Looking to achieve success? You need a set of governing values, so The 3 Gaps by Hyrum Smith will help you! But it’s a lot more than that. When you have a personal constitution, you’ll find yourself making better decisions in life. That’s because you have values to guide you. Others will also know what you stand for.
Below you’ll find my honest review of The 3 Gaps by Hyrum Smith. It’s one of the best books I’ve READ.
All the images in this post are clickable!
Who Should Read The 3 Gaps
The 3 Gaps (affiliate link) by Hyrum Smith is for everyone. This response may surprise you. But every individual needs to craft a personal constitution, a set of guiding principles. If you’re interested in achieving career and life success, you need a set of values to guide your path. Most countries have a constitution, a set of governing values that members of parliament refer to when they need to make decisions and enact legislation, so why not you!
You will refer to this document all the time, especially when making decisions. These are your operating principles. If you own a business, you need a constitution for it as well. And families also benefit by crafting a constitution as well.
If you are participating in the Strategic Reading Challenge, when you have crafted your personal constitution, that will help you in choosing which books to read.
Introduction: The 3 Gaps by Hyrum Smith
For those who do not know yet, I went to Dallas this month to attend the eWomenNetwork Conference. Hyrum Smith gave a great talk, and I was so impressed that I bought his book, The 3 Gaps. Hyrum Smith encouraged us to write a constitution for our family as well as for ourselves. I commit to writing my constitution (Note from Avil: I have written my personal constitution).
But I wanted to read the book first, then review my notes from his session at the conference. I decided once again to share my notes, so that you get insights into how I take notes. Because Hyrum Smith piqued my interest about family and individual constitutions, I wanted to learn more. If the United States has a Constitution, why not me? I read The 3 Gaps to further my knowledge on the topic. I am pulling information from the book that interests me.
The three gaps that Hyrum Smith references, are Beliefs, Time, and Value. If you’d like to make a difference in life, like most of us would, you have to close the three gaps. In so doing, you’ll find inner peace. Interestingly enough, the people who are awarded Noble Prizes, do work that matters. They make a difference in the world.
Why Having Personal Values Are So Important
Before I delve into the content of The 3 Gaps by Hyrum Smith, I want to mention something that’s been on my mind for a while now. And it’s related to what I’ll be talking about in this post. And it’s evidence that you need to read The 3 Gaps and do the exercises. A few years ago, I read Strangers on a Train, and it has haunted me.
In fact, my post, “Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith: What’s Your Obsession?” was published in January 2011. I strongly recommend that you read the book. The main character, Guy Haines, made some very poor choices in his life – the kind of choices that the average person would never make. I concluded that if Guy Haines had a mentor or a support network he would never feel so vulnerable, allowing Charles Anthony Bruno to force him to do something that’s so wrong.
I still believe what I said about mentors and support networks when I wrote my review of Strangers on a Train. But now that I have read The 3 Gaps, I realize that if Guy Haines had taken the time to write his personal values, he would have made better choices. So if you are interested in crafting your personal values, or seeing personal values examples, or personal core values list, or personal values worksheet, whatever you want to cal it (you get the information to create your own personal values worksheet), this book will help you!
What is The 3 Gaps by Hyrum Smith About?
The Beliefs Gap: The 3 Gaps by Hyrum Smith
The Beliefs Gap: What you believe to be true and what is in fact true. Everyone has a Belief Window and it’s covered with beliefs that shape their behaviors. When was the last time you took time to verify if your beliefs are correct or incorrect?“Pain is inevitable, misery is optional.” Hyrum W. SmithClick To Tweet
How to Monitor Your Belief Window
There are four steps to take to monitor your Belief Window.
Step One: Admit – You first have to admit that there are behaviors that cause pain, stress, or chaos in your life. Next, you have to make changes in yourself to improve your life. This means that you take responsibility for yourself and stop the blame game. YOU ARE THE PROBLEM! Not your partner, children, employer, colleague… You. For things to improve, you have to change.
Step Two: Ask Yourself Why – Asking yourself why you behave the way you do can be difficult. And it takes time. But you have to get to the root of the problem to fix it. When you invest the time to ask yourself “Why?” you will find the answers you seek. Your answer may surprise you.
Note to Avil: This reminds me of the process I went through at a T Harv Eker workshop in Calgary in 2004. When I did the hard work, my answer surprised me. It was very difficult to replace the negative belief with a more positive one. I find myself reverting to the old belief.
Step Three: Adopt an Alternative Belief – Once you’ve identified why you behave the way you do, it’s time to replace the Belief with an alternative one. One that’s more positive that will serve you well. To change the Belief, you have to keep on practicing new behaviors that don’t cause pain, stress or chaos in your life. I think this sounds easier than it is. Read the note to myself above.
Step Four: Act as If: This is where the heavy work comes in. It’s difficult to change a Belief, especially if it has been reinforced for a long time. The way to do this is to keep on repeating more positive behaviors over and over again until they become second nature. You have to rewire your brain to respond differently.
Ways to Tell if There is a Belief Gap in Your Life
- Are you passed over for promotions?
- Are you struggling with addictions or other forms of weaknesses?
- Are you experiencing unemployment?
- Are you missing out on things that are important to you?
Your Belief Gap needs closing. Remember, the Belief Gap is the gap between what you think is true and what is actually true. You cannot make a difference in the world without closing your Belief Gap. And you can do so by applying the four-step process above. I like that Hyrum Smith acknowledges that the change is not easy and that you may face setbacks.
Note to Avil: This is making me think about certain attitudes I have that are not serving me well.“Wisdom is knowledge rightly applied.” The 3 GapsClick To Tweet
The Values Gap: The 3 Gaps by Hyrum Smith
The Values Gap: The gap between what you value the most and what you are actually doing. The gap to where you are actually spending your time, energy and resources to where you want to spend them. Everyone has a set of governing values, or personal core values list. The trick is if you decided on your values yourself, or if you are simply going with the flow, letting life decide for you. Your governing values determine which priorities are highest for you. They govern your life. You make them a fundamental part of your life. When making important decisions, you refer to your governing values.
If you’re wondering, “How do I create my personal constitution? See the steps below!
Three Steps to Close the Values Gap
Step One: Identify Your Governing Values. What value, idea, principle, or person, do you value so much, that you would risk or dedicate your life to that value? This is a tough question, worth seriously thinking about. In the book, Hyrum Smith gives a really good example. Ask yourself the question, “What’s important to me?” What are your highest priorities? What are your best guiding principles?
Step Two: Write a Clarifying Statement Describing Exactly What Your Governing Values mean to You. Now that you have identified your governing values, write a clarifying statement of what each means to you.
Step Three: Prioritize Your Governing Values. Now it’s time to rank your governing values in order of their importance to you.
By doing the Values Gap exercise, you have created your personal constitution (personal core values list, or best guiding principles). You can also do this as a company. And if you have a company, the senior managers can do this as well.
It’s worth mentioning that there are some common values that most people have. You don’t have to have these same values, but they are worth mentioning. They are a good place to start the process. Also, at the back of the book, Hyrum Smith includes his personal constitution. That also gives you more ideas of governing values that resonate with you!
- Family and relationships
- Physical wellness
- Financial wellness
- Making a difference
Now that you have gone through the process of identifying, clarifying and prioritizing your personal core values list, is there a gap between what you are actually doing, and what matters to you the most?
Ways to Tell if There is a Values Gap in Your Life
You feel like a piece of your life has gone missing. This often happens when you:
- Become an empty nester.
- Have a heart attack.
- Go through a divorce.
- Believe in something that fails.
- Have problems with a struggling business.
The Time Gap (Productivity Gap)
The Time Gap (Productivity Gap): This is the gap between what you want to do with your time, and how you actually spend your time.
Three Productivity Principles to Close the Time Gap
- Event Control
- Power Planning
- Managing Your Planning
Event Control: Understand that everything is an event. Dressing for work, having breakfast, commuting to work, and working on a project. “Time is the occurrence of all these events in sequence, one after another.” With that in mind, what events do you have control over?
The Act of Controlling Events
When you have no control over events in your life, how does it make you feel? You may experience stress, anxiety, anger, depression, or some other feeling. What are the things that you have complete control of? The only thing you can control 100 percent is you. Think about that for a second. You will experience inner peace when you get closer to controlling the things that you can control.
The key to managing the things we have complete control over is by planning daily. This goes farther than the other productivity tips. Allocate formal planning time. Look at the day’s activities in relation to your values and priorities. You can do this in 15 minutes. The time you invest in doing this exercise will save you time throughout the day.
Seven Steps to Daily Planning
Step One: Find a Quiet Place. You need 15 minutes of uninterrupted time to plan your day. Find a quiet spot where others won’t disturb you. Turn off devices so that you are not distracted by phone calls, texts, emails or social media.
Step Two: Seek inspiration. Find a ritual that inspires you such as meditation, prayer, or whatever source that makes sense for you.
Step Three: Review Your Governing Values. You have to build them into each day.
Step Four: Integrate Your Long-Range Goals. Everyone has long-term goals. Integrate them into your daily plan. That’s a sure-fire way to achieve your long-term goals, chipping at them every day.
Step Five: List Your Appointments. Life is filled with appointments. Activities that are time-fixed. Identify and record these activities.
Step Six: List Your Tasks. Tasks on your to-do list can often be done at any time. Be realistic when adding tasks to your daily plan. Make sure that you have enough time to complete them within the time you have available. Don’t overplan your day.
Note to Avil: This is important for me. I create a schedule in Google Calendar, but I do not adjust them daily, not always incorporating fixed-time activities.
Step Seven: Prioritize Your Tasks. Work on the most important tasks first. So if things happen outside of our control, the important tasks got done.
When an unforeseen event crop up, you have to decide if you have to take care of it immediately, or if you can delay taking action to complete the items on your daily plan. A rule of thumb is to choose the action that aligns with your governing values.
Movies Mentioned in The 3 Gaps by Hyrum Smith
Books Mentioned in The 3 Gaps by Hyrum Smith
You Are What You Believe, Hyrum Smith
Quotes I Like
“Pain is inevitable, misery is optional.” Hyrum W. Smith
“Wisdom is knowledge rightly applied.”
“Character, simply stated, is doing what you say you’re going to do.”
UPDATE: First Published August 2016
Should You Buy The 3 Gaps by Hyrum Smith?
The 3 Gaps: Are You Making a Difference?You Are What You Believe: Simple Steps to Transform Your Life10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life ManagementGetting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
The 3 Gaps by Hyrum Smith is very much worth the read. It’s a very practical book that you can immediately apply the information. While reading the book and doing the exercises, I realized that reading it should be a part of the pre-planning stage of the Read the World Extreme Reading Challenge. After figuring out their values, if people do not think they can commit the time to the reading challenge, they can rethink participating in the reading challenge. I am taking The 3 Gaps by Hyrum Smith seriously. I am working on my personal constitution.
UPDATE from Avil: I have written my personal constitution. Now that time has passed, I can say that The 3 Gaps is one of the best and most impactful books I have read! I constantly refer to my constitution when I have decisions to make.
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