10x is Easier Than 2x

How reading this book a second time hit differently

Read time: 7 minutes

Hey y’all - Last week I missed publishing 2 newsletters for the first time since January. It came down to prioritization. The calendar is filling up with client work, personal projects, social events, and workouts. I started writing the newsletter Friday morning while at the lake with my friends but decided to put the laptop down and be present. I don’t want to make a habit of missing newsletters but it felt right in the moment. Anyway, we’re back on track this week!

Since January of last year, I’ve read or listened to about 2 books a month (so close to 36 total).

How many of these books made a major impact on my life?

Probably 4-5.

It’s not because the books didn’t have valuable information or weren’t well written. I just believe that certain books hit at different times. I read Ryan Holiday’s Obstacle is the Way two months after the biggest obstacle in my life was thrown at me. I read James Clear’s Atomic Habits as I entered into a phase of self-development.

However, I first read Benjamin Hardy’s 10X is Easier Than 2X while I still worked a day job. This book was written for entrepreneurs. I knew the book had valuable concepts, but I wasn’t in a situation to execute the ideas.

But now I am.

So when I saw this post from Sahil Bloom a few months ago, I knew I needed to go back and re-read Hardy’s book.

This book provides a road map for implementing the commonly misunderstood concept of 10x’ing your life and business.

Below are 7 mindset shifts I am applying from this book to get to my next 10x jump by the end of 2024.

1. Quality, not quantity

10x does not mean 10 times bigger.

10x is not about any specific outcome. It’s about the process. It’s a capability. It’s an operation system to deploy for:

  • Developing mastery

  • Removing non-essentials

  • Simplifying strategy and focus

  • Expanding vision and standards

  • Leading and empowering others

Instead of just doing more stuff, it’s about focusing on the right stuff.

And you get what you’re focused on. This starts with the vision we have and the standards we live by.

2. What got you here, won’t get you there

To make a 10x jump, we must let go of parts of our identity.

Hardy describes this as letting go of the 80% of activities that don’t serve us and our future selves. This allows us to focus on the 20% of activities that matter. When starting in entrepreneurship, I make the cold calls, answer my emails, and do the work. But I can’t do everything forever. I need to delegate those admin responsibilities so that I can move to the next tier of responsibilities: managing the team, building relationships, and working on the company vision.

Top achievers rapidly accept their new identity.

3. Be a wanter, not a needer

What if we only did things that we wanted to do?

We didn’t do anything that we needed to do or should do. No justification was required. We can simply want it because we want it.

It’s a fun thought experiment and it’s how Hardy believes we should live our lives. Wanting is about abundance and the creation of new things, not taking anything away from anyone else. It creates new resources and opportunities that didn’t exist before.

Living based on want takes courage. Since most people live based on need, wanters are outliers. They are judged. But so what?

Some fun questions to consider:

  • Did I want to go to college or did I need to go to college because “that’s what you do”?

  • Do I want to live where I am living or do I live here because it just makes logical sense?

  • Do I want to work at my current job or do I need my current job?

  • Do I want to go out drinking this weekend or is it just what my friends are doing?

4. Higher stakes require more space

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom

Viktor Frankl (Holocaust Survivor and Author of Man’s Search for Meaning)

This quote comes from Viktor Frankl, who learned this in the horrors of a concentration camp. Viktor found power and strength in the tiny amount of space that he had in an inconceivably difficult situation that was outside of his control.

Imagine what space can do for us in much more fortunate situations.

Growth, creativity and innovation come from making unique and sometimes distant connections. This involves new inputs and indirect reflection that can only happen when we have time and space.

How can we prioritize being present and maximizing this space daily, weekly, monthly, and annually?

5. The more successful we become, the more recovery we need

Hardy shares how LeBron James spends millions of dollars annually on recovery and taking care of his body.

When Tim Ferris interviewed LeBron’s personal trainer, he said “Recovery never ends”.

My recovery days and activities (e.g., sauna, cold plunge, stretching, and massage) were just as critical during my Ironman training if not more than the actual running, biking, and swimming. I spoke to an experienced endurance athlete last week who said getting hurt 2 weeks before his race actually helped him set a personal record because he was forced to rest for the days leading up to the race.

Taking care of our bodies for physical activity makes sense, but it works in other areas of life too.

Successful entrepreneurs talk about their most important part of the day being downtime. Going on walks to think. Spending time with family. Doing something active.

Just like our body needs time to rest, so does our mind.

6. Explore, exploit, & recover

Famous investor Paul Graham wrote an essay that distinguishes between a Maker’s Schedule vs Manager’s Schedule.

The Maker’s Schedule is an open calendar with long stretches to work on creating things and working on hard problems. A Manager’s Schedule is a typical calendar filled with meetings to oversee other people and make quick decisions. Hardy applies his perspective on this concept, breaking the calendar into 3 types of activities.

Exploring is when you have freedom and openness of mind to explore your curiosity. This includes reading, listening to podcasts, having conversations, and testing ideas.

Exploiting is when you are in focus flow and getting stuff done. You’re executing on what you’re fully committed to.

Recovery is giving yourself time to think and innovate. This increases the value of your time and allows you to transform yourself while others are on a time hamster wheel.

He encourages us to experiment with how to best incorporate these concepts into our lives. Sometimes it’s half days exploring, half days exploiting, and then 3 full recovery days. Sometimes we have recovery weeks and exploring weeks. Sometimes we have an exploiting month where it’s head down, full speed ahead.

The key is doing all of them, but at distinct times so we can focus on that activity.

7. Build a Self Managing Company

This is when we are no longer involved in the day-to-day.

We have a team that works for us without being dependent on us. We set the vision, our team makes it happen. We go from the rugged individual doing everything ourselves to becoming the leader of a team.

As we continually evolve and transform, our thinking mindset and identity are always upgrading. We translate these upgrades to our leadership team and they translate that to the rest of the team.

However, this philosophy comes with a big risk.

By encouraging the 10x mindset in our team members, they become so valuable that they are extremely hard to replace. But what’s the alternative? Create a 2x linear culture that doesn’t attract top performers in the first place? That seems more risky.

When it comes to building a team, the most common question Hardy gets is, “What if I can’t afford to hire someone right now?”

His answer?

We can’t afford not to hire someone. Don’t see them as a cost. It’s an investment in ourselves and our results.

Final Thoughts

10x is all about exponential growth while 2x is linear.

I could have never guessed 1 year ago or even 6 months ago that I would be spending my days writing, working with online creators/influencers, going for walks, and playing pick-up basketball in the middle of the day.

I had to shed my old identity of a Manager at a Global Consulting Firm who attends meetings, makes PowerPoints, answers emails non-stop, and only works out or socializes early in the morning and on weekends.

But the thing with 10x is it doesn’t stop. Now I’m at an inflection point where I want to make another 10x jump. Right now I’m doing all the work and all the writing. It feels uncomfortable and scary, but if I want to go 10x again, I need to hire someone to take 80% of the activities holding me back. I have to learn to hire, train, and delegate so that I can focus on whatever that next thing is.

This time, this book definitely hit me at the right time.

I can’t wait to see what my days will look like in December after another 10x jump.

Thank you for reading! As always please reply and let me know what resonated, what didn’t, or what you question. I love chatting about this stuff!