10x is easier than 2x by Benjamin Hardy - my notes

  • Solid ideas, but would have benefited from a larger number of specific, modern examples. Also quite repetitive.
  • Some chapters seemed very out of place. They were short summaries of other books by the author and the connections to this book felt very forced. Seemed like they were only included to make the book longer.
  • Arguably the most important question (“how exactly do you identify the 20% you should focus on to 10x”) wasn’t really answered.
  • Overall a 6/10 for me.

Big Ideas

  • 10x is easier than 2x because it clarifies what you should focus on. Most things won’t work anymore if you go 10x or will not help to get you there. So a 10x approach makes things easier because it helps you understand what to focus on. With 2x goals there are too many possible paths. With 10x goals the options are limted and that’s a good thing.
  • 10x is easier because there is less competition. Everyone is convinced they can’t accomplish big things, so everyone tries to do small things. Hence there is much tougher competition for small goals.
  • 10x is easier because it energizes and inspires. It is much easier to recruit and motivate amazing people if you have 10x goals. E.g. the most beautiful women in a bar usually don’t get approached because guys are afraid to embarrass themselves. There are typically much less applications for the highest paying jobs.
  • 2x means doing more volume, grinding harder, inching forward. 10x jumps are unlocked by qualitative improvements not by doing more of the same.
  • Importantly, 10x jumps are not the result of 10x qualiative improvements. This is usually impossible. Instead they are the result of 10% improvements of the 20% that actually matter. E.g. 10% better hooks in YouTube videos which has an exponential effect on view numbers or 10% better service delivery for specific high value niche clients where you can quickly become the number 1 and charge a premium.
  • 20% are responsible for 80% of results. 10x jumps happen when you double down on the 20% that matter and let go of the 80% that are holding you back.

On 10x vs 2x

“With unrealistic, impossible, or “10x”-level goals, the competition is lowest, the excitement is highest, and the pathway forward becomes simple and non-linear.”

“There are literally infinite things I could do to grow my profits by ten percent. The goal isn’t big enough to create focus and specificity. If, however, you asked, ‘If you wanted to grow your profits by ten times, how would you do it?’ that would be a much better question because there are likely to be very FEW, maybe even only ONE way to create 10x growth. Indeed, almost nothing you’re currently doing would get you there. To separate the signal from the noise, you need to make the goal big enough to weed-out most paths or strategies. Impossible goals help you identify the ONE or FEW conditions that have the highest possible upside. Those are the areas to focus your scarcest resource - your limited attention on.”

“This is a fundamental reason why 10x goals and vision are simpler, easier, and more practical than 2x goals. With a 2x goal, there are too many potential pathways to reach the desired destination. This creates paralysis-by-analysis and makes it extremely difficult to know where to focus your best energy and effort.”

“If you’re shooting for 2x, you probably won’t land much farther from where you are now and you’ll exhaust enormous energy grinding inches forward. There’s not enough distinction to force clarity about which direction to go. There’s also not enough difference to discern what among the many things you’re now doing is ultimately a waste. 10x separates the signal from the noise.”

“10x is simple. Very few paths will get you there. The higher and more specific your goals and standards become, the fewer options you have—which counterintuitively, actually makes them easier to achieve. Bigger and more specific goals immediately axe almost everything you’re now doing, making all sorts of space for exploring and scanning much better options.”

“If you want a really nice house, you have fewer options for furniture. The more specific you get about what you want, the fewer designers there may be who fit your desires. Conversely, if you have “low” or non-specific standards for your house, then there are seemingly endless options for furniture.”

“If we didn’t have ambition—some big goal we are after—how would we know what little things, what distractions, to say no to?” — RYAN HOLIDAY

“Only by living with a 10x frame of reference do you become highly critical of everything you place your time and energy on.”

“Without knowing your goal, it’s impossible to find an effective path forward. In Lewis Carroll’s children’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice asks the Cheshire Cat which way she should go when she reaches a fork in the road. “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. “I don’t much care where—” said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.”

“Only when you make the goal big enough—10x bigger—does it become absurdly and even comically obvious which strategies, relationships, or behaviors won’t work (the 80 percent).”

“2x is trying to optimize the horse and buggy, getting millimeters and inches for your efforts. 10x is stepping back and inventing the car, like Henry Ford did, where you’re getting miles for the same efforts.”

““A 2x goal would involve doing the same things you’re doing now, only more of them. But a 10x goal jumps you out of that, beyond that. 10x requires operating in an entirely different way that bypasses the stresses and complications of a 2x goal.” — DAN SULLIVAN

On the 80/20 approach to 10x’ing

“To go 10x from where you now are, only 20 percent will scale. The rest will be filtered out. Only by clarifying and identifying with your 10x vision will it become obvious the 80 percent that is holding you back.”

“Going for 10x requires letting go of 80 percent of your current life and focus and going all-in on the crucial 20 percent that’s relevant and high-impact.”

“Put simply, if you’re going for 2x growth, then you can keep or maintain 80 percent of your existing life, or what you’re now doing. And in fact, when you’re going for 2x or linear growth, that’s exactly what you’re doing. 2x is operating from the past, primarily continuing the path you’ve already been on. 2x is linear. You’re not doing anything radically different.”

“10x is fundamentally and qualitatively different from what your life looks like now. It’s a complete transformation, not simply re-arranging the furniture.”

“When you make 10x your target, 80 percent of your current clients and relationships become impediments.”

“Letting go of the 80 percent isn’t easy, because the 80 percent is your comfort zone. To go 2x, you can keep 80 percent of your comfort zone. You only need to make minor and subtle tip-toe adjustments along the way to go 2x. Letting go of the 80 percent may feel as extreme as literally killing something you love.”

“As Jim Collins put it in Good to Great: “Good is the enemy of great . . . The good-to-great companies did not focus principally on what to do to become great; they focused equally on what not to do and what to stop doing. . . If you have a cancer in your arm, you’ve got to have the guts to cut off your arm.””

“What is your 20 percent that if you went all-in on, you’d become 10x more valuable and impactful? What are the few things you do and the few people you work with that produce most of your success and excitement? What is your 80 percent that is keeping you grinding away, and ultimately a distraction for your biggest future jumps?”

“When you’re 2x, you don’t want to rock the boat. You don’t want to face hard truths in the mirror. You’re committed to your 80 percent, which is your comfort zone, culture, and habitual way of operating.”

“What are the standards you hold for yourself? Were your standards chosen by you, or adopted by the norms of those outside of you? What are your own minimum standards that you’re focused on and committed to? What would happen if you dramatically elevated your standards? How can you move toward your 20 percent focus and mastery? What 80 percent would have to go?”

“Ninety-nine percent of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for ‘realistic’ goals, paradoxically making them the most time and energy-consuming. It’s easier to raise $1,000,000 than it is $100,000. It’s easier to pick up the one perfect 10 in the bar than the five 8s.” — TIM FERRISS

“It’s scary letting go of the 80 percent because the 80 percent is your comfort zone. It’s your security blanket. It’s what you’ve already mastered and can basically do on autopilot. It’s your paycheck. It’s your identity and how you’re known. It’s your story and your habits.”

“Every great leader must face the dilemma of quitting the wrong stuff—even the stuff that’s been your bread and butter for years or decades—to become the best at what you do and realize 10x results.”

“To go 10x requires committing fully to the 20 percent you most resonate with and eliminate everything that can’t or won’t go 10x with you. You quit everything that can’t go 10x from here, even if that means eliminating the best of what got you here.”

“Wherever you are now, going 10x from here will require a total remodeling of both yourself and your business.”

Useful Prompts

  • What is your 20 percent that if you went all-in on, you’d become 10x more valuable and impactful?
  • Which 20% of your clients drive 80% of revenue?
  • Which 20% of the things your business does provides 80% of the value?
  • Which 20% of your inputs drive 80% of your outputs?
  • What are the few things you do and the few people you work with that produce most of your success and excitement?
  • What is your 80 percent that is keeping you grinding away, and ultimately a distraction for your biggest future jumps?
Written on April 19, 2024

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