Relentless by Tim Grover: Become Unstoppable
I just finished reading Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable by Tim Grover and it was straight fire. In case you aren’t familiar, Tim Grover was the elite trainer for Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and a host of other top performing NBA players.
Tim Grover and the mindset that he shares is the epitome of excellence. If you truly want to be unstoppable and the best at what you do then this book is a must read. As someone who loves sports and loves excellence this was without a doubt one of the best books I’ve ever read.
When I read books on my Kindle I’m always highlighting sections that have the most value so that I can go back and read them again. Below are my highlights from Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable. Hopefully you’re able to get as much value from the passages as I did.
In the event you end up reading this book drop me a line on Twitter @RobCressy and let me know what you thought about it.
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Book Summary: Tim Grover’s Relentless
THE RELENTLESS 13 When You’re a Cleaner . . .
#1. You keep pushing yourself harder when everyone else has had enough.
#1. You get into the Zone, you shut out everything else, and control the uncontrollable.
#1. You know exactly who you are.
#1. You have a dark side that refuses to be taught to be good.
#1. You’re not intimidated by pressure, you thrive on it.
#1. When everyone is hitting the “In Case of Emergency” button, they’re all looking for you.
#1. You don’t compete with anyone, you find your opponent’s weakness and you attack.
#1. You make decisions, not suggestions; you know the answer while everyone else is still asking questions.
#1. You don’t have to love the work, but you’re addicted to the results.
#1. You’d rather be feared than liked.
#1. You trust very few people, and those you trust better never let you down.
#1. You don’t recognize failure; you know there’s more than one way to get what you want.
#1. You don’t celebrate your achievements because you always want more.
A Cleaner is rarely understood, and he likes it that way. Here’s what I’m talking about:
• Coolers can have an amazing game.
• Closers can have an amazing season.
• Cleaners have amazing careers.
• Coolers worry about the competition and how they measure up.
• Closers study the competition and plan their attack based on the opponent.
• Cleaners make the competition study them; they don’t care whom they’re facing, they know they can handle anyone.
• Coolers avoid taking the winning shot.
• Closers take the shot if they know they have a good chance of making it.
• Cleaners just trust their gut and shoot; they don’t have to think about it.
• Coolers won’t offer to take on a role they’re not comfortable with.
• Closers will take the role if you ask them and they’ll do it well, if they have enough time to prepare for and study the situation.
• Cleaners don’t wait to be asked, they just do it.
• Coolers let others decide whether they’re successful; they do the job and wait to see if you approve.
• Closers feel successful when they get the job done.
• Cleaners never feel as if they’ve achieved success because there’s always more to do.
• Coolers don’t want to carry the team, but they’re the first to slap you on the back when you do a good job.
• Closers want the credit for getting the job done and love being congratulated for what they did.
• Cleaners rarely congratulate you for doing your job, they just expect you to do it.
• Coolers think they want the spotlight, but when they get it, they usually handle it badly.
• Closers stand in front because they need to show who’s in charge.
• Cleaners don’t have to show who’s in charge—everyone already knows.
• Coolers will eat whatever you feed them.
• Closers will order what they want and be satisfied with a great meal.
• It doesn’t matter what a Cleaner eats, he’ll still be hungry again in an hour.
• The Closer can win the game if given the opportunity, but the Cleaner creates the opportunity.
• The Closer can be the star, but the Cleaner maneuvered him into the job.
• Cleaners never need a kick in the ass. Everyone else does. Good, Great, Unstoppable.
The pressure is getting to him. External pressure that distracts and derails, not the internal pressure that can drive you to overcome anything. And instead of shutting it all out and trusting his instincts and natural ability, he’s thinking.
He flew two thousand miles to hear these two words: Don’t think. You already know what you have to do, and you know how to do it.
Being the best means engineering your life so you never stop until you get what you want, and then you keep going until you get what’s next. And then you go for even more. Relentless.
This isn’t about motivation. If you’re reading this book, you’re already motivated. Now you have to turn that into action and results.
Decide. Commit. Act. Succeed. Repeat.
That’s how you become unstoppable—by placing no limits on yourself. Not just in sports, but in everything you do. I want you to want more and get everything you crave.
Being relentless means demanding more of yourself than anyone else could ever demand of you, knowing that every time you stop, you can still do more. You must do more. The minute your mind thinks, “Done,” your instincts say, “Next.”
If you want to be truly successful, you can’t be content with “pretty good.” You need to find an extra gear.
Here’s the key: I’m not going to tell you how to change. People don’t change. I want you to trust who you already are, and get to that Zone where you can shut out all the noise, all the negativity and fear and distractions and lies, and achieve whatever you want, in whatever you do.
From this point, your strategy is to make everyone else get on your level; you’re not going down to theirs. You’re not competing with anyone else, ever again. They’re going to have to compete with you. From now on, the end result is all that matters.
You want to be the best? Then you ignore the pain and the exhaustion and the pressure to please everyone else. You don’t let your enemies take your balls, you don’t let them set up shop in your head. When all hell breaks loose on the outside, you barely notice; you’re calm on the inside because you’re ready, prepared, and the best at what you do. You don’t tell anyone how you’re going to handle the situation, you just handle it. Everyone else is panicking and choking, and you say, ‘No problem.’ You step on the other guy’s throat, and you finish the fight. “And afterward you don’t explain how you did it. They won’t understand, and they don’t have to. Just take a moment alone to recognize what you accomplished, and move on to the next challenge.”
We learned from each other. We never saw obstacles or problems, we only saw situations in need of solutions.
“In order to have what you really want, you must first be who you really are.”
Being relentless means never being satisfied. It means creating new goals every time you reach your personal best. If you’re good, it means you don’t stop until you’re great. If you’re great, it means you fight until you’re unstoppable. It means becoming a Cleaner.
Greatness makes you a legend; being the best makes you an icon. If you want to be great, deliver the unexpected. If you want to be the best, deliver a miracle.
It’s about the relentless instinctive drive to do whatever it takes—anything—to get to the top of where you want to be, and to stay there.
A Cleaner’s attitude can be summed up in three words: I own this.
He walks in with confidence and leaves with results. A Cleaner has the guts and the vision to steer everything to his advantage. You never know what he’s going to do, but you know something’s coming and all you can do is wait and watch, with fear and respect for his ability to handle anything without discussion or analysis. He just knows.
Every accomplishment is just a stepping-stone to the next challenge; as soon as they’ve hit their target, they’re already stalking their next conquest. Most of their work is done quietly behind the scenes, alone, without fanfare or glamour. Cleaners don’t do it for show, they don’t go through the motions. A true Cleaner never tells you what he’s doing or what he’s planning. You find out after the job is complete. And by the time you realize what he’s accomplished, he’s already moved on to the next challenge.
The Cleaner is never the first person you bring in; he’s the last, when it’s finally obvious that no one else can handle the situation. No conversation, no panic, no discussion.
He never sees problems, only situations to resolve, and when he finds the solution, he doesn’t waste time explaining it. He just says, “I got this.” And when it’s over and he gets the results, all the others just stand there, shaking their heads in disbelief, wondering how he did it. Failure is never an option; even if it takes years, he’ll find a way to turn a bad situation to his benefit, and he won’t stop until he succeeds.
here’s the most important thing about a Cleaner, the one thing that defines and separates him from any other competitor: He’s addicted to the exquisite rush of success. His lust for it is so powerful, the craving is so intense, that he’ll alter his entire life to get it. And it’s still never enough. As soon as he feels it, tastes it, holds it . . . the moment is over and he craves more.
So just for my own thinking, I devised a three-tiered system that I’ve never shared with anyone prior to writing this book, categorizing different types of competitors: Coolers, Closers, and Cleaners. Good, Great, and Unstoppable.
If I give a player a list of things he must do to stay strong and healthy, and he skips any step, none of it works. So I don’t number anything #1, #2, #3, #4 . . . I number everything #1.
When I train my athletes, it’s a dictatorship with three rules: show up, work hard, and listen.
Do. The. Work. Every day, you have to do something you don’t want to do. Every day. Challenge yourself to be uncomfortable, push past the apathy and laziness and fear.
Bottom line if you want success of any kind: you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
Ask yourself where you are now, and where you want to be instead. Ask yourself what you’re willing to do to get there. Then make a plan to get there. Act on it.
Thinking takes you away; the Zone keeps you where you need to be. That’s your safe haven: you go inside that space, and nothing can touch you, nothing can hurt you, no one can call you or text you or hassle you or bother you.
Again: emotions make you weak.
I want you in a routine, and I don’t want that routine to vary, whether it’s a meaningless preseason exhibition or the championship game of the Finals. Do what you do every day, so you never have to account for your environment or the situation. Everything stays the same.
Finding your way into the Zone begins with trusting those instincts, and that’s where we’re going next.
But if we’re talking about being elite, if you want to be unstoppable, you have to learn to put aside everything you’ve been taught, all the restrictions and limitations, the negativity and doubt.
Like all Cleaners, he didn’t study the competition, he made the competition study him.
Remember my undelivered note to Dwyane? “In order to have what you really want, you must first be who you really are.”
When you’re great, you trust your instincts. When you’re unstoppable, your instincts trust you.
It’s the ability to voluntarily or involuntarily drop all the bullshit and inhibitions and allow yourself to just do what you do, the way you want to do it, performing instinctively at the most extraordinary level. No fear, no limitation. Just action and results.
The more you take on, the more powerful you feel. You don’t get to be the best at anything without blistering confidence and an impenetrable shell. You get there by taking huge risks that others won’t take, because you rely on your instincts to know which risks aren’t risks at all.
If you’re so intensely wired to attack and win, you can’t just turn that on and off, it’s who you are, it defines you. Never exhaling. Never satisfied. We’re talking about day after day, year after year, getting on top and staying there. Being the best and still wanting to improve. Not just thinking about success, but striving to prove it, prove it, prove it. No days off. What are you going to do instead to satisfy that craving?
Cleaner Law: control your dark side, don’t let it control you.
I tell my guys, “Pressure, pressure, pressure.” Most people run from stress. I run to it. Stress keeps you sharp, it challenges you in ways you never imagined and forces you to solve issues and manage situations that send weaker people running for cover. You can’t succeed without it. Your level of success is defined by how well you embrace it and manage it.
A Cleaner doesn’t respond to external pressure, he puts the pressure back on the guy trying to get under his skin by refusing to acknowledge him. Remember, you don’t compete with anyone, you make them compete with you. You can control what you put on yourself; you can’t control what the other guy puts on you. So you focus only on the internal pressure that drives you. Run to it, embrace it, feel it, so no one else can throw more at you than you’ve already put on yourself.
You want to know a true sign of a Cleaner? He feels no pressure when he screws up and has no problem admitting when he’s wrong and shouldering the blame:
That’s it. Confident, simple, factual, no explanation. You made a mistake? Fine. Don’t explain it to me for an hour. The truth is one sentence, I don’t need a long story. You tell me you messed up, take responsibility . . . now you’ve gained my trust.
Create your own pressure to succeed, don’t allow others to create it for you. Have the confidence to trust that you can handle anything.
Two things you can’t let anyone take from you: you can’t let them take away your reputation, and you can’t let them take away your balls. That means accepting the pressure of taking responsibility for everything you say and do.
That’s what Cleaners do, they ignore the panicking and complaining, they clean up the problem and they make it work.
A Cleaner doesn’t; he never wants to be locked in to one plan. He’ll know the original plan, and he’ll follow it if it feels right to him, but his skills and intuition are so great that he’ll usually improvise as he goes; he can’t help it. He just goes with the flow of the action, and wherever his instincts take him, that’s what you get.
#1. WHEN YOU’RE A CLEANER . . . . . . You don’t compete with anyone, you find your opponent’s weakness and you attack.
A Cooler does a good job and waits for a pat on the back. A Closer does a good job and pats himself on the back. A Cleaner just does a good job, that’s his job.
Get on my level.
Every minute, every hour, every day that you sit around trying to figure out what to do, someone else is already doing it.
Thinking doesn’t achieve outcomes, only action does.
Figure out what you do, then do it. And do it better than anyone else.
#1. WHEN YOU’RE A CLEANER . . . . . . You don’t have to love the work, but you’re addicted to the results.
Cleaner Law: when you reduce your competition to whining that you “got lucky,” you know you’re doing something right.
Cleaners don’t care about instant gratification; they invest in the long-term payoff.
Cleaner Law: When you’re going through a world of pain, you never hide. You show up to work ready to go, you face adversity and your critics and those who judge you, you step into the Zone and perform at that top level when everyone is expecting you to falter. That’s being a professional.
I want to be noticed for the excellence of my work, that’s all. When people rip me for being an asshole or motherfucker—and they do—to me it means I’m on a level they can’t attain or comprehend. That’s fear. When others have to fight you by flinging insults, you’ve already won; it means they have no idea how else to compete with you. Now you know they’re intimidated, and you can use it against them every time. The only people not intimidated are others just like you . . . and then it’s game on, let’s see what you got.
Cleaner Law: the same guy who is worshipped as a cutthroat competitor is also the guy most likely to be called an asshole by everyone around him. And not just any asshole, but the asshole.
“Fine,” I said. “Today is your last day here. I can’t fix you. I ask three things of anyone who walks in my door: show up, work hard, and listen. If you can’t give me all of those three things, I can’t help you. You’re throwing your money away paying me for a job I can’t do.” And I left him standing alone with a ball in his hand.
In the world of Cleaners, if you can’t be trusted, you’re gone. A Cleaner can count on few people, and if you’re one of them, it means you’ve earned it. If you’re not, watch your back. A Cleaner never forgives. Or forgets.
Because no matter who you are, part of success means recognizing the people who can help you get where you want to go, putting all the best pieces in place. You have to surround yourself with people who can operate at your level of demanding excellence. You can’t be unstoppable, or even great, if you can’t do that. And it’s probably the hardest thing for a Cleaner to do.
It’s still your responsibility to surround yourself with excellent people and keep those people accountable, which is especially challenging when you’re extremely successful.
A Cleaner views people as if they’re tools, each with unique, indispensable qualities.
No is a closed door, no negotiation. Someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do, and you start explaining, that person is going to ask you again and again and again. Don’t explain, don’t make excuses. Truth takes one sentence. Simple and direct. A question, an answer.
Cleaner Law: surround yourself with those who want you to succeed, who recognize what it takes to be successful. People who don’t pursue their own dreams probably won’t encourage you to pursue yours; they’ll tell you every negative thing they tell themselves.
I don’t understand the concept of failure. If you don’t succeed at everything you do on your first attempt, does that mean you “failed”? Isn’t it a good thing that you keep coming back and working at it until you succeed? How can that be failure?
What most people think of as failure, a Cleaner sees as an opportunity to manage and control a situation, pulling it around to his advantage, doing something everyone else says is impossible. If there’s a 2 percent chance that something will work, and a 98 percent chance that it won’t, he’ll take the 98 percent risk just to show he took the challenge and did what everyone else said couldn’t be done. It may take years, and all kinds of work no one else will ever see, but eventually a Cleaner is going to own that situation and make it work to his advantage. He has to; it’s the only way he knows. This didn’t work, so let’s do that. If that doesn’t work, we can do this. How many ways can you prepare? How many different pathways can you create so you don’t eventually run into a ditch? And even if you do run into the ditch, how many options do you have for getting out?
Let’s make this simple: Failure is what happens when you decide you failed. Until then, you’re still always looking for ways to get to where you want to be.
Success and failure are 100 percent mental. One person’s idea of success might seem like a complete failure to someone else. You must establish your own vision of what it means to be unstoppable; you can’t let anyone else define that for you. What does your gut tell you? What do your instincts know about what you should be doing, how you’re going to succeed, and what you’re going to succeed at? How can anyone tell you what that should be?
When someone else says you’ve failed, what they really mean is “If that were me, I would feel like a failure.” Well, that guy’s not you, and he’s obviously not a Cleaner, because Cleaners don’t recognize failure.
But dealing with setbacks is how you achieve success. You learn, and you adapt. When everyone else is talking about how you “failed,” you show up like a professional, remap your course, and get back to work. That’s the progression of good-great-unstoppable. No one starts at unstoppable. You fuck up, you figure it out, you trust yourself.
Let me say this: Attack Athletics is who I am and what I do, it’s not a building. The building was about equipment and environment and a revolutionary concept. Attack Athletics is me, and my training philosophy, and it goes wherever I go. Attack Athletics is the work I do all over the world, and I work hard to be sure that my clients and I don’t fail at anything we do. We always find a way to make it work.
A Cleaner never sees failure because to him it’s never over. If something doesn’t go as planned, he instinctively looks for options to make things work a different way. He doesn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed, he doesn’t blame anyone else, and he doesn’t care what anyone else says about his situation. It’s never the end, it’s never over.
And he knows, without a doubt, that whatever happens, he’ll find a way to come out on top. If you ever find me and a bear wrestling in the woods, help the bear. Make the choice to turn “failure” into success. If your team doesn’t win a championship, if your business falls apart, if you don’t achieve something you worked for, move to the next step in your evolution. Remember who you are, and how you got this far. Listen to your gut. What is it telling you? It’s never over. You have choices: The Cooler admits defeat. The Closer works harder. The Cleaner strategizes for a different outcome. Admitting defeat has no place in this discussion, or in this book, because the words quit and relentless just don’t work together in any productive way. People who admit defeat and say they had no choice just aren’t serious about success, excellence, or themselves. They say they’ll “try” and then give up when that doesn’t work. Fuck “try.” Trying is an open invitation to failure, just another way of saying, “If I fail, it’s not my fault, I tried.” You tried your best? Or did you do your best? Huge difference. “Well, I tried.” Okay, now tell me what you did. Do, or don’t do. Do it, and if it doesn’t work, do it again. Did you do it this way? That way? Did you explore every idea you had? Is there anything else you could possibly do to turn things in your favor? If you aim at excellence, you have to be willing to sacrifice. That is the price of success. You never know how bad you want it until you get that first bitter taste of not getting it, but once you taste it, you’re going to fight like hell to get that bitterness out of your mouth.
Follow those visions and dreams and desires, and believe what you know. Only you can turn those dreams into reality. Never stop until you do.
As always feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to be an asset to you in digital marketing, social media, content creation, or any other creative need you have.