10X is easier than 2X – Dan Sullivan with Dr. Benjamin Hardy

10X is easier than 2X is a great book written by Dr. Benjamin Hardy in collaboration with Dan Sullivan. It is Dan’s teachings which have been made into a book. We need to keep aspiring to a new exponential 10X often instead of incremental 2X growth. 10 X is easier than 2X.


The book begins by discussing the story of Italian sculptor and painter Michelangelo. How he aspired to draw the Hercules. It was 10X more than his ability and skills. When Hercules (Human Body/Human Anatomy) was finished, he was only 19 years old.  A Sculpture depicting Virgin Mary grieving over the body of Jesus Christ (Pieta) in the late 1490’s took 2 years to complete. The completion of Pieta was another 10X jump for Michelangelo. (Pieta is considered one of the greatest artistic masterpieces of all time).

Leonardo DiCaprio quotes ‘Every next level of your life will require a different you’.

Do Less:

10X is not about doing more, It is about doing less. In order for us to do the new 10X , we need to get rid of the 80% of the work we are currently doing and focus on the top 20%. Steve Jobs is a great example of extreme simplification.

If we doubled our time on the top 20% of the activities, we could work a lot less and achieve 60% more than now. Seemingly impossible or massive goals are highly practical because they eliminate what doesn’t work and where we should not be spending time.  Dan Sullivan says that the only way to make your present better is by making your future bigger. 10X separates you from the noise. Going for 10X means you get rid of 80% of your mundane work and focus on the top 20% which has the highest impact.

$500 Vs $50,000 Client:

Before sending money, the $500 client asks a lot of questions and even while sending money, they compose a lengthy email. The $50,000 Client emails – ‘Money Sent – Thanks’. 

Ask Questions and Spend your time wisely:

A question we need to ask: what are the few things we do or the few people we work more with that produce most of our success and excitement. Hiring an executive or personal assistant is also discussed. An executive assistant can do a lot of wonders freeing you up from a lot of mundane tasks. You also need to get out of your comfort zone. 

The authors also share an example of a real estate agent Linda McKissack kept growing 10X often by delegating and hiring assistants and how she also grew to become a owner of Keller Williams Franchise. She eventually got a call from Gary Keller and became partners with the firm for specific regions. Linda grew to a multi billion dollar business. 

Influence on People: 

With the 10X model, you are directly influencing fewer people, however you inspire a lot more and the overall impact and ripples of your influence spread exponentially. Very few paths can lead you to 10X and you have to be extremely focussed and ignore the noise. 

You have to continuously keep eliminating 80%. Even the people you work with need to keep eliminating 80% of the work and grow. Everyone needs to get out of their comfort zone.

Quality not the Quantity:

One could reach impossible goals by continuously eliminating the 80% of the work they are doing. You have to let go of things that do not fit the 10X filter. It is the quality that matters and not the quantity. The author quotes the example of Mr. Beast (Jimmy Donaldson) where his quality standards are much higher. 

There are other people who have made 100s if not 1000s or tens of thousands of videos. However Mr. Beast is able to achieve 10x. He never got trapped in the 80%. The author also quotes the example of James Clear the author of Atomic Habits who continuously expanded boundaries. He built an email list. 

Clear wrote in his 2021 blog post that the difference between good and great is often the extra round of revision. He continuously kept improving the quality of his blog posts. James Clear also writes Annual Review letters and publishes them. (Note: However for some reason I could not find his review letters post 2019 on his website.)

To write Atomic Habits, he had to do Deep Work, get rid of the 80% and focus on 10X, The rewards for #1 are ten times the benefit than #10. Think exponentially, Increase the quality and decrease the quantity of everything you do. 

Need Vs Want:

The author writes about Need Vs Want. Need is scarce and competition is high. However in a Want scenario, you create something new. Want is the way to go 10X. In the Want scenario, we are not competing with anyone else. 

We are collaborating with other want minded creators. You need to live your life how you want to and not how others want you to. There is enormous pressure for us to keep 80% in our lives (essentially it means security). Two great examples are mentioned in the book. 

1. Elon Musk did not need to go to Mars, he wanted to. 

2. Martin Luther King Jr. did not need to rally for racial equality and freedom. He wanted to. 

We need to define our purpose. American Skateboarder P-Rod 8 – Paul Rodriguez , It was his dream (want) to have his own signature skateboard and shoe. He was prepared to walk away from his deal with Nike. However Nike agreed and created his Signature shoe.

Unique Ability:

When we get rid of the 80%, we need to focus on our Unique Ability. It is not dependent on other people’s needs and wants. It is something we intrinsically believe in. This takes courage because you do not do things because you need to, however you do it because you want to. This way you progress 10X faster. 

Peter Drucker (Management Guru) used to be very careful with his time and also turn down invitations that he does not need to attend. Trusting yourself and forging your unique path is what Robert Greene called Mastery. 

The author also writes that if we are not breaking rules, not innovating and changing boundaries, then it is not called Unique Ability. 80% of what we do currently may be unproductive and keep us away from our Unique Ability. We need to let go. We need to think long term and work with long term people and play the infinite game.

Gap Vs Gain:

Instead of being too self critical, it is important to focus on the Gain and not the Gap. It is the gain or little wins we have that builds confidence. 

Research shows that gratitude leads to more creative thinking. It is great to document the wins every day (even having a family dinner is a Win). In what ways is our life better than in the past?)  We have grown 10X in the past and need to keep repeating it. 

When we started to walk, write, speak, all of this was 10X growth. Being ourselves and living the way we want is the best thing. 

The author also talks about Good Money Vs Bad Money. Freedom of money is about the quality of money where we make it in the most exciting, energizing and transformational way possible. Many high achievers are prone to being in the Gap. They need to be focussing on the Gain and it will lead to better results. 

Take 150+ Free Days per year:

Transformational leaders, entrepreneurs take a lot of free time. This is when one can think. You need to make sure the work is not dependent on you. Only when you take off work, will you know the smartness of your team. 

It is good to club meetings together rather than scattering meetings. Structure your week for high performance and stack similar activities together. Create bigger blocks of open space for Deep Work. One should take off days and not do anything during those days. Bill Gates used to take off and travel to another place. He called it Thinking Days where he used to read, take notes and come up with transformational ideas. 

The ancient Greeks had two words for time – Kairos (qualitative time) and Chronos (Chronos – chronological or sequential time). E.g The actor is paid to perform. His time is more valuable during performance days and he is paid exponentially more for performance (Kairos time). It is good to take time off and prepare (Preparation time). 

If you take advantage of your preparation days, you do exceptionally well on your performance days. The performer also needs rejuvenation days where he takes rest. On your calendar one should set up three types of days:

1. Free Days,

2. Focus Days, and; 

3. Buffer Days.  

Free Days are the days you relax and do nothing, Focus Days are the performance Days and Buffer Days (organization and preparation days). Sleep is an important part of recovery. For example American Basketball legend LeBron James is known to sleep 8 to 10 hours a day. This helps him perform better.  

It is good to refrain from work related activities during non-work time. E.g Playing Tennis could be a great non work activity and you just focus on the game. Commit yourself to a lot of free days, You will be surprised how much you will achieve by doing less. 

Build a Self Managing Company:

Focus on the WHOs – (Hire the best people) instead of focussing on the Hows. The story of USCCA *U.S Concealed Carry Association and Tim Schmidt is shared in the book where the company was in the $3-4 million range for 10 years or so and jumped to $250 million in revenue with over 615 employees. This is because Tim was able to build a self managing company. He transformed from being a rugged individual to a transformational leader. 

USCCA started having certified instructors and more people started being a part of a community. All humans have a deep desire to feel a sense of belonging and connection to a group of people with shared beliefs and culture. This was key for the growth. Hiring an administrative assistant is one of the first steps to build a self managing company so they can focus on your emails, schedule and more. 

it is important that not just you focus on 20%, your team also needs to transform. This is how you build a self managing company. When you do this, your team will become very smart and you may even lose them. It is okay. You need to keep building people. You also have to relinquish control. Each of your team members need to focus on their areas of unique ability and need to be able to hire assistants and more to grow. 

One of the key learnings is, if you are not going or growing 10X, people will not be interested to work with you and we need to play an infinite game. 

Other books references: Who Not How, The Gap and The Gain (both by the same authors).

My Take on the book:

Thanks Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy for writing this great book. As soon as I started reading it, I was eager to read more. It is very relevant and extremely helpful to the work we do. 

There are a ton of learnings from this book, especially letting go of the 80% and just focussing on the 20%- Unique Ability. Thanks to Michael Hyatt for recommending this read. This is a must read for anyone aspiring to grow 10X instead of 2X. 

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