Book Review: The 10X Rule
The Definition of The 10X Rule:
Set targets that are 10 times what you think you want and then do 10 times what you think it will take to accomplish them.
Things take more time than you think, more money than you think, and manifest more problems and setbacks than you’re likely to predict.
Knowing this, why aren’t you building a buffer into your calculations?
Maybe you are, by doubling this number or halving that number. And you’ll be even more disappointed when not even these “conservative” estimates lead to your success.
The truth is, it’s not enough to assume you only need twice as much “X” for “Y” to happen. Problems multiply each other, like an evil synergy.
So do advantages, of course, and that’s what the 10X Rule is about.
The reality is much harder than you think. And, equally, your capacity is much greater than you realise.
So pile it on. Give yourself every advantage in the book, and do it ten times over.
My Surprising Epiphany
Goals don’t need to be attained.
I’d heard before the advice to be wary of goal setting, but each time I shunned it immediately. “Setting goals is clearly essential!” I thought, “How could it ever backfire?”
Well, for me it’s been backfiring for years. Grant Cardone said that in the first decade of his career he took 10X actions without setting 10X goals. I was the reverse. Huge goals, with very little backing them up.
I’ve only recently started to come close to goals I set four years ago, which I predicted could be done in a matter of months. I was hopeful, to say the least. And my high-sights were not a bad thing.
The only problem: I invested emotionally in meeting those goals.
Grant’s attitude is very different. He didn’t explicitly say this, but I read it between the lines, and it was confirmed and summarised by the man himself in a video podcast of his. Here’s the clip:
“Don’t set goals that you can achieve in this lifetime,” he quoted.
“Am I going to hit my goals this year? Probably not — Don’t care.”
Grant’s not like I used to be, moping around because he didn’t achieve some arbitrary target he wrote down on a piece of paper once (or hundreds of times). Grant is a more avid daily-goal-setter than I ever was, claiming to write down his goals twice a day. Like brushing his goddam teeth. And yet, he’s pissed if he actually reaches them.
How could he be pissed if he makes his targets?
Because if he does, he knows “there’s some meat left on that bone”.
If he hits all his goals for the year, it means he didn’t reach his full potential. He didn’t set them high enough.
It reminds me of Chase Jarvis talking about his first photography gig, how he asked for a price that was agreed upon right away, which pissed him off, because he could have gone higher. He wanted to go too far, so he could have gone back down to the highest potential price. It’s the same with Grant and his goals.
What does it really matter if a goal is hit? You get to add a “1” to your scorecard? Good for you.
Grant only cares about the meat, not the target itself. He cares how much meat he scrapes off that bone.
He invests all his emotion into the real-world results that he gets. The goal written in a notebook is nothing more than a tool to get his heart pumping with excitement, and to focus and clarify his mind.
The results make him happy. The goals just help him get there.
Like all the differences between success and failure, it’s wrapped up in a subtle little twitch, a slightly different point of view, which generates huge differences once it multiplies out through the individual’s behaviour. He loves how his goals make him feel, but he puts them in their place as nothing more than a tool to help him get what actually matters.
Is This Book For You?
I wasn’t ready for the advice in this book.
But it was still good for me to study.
Although I might not be able to implement his advice 100% right away, it’s a not a book to be taken literally. You don’t literally have to times everything in your life by ten in order to be successful, that obviously won’t work.
Rather than literal instruction, Grant is expressing a deep mindset of his that values commitment, boldness, bravery, ambition, and human potential above all else.
It’s very different to the ideas I’d been sold through internet marketers encouraging goals of passive income. It’s a needed antidote. That crowd says, “Put in a bit of work now on your passive income streams, and then you can rest on your laurels later and chill out.”
The 10X Rule slaps that out of you, saying, “Go after something you really desperately want, pour all your heart and all your energy into it, smash it out of the park, and then pour even more effort onto it. Expand, expand, expand, never contract, never rest on your laurels. You have the capacity, so keep getting better!”
You’ll get a lot out of The 10X Rule if:
- You already work hard, but you don’t habitually set goals.
- You’re a bit lazy, and/or you’ve been suckered into the “passive income” wannabe crowd.
- You’re bursting with testosterone and competitive drive, and just need the permission to erupt.
It will give each of these people different things, but all will be beneficial.
Think twice about The 10X Rule if:
- You tend not to think things through very well.
- You probably shouldn’t just speed up and do more. Maybe read the Farnam Street blog first.
- You’re burning yourself out as it is, and struggle more with energy management and emotional release than with a feeling of duty to success.
- Don’t aim to ‘compete’ in your sector. Aim to dominate it.
- The middle class is the biggest scam of the 21st century.
- Obsession is a good thing.
- You either expand or contract. There is no staying still, and contraction = death.
- Customer acquisition is a higher priority than customer satisfaction (since it comes first).
- Massive action will turn critics into admirers.
- Your haters will promote you better than your fans.
One place where this book falls short is in the claim that all you need is a big enough goal, and you’ll have the drive to take 10X actions.
This reminds me of faith healers rationalising a failed miracle by claiming the recipient didn’t have enough faith.
In fact, though Grant says massive goals are the key to massive action, his own story does not reflect this.
When he was 25, Grant changed from a dead-beat drug user with no direction, to a powerfully motivated salesman, with his eyes set on the top.
Sounds like a powerful goal was motivating him, right?
He says his biggest regret is that he took so long to set massive goals. He says he took massive action long before that day, and for the first decade of his career was setting goals far below his potential.
Clearly, massive goals did not motivated Grant to take massive action.
Only years later did his ambition “catch up” with his work ethic.
So what did motivate him?……
(i.e. How the hell can I replicate this level of drive?)
Not so sexy, right?
(Also, not as easy as goal-setting to sit down “do”.)
At 25, Grant says, his life changed, “when I stopped casually waiting for success and instead started to approach it as a duty, obligation, and responsibility.”
When you make that little mental twitch of, “This is my duty”, two things happen:
- The power to push through fear and other obstacles grows. Think of a soldier fighting for his country.
- Resistance to tedium diminishes. Think of a single mom working three menial jobs for years on end to feed her kids. Or if you think this Mum is driven by love more than duty, simply think of an employee getting up early every day to go to work.
The belief of duty is powerful. More powerful, perhaps surprisingly, than desire to attain a goal, not matter how exciting the goal is.
So why would Grant claim that people should focus on goal setting to find their motivation? I’ve heard it many times before from other sources. Perhaps it’s such an attractive part of a motivational speaker’s “spiel”, because goal setting is easy to grasp, fun to do, and gives people an immediate feeling of progress.
It’s easy to judge them if that’s they’re reason for misdirecting people’s attention.
But in their defense, how to you install a sense of duty in someone? Can you do it by writing down a duty-affirmation 10 times every day?
It’s worth a shot.
It’s so much sexier to write down an amazing goal, point to the excited feeling you experience and say, “This feeling will get you there, so keep writing it down every day!”
But it doesn’t work like that. The feeling diminishes. It’s not sustainable enough…not strong enough.
What is stronger?
A sincere belief of purpose.
Grant believes it is his purpose to be successful.
I love that.
Additional Recommended Reading
The Power of Full Engagement — Important for anyone who wants to implement Grant’s strategy to life is a solid understanding of energy management.
Rejection Proof — If you want to take massive amounts of action, you can’t let a silly thing like fear of rejection get in the way.
Work The System — Because if you’re working like a maniac, at least some of it should go towards be building self-sustaining systems.
This article was originally posted here, on my personal blog.