Key Takeaways from Tim Grover (Michael Jordan’s Trainer)

As an avid reader I found that a lot of personal development books tend to repeat themselves. That was not the case for Tim Grover’s book “Relentless.” After completing his book and listening to hours of Tim’s advice, it is evident that he can help influence people from all walks of life positively.

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Sports Illustrated

Grover’s career started when he saw an article describing how Detroit’s physical play was affecting Michael Jordan mentally. Jordan had been explaining that he was getting tired of being overpowered by his opponents and that he had been injured from a workout by a trainer. Grover believed he had the ability to help Jordan. Grover contacted Chicago Bulls and was eventually able to speak to the head trainer and team doctor.

Grover got his opportunity to meet Jordan and he outlined a plan to help Jordan get stronger as well as avoid injuries. Jordan was initially sceptical as he was talking to a 25 year old trainer with no prior experience working with professional athletes. Jordan was the best player in the NBA and decided to give Grover 30 days to prove his worth. Those 30 days turned into 15 years and now Grover is the choice personal trainer for a number of NBA players. Some of his former clients include Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and Charles Barkley.

Grover is known for his physical training but much of his success is due to the work he does on his clients’ mental approach. Grover’s attitude and ambition had received positive feedback but it was his work with Jordan that instilled his philosophy. Grover developed a very unique outlook on the athletes path to achievement which is very much transferable to everyone else. Jordan was a great example of what Grover called a Cleaner, a strong- willed leader who is never satisfied with his achievements and has a dark side. A dark side that has a drive to succeed at all costs. Grover names two other types of competitors which are Closers and coolers. A Closer is somebody who completes required tasks and likes to be acknowledged afterwards whilst a cooler is a follower and is very hesitant to take initiative. According to Grover, most people tend to be Coolers with a small amount of Closers. Even rarer are Cleaners who are defined by a variety of traits. The main criteria that stands out for Cleaners is the end result where they don’t stop till they achieve the end result. That could be a NBA Championship, work-related target or a goal in general. Grover states that “the problem with being a cleaner is that it is a full-time commitment, which is very draining on an individual. You’ll see a lot of people bounce in and out of those, but in order to be considered an ultimate Cleaner, you have to get that end result, and you have to get that end result more than one time.”

A passage in his book “Relentless” that generated some controversy was his machiavellism approach. “Be honest: Would you be as successful if you followed all the rules and always behaved and never took chances? No, you;d be just like everyone else, scared about failing and worried about being liked.” This can be interpreted as encouraging cheating behaviour but Grover later states it should also be “within the guidelines of the rules.” Anyone that does cheat would not be considered a Cleaner as a cleaner understands that hard work is imperative.

Understand who you are

Tim makes it abundantly clear that you need to know who you are and what exactly is it you want. A lot of us including myself going through stages of life being lost and unhappy. That discomfort should be welcomed as it enables us to ask the tough questions about purpose and goals.

“A cooler thinks about what he’s supposed to think about.”

“A closer thinks, analyses, and eventually he acts.”

“A cleaner doesn’t think at all. He just knows.”

-Relentless, Tim S. Grover

The Zone

The concept of being in “the Zone” has been researched heavily by psychologists and scientists for many years. Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi is one of the pioneers on the being in the zone state of mind as he describes it being a state of complete concentration with an activity or situation. It means the person is so involved in the activity that nothing else matters. The zone is seen as the optimal state of motivation and is felt through great engagement, skill and where temporary concerns such as time are ignored. It is considered as one of the most addictive states. Partly because you’re considered at your happiest when in “the zone” or “flow state.” A mixture of chemicals (dopamine, norepinephrine, anandamide, serotonin and endorphins) mean that you feel incredible. Grover believes that cleaners must be able to access that as it helps when achieving the path of greatness.

Embracing your Dark Side

Bruce Banner transforming into the Hulk. Batman putting on his cape. We all have a darker side which we rarely show. However sometimes it needs to be accessed when thinking time is over and action is needed. It’s means letting go of self-taught limitations, emotions and social norms in order to succeed. Often it can be considered as the “killer instinct” that we all have access to.

Welcome Pressure

Most of us are happy to take the easier opportunities. We become satisfied living in low-stress and low-pressure lives which tends to mean we will have low levels of influence. Following Tim Grover’s philosophy, if you’re living in a relentless manner, you would be jumping for opportunities that will mean you are growing. Pressure is what makes us feel alive. It brings out the ambition, the killer instincts. Setting “impossible goals”, with a desire to prove yourself to yourself only. A cleaner welcomes that pressure as without that pressure, life is arguably a boring existence and just a game to get finish.

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Finance // Aarza Lyfe Foundation // Writer // Minimalist // Avid Reader 🌍 🌱

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