life.
Comparison is the driving force behind Gap- and Gain-thinking, write the authors. Both mindsets involve comparing your present self to something else as a measurement of your achievements. The direction of comparison is what differentiates these two ways of thinking. Gap-thinking is measuring forward, or using your ideal future self as the object of comparison. Gain-thinking is measuring backward by using your past self instead.