Is it Time to Up Your Game?

This post may contain affiliate links.  Learn more by reading my  disclosure .

This post may contain affiliate links.  Learn more by reading my disclosure.

I stumbled across Grant Cardone on YouTube.  Cardone is a motivational trainer and a real estate advisor.  I don’t remember what topic I was researching when I first discovered him but there was a video for Cardone, so I clicked it.  The guy was full of energy and charisma.  I liked his message and filed away the name.

Then another visit to YouTube for another topic and yet another Grant Cardone sighting.  I watched another video and another.  Who was this guy?

At the time, I didn’t jump to find more out about him until I realized a company in my industry had referred to something as TenX.  When I made the connection back to Grant Cardone’s The 10X Rule:  The Only Difference Between Success and Failure I thought I should take a deeper look and purchased the book

This is one of those books that blew me away.  I began reading it and then would listen to it on Audible while driving to work.  I finished it in a couple days.  I spun around and started the book again, doing the same process.  Cardone narrates the book which is fantastic because the guy has an unmatched energy level.  He often goes off script from the book, adding additional thoughts and comments.  I’ve never seen (heard) that done before, and I loved it. 

The 10X Rule is a concept about upping your thoughts and actions to levels you haven’t worked at before to achieve results you’ve not yet experienced.  The book was a fantastic shot in my arm, kick in my butt, and shock to my belief system [feel free to insert your favorite cliché here].

As I read it, I was reminded of the drill sergeants from basic training.  Cardone wasn’t wearing a Smokey Bear hat and yelling, but he was telling me I could do more with my life if I was willing to push harder.  I loved it.  That type of motivation was lacking from my life. 

Last year I’d fallen in love with the concept of The 4-Hour Workweek.  It’s a great book with some fantastic concepts in it.  I highly recommend it and will likely read it again.  Nevertheless, not all the principles work for everyone.  I realize now that some of those concepts I tried didn’t work the way I’d hope.  That’s okay; I attempted something different with my life.  Some people will never introduce a new concept into their life, preferring to stay stagnant rather than to attempt growth.  Growing is hard while stagnation is easy.  Unfortunately, stagnation leads to death while growth leads to further life.

Cardone’s concepts are about working harder and smarter than you previously thought possible.  It’s about realizing that we all leave a lot of our potential in our fuel tanks, never burning it.  Instead, we should expend every ounce of energy and pursue success in every facet of our lives including financial, familial, communal and spiritual.  The book wasn’t just about money.  It was about doing what’s necessary to achieve your dreams, whatever they may be.

Below are my favorite takeaways from The 10X Rule.

1.  Ten Times (10X) Thoughts and Actions 

We’ve all read or heard the definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result.  I’ve been aware of the pithy saying and thought I was paying attention to it.  However, I myself have done the same thing over and over and expected different results – insanity, right?  It’s funny, but looking back over my life I realize I’ve done exactly that whether it be finances, health or personal relationships.

Now, I’ve been able to break myself out of those patterns a couple of times.  With the help of books like Larry Winget’s It’s Called Work for a Reason and George Clason’s Richest Man in Babylon, I was able to get myself to a different place financially.

What I didn’t realize is that I was essentially still the same guy I was before.  I might have changed a few habits, but nothing had fundamentally been altered inside.  That’s because my thinking and my action levels were the same.  Oh, sure, there have been times when my activity level went to new heights.  Those have been short bursts, though.  Not long consistent periods of excellence and that’s what is demanded for success.

Everyone says, “work smarter,” but that needs to coincide with “work harder.”  There seems to be an idea that if you can work smart then you don’t need to work hard.  All that does is trade a different type of labor – mental versus physical.  But what should be occurring is a combination of them both at exceptional levels – we all need to 10X efforts we’ve done previously.

There’s another pithy quote that’s been attributed to many different people that goes something like, If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always gotten.

Cardone’s book made me realize if I don’t increase my effort level, both mentally and physically (smarter and harder), I’ll get essentially the same returns out of my life, even though I’ve started to invest wiser.  I won’t hit all my goals in life.  I just won’t.  My dreams are big and, without the appropriate effort and attention, I won’t turn them into reality.

I need to sacrifice if I want to achieve.  There’s a price to pay to get what I want and it’s just not cutting back on silly expenditures.  It’s about working when others are playing.  It’s about expending more energy in the gym when I’m there.  It’s about paying attention to the relationships in my life, instead of watching hours of television.  It’s about putting thoughts and actions in the same direction of all my goals.

2.  Success isn’t Achieved – it’s a Constant State 

“You have to be able to keep success – not just get it.” – Grant Cardone

This concept blew me away.  I always thought of success as something to achieve, sort of like winning a trophy in a contest.  Yeah, I’ve achieved success!  I’ve made it to the top of the mountain or I earned a certain level of net worth.  No, that’s not success; that’s a point on a map.

Think of success more like becoming a world champion.  Yes, you’ve made it to the highest level, but now you need to protect what you’ve earned.  You’ve got to continue to fight, struggle and grow.

The New England Patriots are the gold standard for American football excellence since 2000.  However, they are reviled for this recent history of dominance.  Oh, people can point to other things such as Deflategate and Spygate, but they really hate them because they are consistent winners.  Everyone hates the Patriots because of what they represent – excellence.

It’s not enough to go on a diet and lose twenty pounds - you’ve got to actually keep those twenty pounds off, day in and day out.  If you lose the weight and put it right back on, you’re not successful.  That would be considered a failure, right?

At one point in my life, I was roughly $50,000 in personal debt.  I read Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace and followed the baby steps and paid off that debt in under two years.  Then I went out and bought two brand new cars putting myself right back in $50,000 of debt.  That’s not successful.  That was stupid.  I failed.

It took me a lot of years to work myself out of debt and then get to a position where I started building something.  Now that I’m doing that I don’t want to take a step back.  I’ve stumbled with a recent business investment, a story which I’ll share soon, but success requires constant focus on growth and protection.

Success isn’t a point on a map.  It’s a constant state that you must fight to remain in.

“You either create success or you don’t – an it isn’t for whiners, crybabies, and victims.” – Grant Cardone.

3.  The Middle-Class Mind-Set

Here was another concept that I loved.  Well, truthfully, I hated it because I realized I am thoroughly entrenched here.  But it’s still one of my favorites because it pointed out a truth.

Cardone makes the argument that the middle class extends beyond an income band, that section of America wedged between the poor and the rich.  In this discussion of the middle class, he made a quick comment that a middle-class mind-set can follow you wherever you go, even if you end up making upper class money.  That mind-set is made up of “normal and average” concepts which have been sold to the middle class as being acceptable.  Do any of us want normal or average?  Don’t both of those sound boring concepts?

Over the past half-decade, my income level has put me above the middle-class income band.  Depending on what you consider middle-class, I'm either making upper middle-class money or just upper class money.  Either of those concepts sounds strange to me, and what’s funny is I continued to think of myself as solidly middle class.  I guess I still do.

I grew up middle class.  I have had middle class goals and dreams my entire life.  Yet, somewhere down the line I started making better money and buying real estate that will allow help me achieve upper-class dreams.  I’m not talking yachts and high-rise condos.  I’m talking freedom.  However, my mind-set still doesn’t grasp the freedom.  I keep thinking in terms of scarcity, not abundance.

Dumping my middle-class mind-set doesn’t mean I start eating dinner out every night and quit taking my lunchbox to work.  No, that’s stupid and exactly the opposite – I did that while I was making middle-class money and pretending to be upper class.  What dumping my middle-class mind-set means is that I start allowing myself to dream big, then set bigger goals and go for it.  I’ve held myself back because of my own fears and pre-conceived notions.  No one else is doing that to me. 

4.  Success is Your Duty

“Treating success as an option is one of the major reasons why more people don’t create it for themselves – and why most people don’t even get close to living up to their full potential.” – Grant Cardone

Success is your obligation, Cardone says.  It’s a duty for you to live your life to the fullest, to give everything you’ve got to achieve the highest results in your family life, your financial life, your spiritual pursuits, your health and your community.  Leaving anything on the table does no one any good, especially you.

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Here’s the thing – if you don’t identify success as your obligation then you’re going to spend your life helping others fulfill their purpose. When I read that, my eyes popped open wider.  I then reread that section.  Dude, that gave me pause.

There are people, all around us, every day, who have made something their life mission.  It could be their business, their family, their church, their health or their community.  They won’t let anything get in their way.  If we’re not doing the same thing, we’re either going to be in someone else’s way or we’re going to be a cog in their machine.

What do you want to be?  I know what I want to be.

That’s where 10X thoughts and actions comes into play.  We all need to be thinking and working at a different level every day, about everything.  You can be in better physical shape and have a better relationship along with a better financial position.  It takes effort (energy), but do we want to achieve results for us or for someone else? 

Instead of watching several hours of TV a night, are we spending that time engaged in something that will help us be successful in some area of our own life?  Trust me, I’m pointing the finger at myself on this.  When the winter arrived, and the sun started setting early, I suddenly took on the bad habit of binging Netflix again.  I’m not sure why, but I slipped easily back into watching two-three hours of TV per night.  I’m horrified by that.  I can’t let that happen.  Too much time was being wasted and pulling me away from achieving the dreams I have.

5.  Criticism is a Sign of Success

“No matter what choices you make in life, someone is going to criticize you somewhere along the way.” – Grant Cardone

I’m including this thought because this was comforting when I read it.  No one likes criticism.  It sucks.  I’ve been criticized and teased for silly things over the past several years.  Some have teased me for bringing my lunch to work.  I take pride in bringing my lunch as an effort to conserve funds and eat healthier, but the criticism still sucks.

I’ve been criticized for the car I drive (a 2008 Chrysler).  It’s in a good shape, but the other brokers in my office all drive newer cars and trucks (most with large car payments).  I like the fact that mine is paid off.  The criticism still sucks, though.

I’ve been teased that I bought a house for substantially less than I could afford.  Most of the other people in my work circle live in “nicer” neighborhoods with big house payments and HOA dues.  As I said before, the criticism sucks.

I knew those criticisms were in response to my living a more frugal life.  The funny thing being it doesn’t seem that big of a sacrifice.  Nonetheless, the criticism built a small wall of resentment for those folks who made their biting comments.

“The only way to handle criticism is to foresee it as an element of your success formula.” – Grant Cardone.

Reading the above quote made me reflect on why I was being criticized.  Sure, I was being teased because what I was doing was different. That’s the easy answer.  The other answer though is my behavior called into question how the others acted in their own lives.  The ones who criticized me were rarely the ones with a large real estate portfolio or a large net worth.  Instead, it was the guys who had little to show for all the money they’d earned over the years.  In that light, why should their criticism matter anyway?  It shouldn’t.  I need to learn to learn to let that criticism roll off my back and take it as a sign that I’m doing something right.

As you can see, I recommend this book highly.  I’ll read it again before the year is out, maybe even before the summer is here.  It was that motivating.  If you have a chance, take a read and let me know your thoughts.