On my way to reading 1,000 books before I turn 30, this was number 390.
I take notes on everything I read, with my notes organized by book and by year. My most important notes from each book get added to one master document and I sell these to raise money for Doctors Without Borders, the international human rights and disaster relief organization.
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If you think about something all day every day, then you just have to write about it. That’s how I feel about books and literature, so here are some of my notes and thoughts on the book, “Be Obsessed or Be Average”, by Grant Cardone. All quotes below are either from my notes, or from the book itself, unless otherwise indicated. Enjoy!
“I would rather others think less of me than think less of myself” — Grant Cardone
From Amazon: From the millionaire entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling author of The 10X Rulecomes a bold and contrarian wake-up call for anyone truly ready for success. One of the 7 best motivational books of 2016, according to Inc. Magazine.
Before Grant Cardone built five successful companies (and counting), became a multimillionaire, and wrote bestselling books… he was broke, jobless, and drug-addicted.
Grant had grown up with big dreams, but friends and family told him to be more reasonable and less demanding. If he played by the rules, they said, he could enjoy everyone else’s version of middle class success. But when he tried it their way, he hit rock bottom.
Then he tried the opposite approach. He said NO to the haters and naysayers and said YES to his burning, outrageous, animal obsession. He reclaimed his obsession with wanting to be a business rock star, a super salesman, a huge philanthropist. He wanted to live in a mansion and even own an airplane.
Obsession made all of his wildest dreams come true. And it can help you achieve massive success too. As Grant says, we’re in the middle of an epidemic of average. The conventional wisdom is to seek balance and take it easy. But that has really just given us an excuse to be unexceptional.
If you want real success, you have to know how to harness your obsession to rocket to the top. It’s a simple choice: be obsessed or be average.
Your Obsessions and Your Health
Everything is a paradox.
The wrong obsessions can kill you, and the right obsessions can sometimes be the only things keeping you alive.
I agree with Cardone in that unless you are absolutely obsessed with whatever you’re trying to get, you are never going to get it. Obsession is quite possibly the key limiting factor that is most depriving you of the success and achievement that you so desperately desire. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if you were really WERE desperately desirous of some particular attainment, then you absolutely WOULD become obsessed.
That’s how obsessions work.
They get a bad rap because the cultural narrative is shifting away from hard work, and instead moving towards the idea that we should be good at something already; that we shouldn’t have to be obsessive because if we’re not good already, then there’s something wrong with our approach…and we’d still probably get a medal just for participating!
People with the best of intentions are going to try to steer you away from your obsessions because they don’t think it’s “healthy” to have one. For all their talk about health though, ask them how many hours of sleep they got last night, which ideas consume their waking thoughts, and when was the last time that they really took a shot at something big and important.
Being obsessed doesn’t create problems for you but denying your obsessions definitely does.
Grant Cardone may not be the best role model in every single area (who is?), but he is pushing us to realize that we have the capacity to be obsessed with something, anything, and that we can then use that realization to become obsessed with something extremely positive.
We can put our obsessions to work for us, and let them consume us in the best possible ways.
People who are truly obsessed ask a lot of questions. And usually, they aren’t satisfied with the first ones that they reach. Philosophers like me have found that there are more questions out there than there are answers, but that in asking, we live our way into the answers. We don’t even know what we don’t know, but asking questions opens up all these adjacent possibles that lead to more, incendiary questions of their own.
But some people don’t even get that far. They’re still stuck in living by comparing themselves to others.
Your obsession literally cannot be compared to anyone else’s obsession.
They are completely and totally mutually exclusive, and so you have to ask yourself, “What do others have to do with the condition of your own life?” What bearing do their opinions have on my obsession? Can they live my obsession FOR me? Why are they even trying?
When you face adversity of any sort, become obsessed with the question, “If I could go that low and survive, how high could I go in the other direction?”
Or, “How far up can I go? How much more can I do?”
Maybe you don’t even know what your obsession IS yet. In that case, you can ask, “What do I do that makes me forget to eat?”
Obsession With Money
“Talking about money is more than OK, and it’s absolutely critical if you want to be serious about never worrying about it again.”
— Grant Cardone
You should be allowed to talk about your financial success. That’s one of the claims made by Grant Cardone in his book. At first, this was repugnant to me. I’ve literally seen with my own eyes children starving to death by the side of the road. In a world where billions of people live on less than $2 a day, how can it be morally responsible to talk about your own financial success?
And yet, I’ve softened on this point. Not to the point where I jingle my car keys in front of people’s faces to get them to see how expensive my car is, but to the point where I believe it’s OK to speak about the fact that you’ve worked hard, and now earn a respectable living.
I do believe, however, that this should be tempered by the explicit realization that a vast multitude is not so fortunate. Superfluous wealth is an embarrassment in a world where thousands of children under the age of 5 starve to death each day.
But you need to help yourself first before you even have the possibility of being helpful to others.
You can’t give billions of dollars away if you don’t have it. And maybe, just maybe, by talking about your financial success in a humble, self-effacing way, you can inspire others to become financially independent, which is a fantastic goal for us all to achieve during our lifetimes.
How do we do this?
Cardone points out that there is no shortage of money on this planet and it’s not all that hard to get.
If you treat people right and give them more than they asked for, they will happily give you their money.
By offering something of value, and promoting yourself to the people who are in a position to support you and benefit from what you’re doing, you can become financially independent, you can become an inspiration to others, and you can put your wealth in service for the greater good.
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Becoming Obsessed With Your Potential
“Your potential expands and reveals itself over time as you discover more of what you’re capable of.”
— Grant Cardone
You’re going to have to put yourself on the line again and again if you want to grow into your potential.
There is no such thing as a part-time obsession, and your obsession has to be with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s not “obsession” if it’s not always with you. You haven’t earned the right to call it your obsession unless it’s something that you think about almost every single hour that you’re awake.
Basically, you need to abandon the idea that some milder version of obsession is an option.
Obsession doesn’t give you “rest periods”, and while recovery is important, taking a break from your obsession means that you can no longer call it your obsession. It doesn’t work that way.
While we’re talking about giving up your obsession, anyone ELSE who is trying to persuade you to give up is just trying to make sense of why they themselves gave up.
An average person can’t teach you how to be exceptional. You need to be in the places where other obsessed people gather, and only take advice from people who are doing better than you are.
That’s how you grow into your potential. You become what you think about, so you have to fill your thoughts with your particular obsession. That’s the only way. See your potential in the future, that future version of you that has everything that you currently want, and pull yourself towards that image. See your potential expand as YOU expand, and let that incremental progress motivate you to keep going.
“Doubt is probably the biggest problem in your life.”
It’s hard for me to imagine the mental states of others, and what they’re struggling with, but it seems to me that Grant Cardone is right on the money with this one. Doubt is killing your spirit, and crippling your success.
So from now on, doubt and blame are dead to you.
They don’t exist in your world. You have to live in your own reality where doubt and self-blame can’t make you compromise what you’ve worked so hard to create. You work hard, whether you think you do or not. Plato says that you should be kind to everyone you meet, because they are fighting an internal battle that you know nothing about. Again, right on the money.
The best way to handle naysayers is to hit your goals again and again until they have no choice but to believe in you.
Obsessed people aren’t looking for permission or approval; they’re looking for RESULTS. They want progress in exchange for pain, success in exchange for sweat. Is that you?
Obsession Going Forward
Make big claims and force yourself to live up to them. That’s Cardone’s advice. This, however is a nuanced point. Should you make bold and outrageous claims? Yes, absolutely. Should you bully people into thinking you’re doing all these big things and constantly get up in their face, talking about how successful you’re going to become? Absolutely not.
Making big claims is the only way you’re going to grab someone’s attention, but you have to be able to back it up. That’s where obsession comes in. Obsession will become your motivation for proving yourself right.
When you tell people what you’re capable of, it forces you to operate at that level.
“Persist longer than it makes sense to persist.”
— Grant Cardone
As you progress, other opportunities will come up that make previously out-of-sight goals seem small. When I was first starting out in the gym, I was ecstatic when I reached the 150lbs mark. Now, 50lbs later, 150lbs would signify a massive goddamn failure for me. At this point, I’d have to contract some sort of horrible disease in order to drop back down to 150lbs.
My new goal? 215lbs.
But back when I was 150lbs, that goal would have seemed crazy and ridiculously out of reach. Today, as I’ve progressed further and further, it’s within sight. Same with Godlike Discipline, same with the Volunteer Incentives Program, same with everything else.
Grant Cardone and I wish for you to become obsessed with something positive in your life, like reading, working out, or starting a business. Obsessions can be the healthiest way in the world for you to get back to the real business of living. They can be the best tool for becoming active in your own rescue, while it still matters.
All the best,
“Be Obsessed or Be Average”, by Grant Cardone: Complement it with “The 10X Rule”, by Grant Cardone, “I Will Teach You To Be Rich”, by Ramit Sethi, “Peak”, by K. Anders Ericsson, Being Comfortable Is Actually Killing Your Spirit, and The Greatest Books of All Time.
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Matt Karamazov is a human rights activist, nightclub bouncer, and hardcore reader. He writes about books, self-discipline, and human rights at Godlike Discipline, and you can get his free ebook on how to radically improve your own levels of self-discipline. Between workouts, Matt is trying to read 1,000 books before he turns 30, and start a non-profit that allows volunteers to earn money just by tracking the hours they already spend volunteering. He would be straight-up honored if you would support the life-saving work of Doctors Without Borders, and Human Rights Watch. Here he is on a horse.