What kind of winner are you?

Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable by Tim S. Grover is the first book I’d recommend when it comes to trying to get more out of your life. Grover is unforgiving in his advice, and while it may come off as a tad harsh, I think it’s a refreshing change of pace from the “don’t be too hard on yourself” culture.

To Grover there are three types of successful people in the world. Grover is a trainer for professional athletes, but he notes how this distinction holds true in all walks of life.

  1. A cooler

A cooler is on the bottom of the totem pole but don’t mistake this to mean a cooler isn’t a success. A cooler is good. If you give a cooler a task, they will execute it exactly as you expected. In school, a cooler gets straight A’s by following the rubric exactly as it is printed and submitting all assignments exactly on deadline. A cooler waiter will never mess up an order. A cooler personal trainer will help you lose exactly how much weight you want to lose.

Coolers are good. Closers are great.

2. A closer

A closer is who you bring in to handle what coolers can’t. A cooler is great when everything goes as expected, but they can’t handle unexpected obstacles. A cooler salesmen can execute a perfect sales pitch that works 90% of the time. But what happens when the customer asks a question the cooler hasn’t prepared for? A cooler doesn’t adjust well;. A cooler isn’t who you look at when the game is on the line.

When you give a closer a task, they over deliver. A closer will do anything to demonstrate how they are better than everyone else. If you ask two salesmen, a cooler and a closer, to sell 50 cars each, the cooler will sell 50 cars. A closer will sell 55 cars plus 15 of the customers will buy the extended warranty. A cooler wide receiver will run the route exactly as he practiced, if a defender has him covered, he won’t be open. A closer will begin to run his route but when he sees that it’s covered, he will find a different way to get open.

Closers are great. Cleaners are unstoppable.

3. A cleaner

A cleaner wins. If someone is standing in front of a cooler, they stop. A closer will find a way to get around them. A cleaner, will run right through them. A cleaner waiter memorizes all of the regulars wine order and how they like their steak. A cleaner physical therapist will have you recovered months ahead of schedule.

Coolers do the expected. Closers do the unexpected. Cleaners do the unbelievable.

A cooler will never take the game-winning shot. A closer will take the game-winning shot if he believes he has a good chance to make it. A cleaner shoots. Coolers have great games. Closers have great seasons. Cleaners have great careers.

Michael Jordan is a cleaner. So is Kobe Bryant, Tom Brady, Tiger Woods, Derek Jeter, Muhammad Ali, Cristiano Ronaldo, Serena Williams and Wayne Gretsky. So is Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Gordon Ramsey, Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Taylor Swift, Angelina Jolie, and Oprah Winfrey.

What type of winner are you?

Take charge of your life

The first step to achieving your potential is to take charge of your life. The people that consistently fall short of their goals are usually the people who are quickest to tell you it wasn’t their fault. To truly achieve what you want to achieve, the first step is to admit to yourself that you are in charge of your own life.

You know when you learn something new and all of the sudden you notice it everywhere? Like when you learn the meaning for a new word and all of the sudden you constantly hear it in songs and read it in books. This is the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, and what’s really happening isn’t that you’re seeing the word more, it’s just that before you never noticed.

The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon is an example of how our brains tend to make special notice to certain things that it normally wouldn’t give a second thought. Our brains are wired to notice what we consciously or subconsciously want it to notice.

“If you’re looking for an EXCUSE, you’ll always find one. if you’re looking for an OPPORTUNITY, you’ll always find one.”

Mark Batterson

You are always going to be able to find an excuse for everything in life. No matter how much a person is at fault, they can find a reason why they aren’t. It is much more productive to find what you could’ve done differently even in situations that are not primarily your fault.

By making excuses, you are admitting that you are not in control of what happens in your life. You are saying that your failures aren’t your fault and you don’t have a reason to do better.

Those who achieve success have taken charge of their life. When they fail, it is due to their shortcomings and they will learn and grow from it. Best of all when they do achieve what they want, they know they did it for themselves because those who take responsibility for their failures are the only ones who can take credit for their successes.

Wake up 15-minutes earlier

I enrolled in Early to Rise University. It’s a three-week course that promises to help you develop a millionaire morning routine; making you more productive, in less time. Whether this program really works (separate post on my experience coming), or if it is just another money grab promising nothing but fluff, is still to be determined.

But one trick that has given me instant results just three days into the program.

Start every morning with a win

On the very first day of the program, my homework was to wake up 15-minutes earlier and use those 15-minutes to work on my number one priority in my life.

I have to say, it was pretty amazing. Not only did I finish a piece of homework that I would likely have waited ’til the last minute to do otherwise, but I felt great for the rest of the morning.

Not only did I feel more productive, but I was in a better mood with more energy.

I am not a morning person. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t advise talking to me within my first hour of waking.

But whether it was the promise of a ‘millionaire-like’ morning, or just the satisfaction of doing something I ordinarily wouldn’t have, I felt great.

I am now on Day 3 of Early to Rise University, and I’m writing this blog post at 6AM, and I’ve been up for an hour. I’ve already accomplished more today than I would’ve normally before noon.

So, try it yourself. Tomorrow, wake up just 15 minutes earlier than normal, and do something productive. Start your day with a win and let that momentum carry you to a successful day.

How to dominate your free time

Once you’ve started dominating your schedule to ensure maximum productivity; the next step is to dominate your free time and turn those moments with seemingly nothing to do into opportunities to close the gap between you and the you that you aspire to be.

Every minute of our life can be categorized into three types of time use:

  1. Investing Time
  2. Spending Time
  3. Wasting Time

While you’ve likely heard these terms before, let’s create a better definition of each so that you have a clear picture of how you’re using your time.

Investing Time

Anything that we do that will benefit us in the future is an investment of time, regardless if it benefits us in the present or not. Obvious examples are:

  • Going to the gym
  • Studying for a test
  • Preparing a PowerPoint presentation
  • Learning a new skill
  • You reading this blog post

All of these have obvious benefits to your future self, and for most of them, we are doing them with the future outcome in mind. Everybody who goes to the gym knows that they will not see results tomorrow and it’s probably going to be uncomfortable today, but they go because of the future benefits.

Here are some less obvious investments of time:

  • Sleeping

Getting enough sleep is key to be able to function at the highest level the next day.

  • Quality time with loved ones

Spending time with loved ones is an investment. You’re investing in them to make your relationship stronger for the future.

  • Take some time to relax

Some think that in order to be the best version of yourself you cannot take anytime to relax, everything has to be on all of the time. The truth is, not taking time for yourself can be of hard to your future endeavors. Burnout is real and going at 100 miles an hour with no time to unwind will result in lower quality work.

Spending Time

Spending time is the opposite of investing. Spending time is time which prioritizes the present regardless of future benefits.

Spending time does not necessarily need to be a bad thing if done in moderation. Taking a lazy Sunday to binge watch Netflix and eat ice cream may not be a wise investment, but one lazy Sunday won’t keep you from greatness. The key is to make sure these moments of spending are done with the intention above of unwinding so that you can be more effective in the future.

Where spending time becomes harmful is when you begin consistently procrastinating and putting no weight on how your actions will affect future deadlines and responsibilities.

Wasting Time

Wasting time has no benefit whatsoever. To waste time is to do something that has no benefit to your future and really doesn’t fulfill you in the present either. When lazy Sunday becomes lazy everyday, you have lost the tag of unwinding for future productivity. Your present isn’t being fulfilled either because of your constant stressing over upcoming responsibilities.

Spending hours scrolling through social media is time wasting. While a few minutes of social media may help you stay connected with current events or what friends are up to; this can quickly become a rabbit-hole that sucks away your present fulfillment and works toward putting off your future responsibilities.

Try to use as much of your time as possible as an investment. This doesn’t mean making yourself a slave to your work in hopes of a better future. Think of short term time investments as well as long term. Maybe study for 15 minutes everyday in order to avoid a night before all night cramming session. Doing so will clear up time and stress for you to focus on investing in relationships and fulfilling hobbies.

How to dominate your schedule


“Time isn’t the main thing. It’s the only thing.” – Miles Davis

Time is the most precious resource in the world and is one we cannot get back. We can’t create it, we can’t control it, and we can’t destroy it. So how do we make the most of the time that we have? You have to have some blueprint of how you’re going to use your time. Whether it’s a completely comprehensive planner that plans your day second by second, or just a rough estimate in your head, you must have an idea of how you use the 24-hours in a day that are given to you.

How to prioritize

Start with making a list of events that repeat from week-to-week and cannot be moved, like school, work, meetings, sports practice, piano lessons, family game night, etc. Anything that is fixed in your schedule and is not a one-off event.

Then make a list of all of the things you have to do on a weekly basis, but doesn’t have a set time, like meals or sleep. Other things that may go in this category: homework or exercise, if you read a newspaper or blog daily, maybe you have weekly plans to see a friend. Anything that happens every week, but doesn’t have to happen at a certain time.

Now make a list of all of the things you want or need to do on a weekly basis. Want to exercise more? Want to read more? Want to have more time to watch movies? Need to build in time to work on a project? More time for your friends or significant other? All of that goes here. Try to put the things in this list in order of importance to you.

Plan out your day

This is where we’re going to put these lists into a concrete schedule. You can put this in a planner or just have it mapped out in your mind. I like to plan things week-to-week first, then break it down day-to-day.

You’ll start your weekly schedule with the fixed items from our first list. For sake of example, I’m going to show you one day.

Monday

10-11:20am – Class

2-5pm – Class

6-8pm – Work

Now write down all of the things you have to do from list two, but don’t put them in your schedule yet.

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

8 hours of sleep

Editing for sports section of newspaper

Econ homework

Now write down the things in list three. Which of them needs to be done on a certain day? If you need time to see a friend, when are they available?

Dinner with Birny and JB at 8:30

Go to gym

Read a chapter of a book

Watch Monday Night Football

Now we prioritize. What’s most important? Start plugging things into your schedule starting with what’s most important. For me, I need my editing for the newspaper to be done by Tuesday, but Econ homework isn’t due until Friday. Dinner with my friends can only happen at 8:30, so we’ll plug that in first. Then we have to work in editing time and meals.

Monday

7am wake up – Breakfast

7:45-8:45am – Gym

9:00-9:45am – Shower and Get ready for Class

10-11:20am – Class

11:30am-12:30pm – Lunch

12:30 – 1:30pm – Editing for Newspaper

2-5pm – Class

6-8pm – Work

8:30-10pm – Dinner with Birny and JB somewhere we can watch Monday Night Football

10:15-10:45 – Read a chapter from a book

11pm – Go to bed

Here is my complete schedule written out. Normally I’d plan everything out in my head, but whichever way makes you more productive is the way you should go with. It is important to balance your schedule with what I call the Stress Hierarchy. Be sure that your schedule doesn’t have too many high stress activities and balances the ones you have with low stress, or relaxing, activities. This is why you want to schedule your week as a whole to ensure all of the high stress activities don’t all end up having to be crammed on the same day.

For me the gym, reading, and dinner and football with friends are stress relievers and help balance out editing for the newspaper, class, and work. Productivity does not mean constantly working. Productivity is about getting everything you need to get done on time and at a high quality. Without balancing the stress hierarchy, you will become buried in work and your quality will suffer.

Scheduling is a way to take control of your life and be intentional about how you spend your time. It gives you direction and keeps you on task. How you spend your time is the first place to look when trying to maximize your potential. Dominating your schedule is the first step to dominating your life.

You have 99 potential

Anyone familiar with the sports genre of video games has an idea of what having 99 potential means. Most sports video games max out their attributes at 99, so a player with 99 potential has what it takes to be a hall-of-famer; or heck, even the greatest to ever play. Nobody can have higher than 99 potential. But potential alone doesn’t make a player great; it means a player could be great. For every 99 potential player who became great, there are ten 99 potential players who nobody remembers.

I believe that the same logic can be applied in all forms of life. The difference is that while only a few athletes have 99 potential, I believe every human being has 99 potential. Not everyone who picks up a baseball can be Alex Rodriguez, but everyone who is born can be somebody. Another key difference is that for every one person who becomes great, there are millions who nobody will ever know.

You have 99 potential. This blog seeks to help you capture that potential and be the best version of yourself. The first step to becoming your best is to realize that there is greatness inside of you.

Paint a picture in your head of the version of you that you want to be. Be sure it is you, not someone else. You will never be a better Bill Gates than Bill Gates, but you can be the best version of [insert your name here]. Now use that picture to guide your day-to-day actions. Have that picture in the back of your head while you read this blog. The knowledge to being great is already inside of you.

We just have to get it out.