The 10x Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure

The 10x Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure

by Grant Cardone

The 10X Rule reveals the principle of "Massive Action." To successfully achieve your goals, it is not enough to take a little action, you must undertake 10 times more action. This requires 10 times more effort and 10 times more discipline. Instead of behaving like everybody else and settling for average results, find out exactly where to start, what to do, and how to take action to follow the 10X Rule.

Summary Notes

What Is the 10X Rule?

This is the focus of the 10X Rule: You must set targets that are 10 times what you think you want and then do 10 times what you think it will take to accomplish those targets.

In order to get to the next level of whatever we are doing, it is necessary to apply the 10X Rule. This means that we should invest 10 times more time, 10 times more effort, and undertake 10 times more actions than we normally would or that we think is necessary. This rule applies to every aspect of our lives: spiritual, physical, emotional, familial, and professional or financial. Most of our problems in these areas could be solved by taking enough action.

The 10X Rule is not only about our actions, it is also about our way of thinking—our dreams and expectations. We should aim high to achieve maximum results. We cannot limit the amount of success we desire. Instead of thinking of a small goal, we should think about how to dominate the entire sector (and then, of course, take massive action to achieve it). Some say that setting our goals so high that they are unrealistic can lead to resignation. However, we are often more unhappy when we set targets that are too low and achieve them than when we are unable to complete extraordinary goals.

All of our goals should be extraordinary. Even if our goals do not seem extraordinary when compared with others’ goals, they should be challenging and move us to a better place. Only we know our potential and only we can judge our results and success.

Many people make the following mistakes when setting goals:

  1. Setting targets that are too low and don't motivate them enough.

  2. Underestimating the required amount of action, resources, effort, money, and energy (generally, we should multiply what we believe the effort to be by 10).

  3. Spending too much time competing instead of looking for ways to dominate the sector.

  4. Underestimating the amount of adversity they will need to overcome to achieve their goal.

Actions to take

Why the 10X Rule Is Vital

Never reduce a target. Instead, increase actions.

Too often when we miscalculate the required effort, the first thing we do is change the deadline or reduce the target. This sends the wrong message. It implies that goals are not important and instead of taking more actions to meet the goal, you or your employees will know that there is always a way out by simply changing the aim.

All goals that are attacked with the right level of actions are possible to achieve. It is important not to look for excuses like: “the market isn't ready,” “the economy is bad,” or, “our targets were unrealistic.” If you do not meet the goal, it is because you did not take enough action or you took the wrong actions.

When starting a new project or business, we are usually very enthusiastic. This enthusiasm is good, but we cannot forget that our clients are not enthusiastic because they do not know our product or service. To capture the potential market, we have to remember the 10X Rule and be prepared for 10 times more expenses, energy, and effort than we predicted. If it doesn’t end up taking 10 times as much as we expected—it is better to be pleasantly surprised than greatly disappointed.

Actions to take

What Is Success?

The definition of success depends on where a person is in life or what they want to achieve. In every case, and in every area of life, it is crucial to know that:

  1. Success is important.

  2. Success is our duty.

  3. There is no shortage of success.

We should never reduce success in our mind or in a conversation to something that doesn't matter. When we minimize the importance of success, it is usually because we didn’t achieve it and we are looking for an excuse to believe that “success is not everything.” But it is everything. Too often we misunderstand success by thinking that it only applies to our professional career. But success is also having a happy, healthy and protected family and a satisfied and joyful life.

Success Is Your Duty

The harder I work, the luckier I get.

Success is not something we wait for that may or may not happen. We should consider it a duty, obligation, and responsibility. Treating success as an option is why people don’t fully utilize their potential and don’t end up with a full life. Success should be an ethical issue, a duty to ourselves, our family, our company, and the future.

We should work for success every day. There is no such thing as an “overnight success.” All success is a result of earlier actions, which may be invisible to others. Luck is one of the byproducts of countless actions.

Actions to take

There Is No Shortage of Success

Success is not a commodity or resource that has limited reserves.

Most of us see success as something only for special “chosen ones.” However, success is not copper, silver, gold, or diamonds. It is something that is made. All of us can have it!

Even if we have similar goals, we should not limit ourselves by thinking about success in terms of competition and shortages. For example, if we bid to win a client and we do not win, we cannot forget that are thousands of other potential clients. We just have to find a way to access them.

An individual’s success is a positive contribution for everyone because it provides validation of the possibilities for all to see. Seeing success in action gives inspiration and shows that everything is possible.

Actions to take

Assume Control for Everything

Remember, although it may be happening to you, it is happening because of you.

Whatever happens or doesn’t happen in our lives is caused by us. By using excuses and blaming others, we will never achieve success. Instead, we should accept responsibility for our actions. We can improve the quality of our lives and reduce the occurrence of seemingly random unfortunate events.

To make good things happen more often, we cannot act like a victim. There are four factors that are characteristic of the life of a victim:

  1. Bad things happen to them.

  2. Bad things happen often.

  3. They are always involved.

  4. Someone or something else is always to blame.

Successful people are the opposite. They know that they, not some outside force, are in control of their lives.

Actions to take

Four Degrees of Action

Disciplined, consistent, and persistent actions are more of a determining factor in the creation of success than any other combination of things.

How much action is necessary to create success? The more action we take, the greater chance we have. There are four degrees of action:

  1. Do nothing.

  2. Retreat.

  3. Take normal levels of action.

  4. Take massive action.

Most people spend their lives on the first three levels. The first two are the basis for failure, and the third level provides, in the best case scenario, an average existence. Taking normal levels of action is accepted by society. That is why it is so dangerous. People think that they already do enough and don’t have the motivation to move to the fourth level.

Only massive action can bring success. What is surprising is that it is the most natural state of action. Children are in a state of constant action all the time. Massive action can cause new problems and criticism and warnings from others. But these reactions should only be further motivation to do more. When undertaking massive action, people stop thinking in terms of how many hours they work and instead think in terms of results.

Actions to take

Average Is a Failing Formula

Any undertaking that includes accepting average will fail you sooner or later.

Average doesn't work in any area of life. It can cause us to fail or put us at risk because it assumes that everything will remain stable. Only by rising our actions to 10X levels are we prepared for unexpected events or a series of missteps.

Taking an average level of actions is the reason that most new companies fail. When the initial excitement and enthusiasm disappears, people see that they underestimated the required effort, the competition, the economy, market conditions, etc. Success is possible when we take massive action and follow the 10X Rule.

Actions to take

10X Goals

Never set realistic goals; you can get a realistic life without setting goals for it.

When we set goals, we cannot limit ourselves. Very often we are warned not to set goals that are too ambitious to avoid disappointment. But if we aim too low, we are not motivated and don’t have enthusiasm and excitement. An average life is the result of average plans.

It is common to make New Year’s resolutions, but not many people achieve them. It is much more effective to make plans every day. The more demanding the plans, the better, because they encourage one to work to their full potential.

Actions to take

Competition Is for Sissies

If competition is healthy, then domination is immunity!

It is said that competition is good. It might be good for clients because they have lots of choices. However, for businesses, competing with others is not good. The aim should be to dominate the sector. Competing limits creativity because it is focused on watching what others do and chasing them.

The first step to dominate is to make the decision to do it. Then consider what others refuse to or avoid doing. Sometimes the size or set procedures of big companies don’t allow them to take certain actions which newer or small companies can take. Nowadays, thanks to the internet and social media we have lots of opportunities. What we need to do is use these opportunities according to the 10X Rule (posting twice a day on Facebook or Twitter won’t bring about spectacular effects).

It is important to be noticed and cut through the noise. When the right actions are taken, we will inevitably develop new problems to solve. Then the competition will start promoting our business by talking about our success and comparing themselves to our company.

Actions to take

Breaking Out of the Middle Class

The middle class does not refer to an income level. It is more of a mindset. It gives a false sense of security because during a crisis or other unexpected event it doesn’t guarantee stability. If we look up synonyms of “middle,” we will find normal or average. This is not something we expect when applying the 10X Rule to our lives.

Actions to take

Obsession Isn't a Disease; It's a Gift

Work is better than vacation—and it is important to have a purpose to wake up each day.” — Shimon Peres

Some people consider the word “obsession” to be negative. But to achieve big things, thought and consideration should be dominated by obsession and passion. When we are obsessed with an idea or goal, we find a way and the power to make it come true.

While most people put in only enough effort to feel like they are working, successful people perform every action with obsession and treat it as a reward. Children are a perfect example of inherent obsession. They act like this until society tells them that it is wrong. The ones who keep acting obsessively are called crazy and weird until they become successful. Then they are called geniuses.

Actions to take

Go “All In” and Overcommit

There is no failure unless you quit!

In poker when you go “all in,” you can win or lose everything. In life, the most valuable things, such as mindset, actions, energy, ideas, persistence, and creativity, never run out. We don’t have to play it safe, we can play “all in” all the time.

We often hear the rule “under commit and over deliver” to play it safe. A much better rule is to “overcommit and over deliver” and treat every action taken as an “all in” in poker. In business, many people are worried about delivering what was overcommitted, but when we apply the 10X Rule, we will be able to figure out how to over deliver.

Expand—Never Contract

Instead of following the pack, lead them!

There are only short periods of time when it is better to retreat to prepare to attack later. Most of the time, even in difficult times, we should take massive actions to avoid losing opportunities. Most people take massive actions only to the point where they meet resistance and then back off. When we meet obstacles, we should put in even more action and effort. Even without financial resources, we can increase our social media activity, phone calls, emails, e-newsletters, business meetings, and Skype conferences. Everything depends on our energy, creativity, and persistence.

Actions to take

Burn the Place Down

Keep taking action until you can't stop your forward momentum.

When we start taking massive action and gaining traction, we must continue to add wood to the fire until we start a bonfire or burn the place down. The fire has to continue to be stoked. This means more wood, more fuel, and in our case, more action. Once we stop, all that we have done will disappear.

Newton’s law of inertia says: An object in motion stays in motion. Being constantly in action mode, we become so used to it that we cannot imagine life without it. With every new commitment, we are more skilled, more creative and more prepared for challenges. The most important thing is to change our mindset to operate according to the 10X Rule.

Fear Is the Great Indicator

Eat your fears; don't feed them by backing off or giving them time to grow.

Fear isn't bad or something to avoid. It shows that you are willing to try new, unknown things. Most of the time, the things we are afraid of never actually occur. Fear is only an emotion and irrational thinking. If we are afraid of making a call to ask for a raise, we should do it immediately. Waiting for a “better moment” will not change anything. We will always find an excuse not to do it, and over time we will miss opportunities. Meanwhile, our fear will only increase.

Too often a fear of failure stops us. But failure doesn’t only come from doing something wrong. More often failure comes from doing nothing. Meanwhile, as you are preparing to do something (this is an excuse!) someone can steal your dreams.

Constantly feeling fear is a sign that we are moving forward. We are in new situations and have new opportunities. Fears are only emotions, and we have control of them.

Actions to take

The Myth of Time Management

The only way to increase time is to get more done in the time you have.

The first thing in order to achieve success is to set distinct and definitive priorities. The important thing to remember is that we don’t have to choose family or business or happiness. We can choose all of them, not either/or. It is possible to have them all without sacrificing one in favor of another. It is a question of how we spend our time. If one person replies to 15 emails in one hour, and a second person does the same in 15 minutes, it means that the second person has an additional 45 minutes to do something else.

Many people complain that they spend too much time at work. If we look closer, we can see that in reality, they spend very little of their time actually working. Many of them only work enough for it to feel like work. Meanwhile, successful people see only results not spent time. If we have to spend eight hours in the office, we should use them effectively. We should be glad that we have the opportunity to work, and then success will appear.

Actions to take

Criticism Is a Sign of Success

Although being criticized is not a pleasant experience, criticism doesn’t imply failure. It often means that people are jealous of one’s achievements. When someone gets attention due to their actions, it can be expressed in different ways: admiration, a desire to learn, or criticism. Criticism can come in different forms such as giving advice. This can sound like, “You should enjoy life more! It's not all work,” or, “Why are you spending so much energy on this?” If we know that we are on a good path, we should treat criticism as an indicator of our success.

Customer Satisfaction Is the Wrong Target

You will not get to quality without seeking quantity.

Customer service should be a secondary aim for the company. First, they should increase the number of customers served. This doesn't mean customer satisfaction is not important, because unhappy and unsatisfied clients will not return. But increasing customer satisfaction is impossible without increasing customers.

If we receive complaints, we know exactly what to fix: delivery time, lower prices, improve a particular part of the product. Complaints are precious feedback. If we don’t have clients, we don’t even know if we have a good product, and we don’t know which direction to head next. Most companies don’t fail because of a bad product, but because they never get enough customers.

Even companies offering perfect products receive complaints because it is impossible to satisfy everyone. We should not be afraid of receiving complaints, and we should always be focused on acquiring new customers.

Actions to take


All powerful companies, ideas, products, and people are omnipresent.

Nowadays, thanks to TV, newspapers, radio, and the internet, being omnipresence is possible. You can simply look at companies like Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Google, or Starbucks. This is the kind of mindset which we must operate under. We must make ourselves available everywhere. Our goal should be to reach over 7 billion people. When they think about our sector, the first thing in their mind should be our name or our company. Money is not the primary interest, instead, it is the concept of omnipresence. Profit will come as a result of our efforts to be everywhere.

People have to know us/our product and for that we need attention. To get it, we need to be present in social media, ads, the radio, TV, etc. The first thing that will leave a lasting impression is a commitment to our brand, idea, concept, company, product, or service. The higher we aim, the more fuel it will provide for our 10X actions.

Actions to take


Making excuses won't change your situation; only getting to the real reason behind it can do this.

All people use excuses. An excuse is only a justification for doing (or not doing) something, but not the real reason. We use them because we refuse to take responsibility for our actions (or lack of action).

Excuses never improve the situation. In the business world, saying, “I cannot sell my product, because the client doesn't have the money,” will not change anything. Only by finding the real reason and taking the proper actions can we improve the situation.

Actions to take

Successful or Unsuccessful?

Success is no different than any other skill. Duplicate the actions and mindsets of successful people, and you will create success for yourself.

Successful people talk, think, and approach situations, challenges, and problems differently than most of us. By developing the habits and characteristics of successful people, we can improve our life and be closer to success. These are not superhuman qualities and are attainable for everyone. It is important not to choose two or three of these habits, but all of them.

Check the actions below for 32 skills of successful people.

Actions to take

Getting Started with 10X

Taking massive actions consistently and persistently and then following up with more fourth-degree actions are the only ways to guarantee the success you desire.

To achieve change, the best moment to start is NOW with full commitment. Waiting for tomorrow or a better moment will slow the momentum down or will delay the changes forever. We should observe and duplicate the success of exceptional people and learn from them. Big thinking, massive actions, expansion, and risk-taking should be our new habits.

Actions to take

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