“In order to get to the next level of whatever you’re doing, you must think and act in a wildly different way than you previously have been.”
This is the overarching premise of Grant Cardone’s best-selling book, The 10X Rule. While this book is more about goal achieving inside of a sales context, it is filled with valuable information that can be applied to anyone who is seeking to achieve a goal. I will frame this information in such a way that it speaks to those who are currently feeling stuck at above average and desire to become a high performer in life.
The 10X rule applies to the goals you have set for yourself and the actions you take to achieve them. To apply this rule you must:
Set your goals 10X times higher than you originally think is possible
Eg. Become the best circuit designer at my company → Become world-renowned leader in circuit design in the next 5 years
Take 10X times the action needed to achieve your goal
Doesn't have to just be quantity can be quality as well. Eg. Complete 5 workplace circuit design projects → Complete 5 workplace circuit design projects and document my progress on a blog
While this may seem excessive or fanciful, this framework helps because it forces you to stretch the target you are trying to reach and the steps needed to get there. Most of us set too small of goals and either stop short of completing them or complete them but, because of the goal’s small nature, nothing comes of it. Creating 10X goals and performing 10X actions leverages the two outcomes listed previously.
By setting larger goals and taking larger actions, even if you fail, you end up closer to our destination. In the words of my favorite artist Kanye West, “Shoot for the start so if you fail you land in a cloud.”
10X obsession and thinking are needed to become a high performer. Brendon Burchard in his book High Performance Habits and Steven Kolter in his book The Art of Impossible both stress the importance of becoming obsessed about the field you desire to become a high performer in. Applying the 10X thought process and actions in conjunction with your obsession can help you to achieve more, more rapidly than you initially thought was possible.
Grant shares 32 tactics for going 10X and we will look at the first half, 1-16 here.
(While I don't fully agree with every point Grant makes, I do think the 10X is a great way to set goals and actions. Any disagreements we have I will address as we come to them.)
1. Have a “can-do” attitude
One reason you may be stuck at above average is that you don’t have a can-do attitude. You run from opportunities that may seem unfamiliar or uncomfortable but in actuality, carefully chosen opportunities will help you grow by stretching you beyond your current limits. You have to have faith in yourself to overcome these challenges otherwise you will never surpass your current level of performance. This is also a signifier of having a growth mindset. A growth mindset, which was popularized by Carol Dweck in her book Mindset, is a way of thinking that re-enforces that who I currently am is not all that I can ever be and I can become who I desire to be with time and effort. Having a “can-do” attitude and a growth mindset mutually support each other in your growth towards consistent high performance.
2. Believe that “I will figure it out”
If you wait until you have everything figured out, you will be perpetually stuck at above average. High performers don’t know every intricate detail of whatever problem they are trying to solve but they do have an overall game plan (See HPH - Productivity - 5 Steps) and the confidence and faith in themselves that they will be able to overcome and “figure out” challenges as they meet them. Having faith that you can overcome a problem is more powerful than having a solution because there often isn't a clear-cut answer.
3. Focus on opportunity
“Success is overcoming a challenge. Therefore, you can’t really succeed without some kind of difficulty.” In this context, success is becoming a high performer. Whatever you choose to focus on is what your attention is called to because you have deemed it to be important and your brain as a result will start noticing it. This is a function of your brain’s reticular activating system. Therefore if you focus on opportunities to become a high performer, you will start seeing more opportunities to showcase and prove your ingrained and trained talent. Choose to look for avenues to express your abilities and you will begin to see them more frequently.
4. Love Challenges
Following along with the previous step, you cannot experience success without challenges. Instead of trying to avoid them, seek them out on purpose and train yourself to love and enjoy them. To do this, every time a challenge arises, instead of thinking of it as a challenge, think of it as a test that you will do your best to pass. Because “every challenge provides an opportunity to win”, you cannot win if you don’t take the challenge.
5. Seek to solve problems
High performers are active, not passive, problem solvers, that is why they are so valuable. To transition from above-average to high performing, you have to transition from being a passive problem solver to an active one. A passive problem solver is reactive. They will attempt to solve the problem but only when it is assigned to them by someone else or it becomes so big that it impedes their current progress. High performers are active problem solvers which means they seek out problems to solve independently. Although they may solve problems that sometimes seem small, they solve the small problems before they have a chance to grow into something more significant. To increase your capacity as a high performer, look for incrementally larger problems to solve.
6. Persist until successful
Rome wasn’t built overnight but it was built every day. Remember, in everything in life, your results are a lag measure. This means that your outputs are caused by an input and that this input has to happen before the result can show itself. There is also a delay in seeing the corresponding outputs for your inputs. What separates those stuck at above average and high performers is, high performers trust the clarity they have over what they should be doing and perform their tasks with excellence even if they don’t immediately see the result. They trust the process and persist until they are successful. Stick with your goals until you achieve them.
7. Take Risks
“You must put something into the game to get a return”. High Performers are comfortable taking calculated risks that help them achieve their goals. They are comfortable spending money, time, and energy in areas that move them closer to their goals even when a positive outcome is not guaranteed. Those stuck at above-average tend to never risk anything and see more potential failure than opportunity (see above).
Without taking the risk of different ways to spend your time or money, you will always be at the mercy of others and will remain in the same position you are currently in. If you want new things out of life, you have to do new things.
8. Be Unreasonable
“Being a 10X-er requires thinking and acting unreasonably.” Thinking and acting differently than accepted norms either inside or outside the workplace is also required to become a high performer. Having a morning routine, commitment to regular exercise, tracking your high-performing activities, and consistently and intentionally completing a self-education plan are all activities that fall outside of “normal”. But normal is equivalent to above average and when working to transcend into high performance, “unreasonable” behavior, actions, and thought patterns become necessary. Don’t be afraid to do things differently than your peers. Your goals are different.
9. Be Dangerous
High performance is not a no-contact venture. “To do something big, you have to embrace danger. The way to ensure that danger doesn't kill you is to be sufficiently trained so that you can get into the ring and come out the victor.” When seeking to become a leader in your field, the top performer in your position, or an expert on a process or material, you will experience danger.
What if I specialize in the wrong thing?
What if they don’t find what I am doing valuable?
What if I can’t communicate my ideas effectively?
These are just some of the dangers that can arise. High performers know that to ensure that they are putting their best foot forward they have to practice. Practice allows you to be in dangerous situations with confidence. It allows you to build acumen without the pressure so that, when the pressure is on, you can be more apt to handle it.
10. Create Wealth
(Doesn’t directly translate to High Performance but will address it anyway)
“The closer you are to the massive flows of money, the better chance you have of creating wealth for your own endeavors.” A way you can apply this is to identify the High Performers in your workplace or in the area you seek to become a High performer in. Figure out where they congregate or socialize and begin to ingrain yourself into that circle. This will help you to advance your performance because of your brain’s mirror neurons.
These mirror neurons are a learning device and because your brain wants you to meld with this new peer group, you will begin to pick up some of their habits and ways of thinking so that you can better fit in. This results in you automatically gleaning and applying the habits of these high performers. Whenever you seek to become world-class at anything, do your best to get around people who are already doing that activity at a high level.
11. Readily Take Action
"Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week." You can have the most optimal and detailed plan in the history of the world but without taking action on it, it is meaningless. Taking action separates above-average and high performers. Get in the habit of doing things that move you forward towards your goal as quickly as possible.
If you can’t do it immediately, designate a time for it to be completed and place it on your calendar. Do this because things typically take longer to do the further out we do them. Not only this but the attention and energy it takes to keep this task in mind takes energy and attention away from the processes and tasks you are currently working on which will affect your performance. If you can do it in less than 5 minutes, do it now.
12. Always say “yes”
(This is one I only partially agree with.)
While I do think you should be quick to say “yes” to activities that can advance you forward towards your goal, I do think saying “yes” to everything presented to you is a path to confusion, stress, overcommitment, and overwhelm. Say “no”' to the activities that don’t lead towards your goals so that you can say “yes” more to the activities that will.
13. Habitually Commit
“The successful fully and consistently commit to activities...Unsuccessful people rarely commit to anything entirely.”
Are you committed to achieving high performance?
Are you fully committed?
This doesn’t mean that you won’t have hiccups or backslides but are you committed to seeing it through until you achieve your goal? You need to be fully "in" on your goal. If you are not fully in, go back to the goals you have set and adapt them until you are. Like we spoke about above, you are going to have to persist until you are successful and that will be much easier when you fully commit not only to your goals but to everything you need to do to complete them.
14. Go all the way
“Half measures achieved us nothing.” Not only do you want to be committed to becoming a high performer, you want to be fully committed. One thing we often fail to recognize is that everything is connected. What you do at home affects what you do at work, affects what you do at the grocery store, etc.
For example, if you stayed up late at home, you go to work the next day tired and groggy. Because you are tired, you don’t perform as well at work and leave work feeling even more tired. You go to the store after work and because you are tired, you look for something quick to make and find something you can put into the oven but that isn’t the healthiest option. After eating this, your body doesn’t fully get the nutrition it needs and now you have to stay up later again to get more food. And the cycle repeats itself.
If you want to be a high performer, you need to live like a high performer in all areas of your life because only having high performance in one area means you don’t have your best high performance in any.
15. Focus on the now
“There only exists two times for the successful: now and the future.” While the past is important and unlike Grant, I suggest that you consider the past to find the patterns that are being exhibited in your life, the past is final and cannot be changed. The only parts of your life that you have direct control over are your present (now) and your future. To apply this, get in the habit of taking action in the moment.
In Neville Goddard’s book The Wealth Mindset, he speaks on limiting your perspective to only the present. Plan for the future but execute on what you are currently doing in the now. Focus on winning the moment and the future moments will take care of themselves.
16. Demonstrate Courage
Both Grant and Brendon Burchard stress the importance of demonstrating courage while pursuing high performance and a 10X lifestyle. Getting accustomed to demonstrating courage is key because following and applying the 10X rule will encourage you to do things you haven’t done before and stretch you past what you thought was possible. In a mildly paradoxical manner, you build your courage by demonstrating courage. The more courage you exhibit when operating at 10X on your way to high performance, the more confidence you will have in yourself and your skill, resulting in you having a larger amount of courage to utilize the next time you run into difficulty.
Choose 3 tactics to intentionally focus on improving this week
Write out your 10X goal.