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Be Obsessed or Be Average is about using obsessions to be successful. Obsessions can be valuable when they are controlled and focused. A positive obsession can lead to maximizing potential, and put an end to the "epidemic of average." Denying obsessions will result in ignoring dreams, and tolerating mediocrity. Being obsessed is a full-time job with no weekends, no vacations, and no breaks. The rewards, however, are limitless. Obsession is the single common factor that all hugely successful people share. Learning how to identify and nurture obsessions is the key to obtaining success regardless of education, capital, and abilities.


Becoming obsessed

Obsessions can be either positive or negative. Positive obsessions have purpose, and provide reasons for doing something, or even reasons to exist. Purpose is the foundation of obsession. Negative obsessions, on the other hand, are distractions, and produce no constructive outcomes. Identifying purpose can be difficult, but asking certain questions can help identify purpose:

  • What are my personal interests right now?
  • What amount of money is enough?
  • What are my unique skills?
  • What great ideas do I have for something that is needed?
  • What do I want to be remembered for?
  • What are people that I admire doing?
  • What gives me energy?
  • What if…?

The answers to these questions will identify many purposes, and provide the focus for positive obsessions. Obsessions will evolve as goals are met, and new purposes emerge. Keeping obsessions fresh requires updating and constant re-evaluation.

"The goals of the obsessed are always a bit out of reach."

Following obsessions

Obsessions are like beasts; feeding the beasts are the only way to keep obsessions alive. That means staying focused, diligent, and never letting the beasts go hungry. The following suggestions will keep the beasts well fed:

  • Stay focused on goals
  • Stay in control of money matters
  • Work with great people who are also obsessed

In addition to feeding the beasts, starve the beasts of doubt, blame, haters, and naysayers. Naysayers are particularly dangerous because they are not evil people. On the contrary, naysayers often are loving and caring. Unfortunately, naysayers can cause significant harm by giving advice like "Be careful," that will kill the beasts. These people justify their averageness by giving unsolicited and unwelcome advice. The biggest harm that naysayers can do is to be distracting, and allowing the beasts to die.

"The obsessed aren't committed to popularity, they're committed to success."

Dominating to win

Obsessed people must have boundless energy, intensity, drive, and big dreams, but more importantly, obsessed use these qualities to dominate life. Dominating and controlling every area of life creates an overwhelming presence that other people respond to. Colleagues, customers, competitors will appreciate the confidence and ambition that results from obsession. Be in control of all areas of life, and be dominating. Ways to dominate life include:

  • Thinking positive, and ignoring negative thoughts
  • Prioritize and optimize time
  • Be honest about money and the role it plays
  • Become an expert on something
  • Control your brand

In addition to dominating all areas of life, avoid taking risk and facing danger. Risks and danger are a part of life, and avoiding danger may be more harmful than the damage itself. In order to guarantee safety is to become obsessed with danger. Here are some ways to stay dangerous:

  • Move to a new city
  • Constantly connect with people
  • Don't be afraid of being unpopular
  • Take risks with investments
  • Embrace new technology
  • Be ready to strike at all times
  • Never rest on your laurels
  • Learn to love fear

"The obsessed life is about constantly moving in the direction of your fears and possibilities."

Obsessing about business

Obsessed people are natural leaders, in business and in life. As a leader, be willing to exert control. Good leadership requires control, and by controlling the process, results will be controlled as well. Moreover, solid business skills are necessary to succeed. Therefore, leaders must be obsessed with: (1) sales, (2) customers, and (3) teamwork.

First, sales are the key to any business and affect every person, company, and industry. The following tips will improve sales:

  • Be obsessed with your product
  • Close the deal
  • Demand accountability
  • Quantify success
  • Take stock of goals every day
  • Sell by example

"Sales is not a department, a career, or someone's job. Sales is the god of any business."

Second, customers are key. Be ethical with customers, and always deliver. Don't be afraid to "overpromise," but make sure you not only deliver, but "overdeliver." Attract and keep customers by following these tips:

  • Make giant claims
  • Deliver on your commitments
  • Find solutions to ensure delivery of your promises
  • Be confident
  • Keep pitches fresh
  • Take advantage of competitor's poor performances
  • Treat customers as the winner.

"When you commit completely and have no other option than to deliver at that level, you will figure out how to get it done – regardless of how impossible it seems."

Third, build an obsessed team. Great organizations are never simply a one-man show. Great employees are vital to success. The key to building a great team is to find the best and create a culture that is obsessed. Invest in good employees in order to stay obsessed with your business. The following tips will lead to a strong team:

  • Take the time to find the best
  • Look outside the box
  • Chase the talent
  • Roll with turnover
  • Reward handsomely
  • Build a work quality culture

"If you want spectacular people, it starts with you being spectacular."


Obsessed people do not quit. The only failure is quitting. "The difference between success and failure is staying in the game when others throw in the towel." Stay obsessed and persist. Also, remember to always re-evaluate obsessions because obsessions will evolve. Each obsession should always have a purpose improves life and maximizes potential. Continue to seek new obsessions by making new friends, seeking mentors, investing in education, keeping a sharp mind and healthy body, and being charitable. Identify positive obsessions to reach maximum potential and achieve success.

Extra not in audio

Grant Cardone played it safe. Everyone told him that going for the long shot wasn't worth it, and that he should keep his hopes and dreams reasonable and achievable. That outlook on life lead him to become a broke, homeless drug addict. When in rehab, his therapist advised him more of the same, don't reach too high, don't strive too far, set reasonable goals, Grant said no. He set aside all conventional wisdom and, instead, he figured out what he wanted and put all of himself into getting it. He became obsessed with success, he got it, and he wrote a book to share how he did it: Be Obsessed or Be Average.

The ten tenants of obsession

The early portion of the book is Cardone telling his own story, to contextualize everything that comes after. The true drive of Be Obsessed or Be Average is to impart Grant's personal approach to life, so that the readers can learn from his process and turn their individual obsessions into their own successes. Throughout the book, Grant elucidates ten core aspects of his philosophy:

1. Figure out obsessions

Despite cultural condemnation, it is ok to be obsessed, Grant argues. It is vital to success, in fact. In order to figure out one's purpose in life, a person needs to examine their mind, their hobbies, and their lifestyle, to find their obsession. The aim is to identify whatever the obsession is, and then use that passion to push forward. Someone who is obsessed with television should work at a studio. Someone obsessed with numbers should become an accountant. Anyone who is working outside of their passion needs to find a new job.

2. Do not create others' idea of success

A life obsessed is one that can only ever be lived for the self. No one can be obsessed with a life that has been planned out for them by their parents, teachers, or peers. No two definitions of success are the same, and striving towards anyone else's idea of success can never truly kindle an obsession. In order to maintain obsession in the long-term, a person's goals must be entirely their own.

3. Over-promise and over-deliver

An old mantra in business is under-promise and over-deliver. It is a prudent way to conduct business and intuitive as well. Setting the bar low allows for potential mistakes while leaving room to clear the bar by a large margin. However, Cardone argues that under-promising is simply playing it safe, and that risk is the path to true success. Over-promising provides a clear incentive to achieve excellence. There is the danger of failure, but the obsessed mind is driven by the prospect of failure, not hindered by it.

4. Everything is sales

Across every single career and industry, the most important skill a person can cultivate is sales. Everything in every business comes down to sales. A job interviewee has to sell their skills, an executive presenting the board with an innovative new direction needs to sell the wisdom of such an option, and a long-time employee asking for a raise needs to sell their value to the company. No matter what position a person holds, every interaction they have is some kind of sale. Therefore, the truly obsessed needs to treat every prospective sale like that person is family; there is no unimportant sale.

5. Control your life

Obsession does not clock out at five. Obsession does not stay at the office. Obsession needs to extend to all aspects of life. The only way to be obsessed is to approach everything with the same amount of zeal. Obsession is about control, to dominate every aspect of life. Obsession is also about persistence and results; the obsessed never give in until they have achieved the goals they have set.

6. Free time is a threat

If someone is obsessed, they should not have free time. Free time is a delusion, since there is always something that can be done to advance goals. The reliance many have on free time, on downtime to recharge, is really just weakness, and can be eliminated through discipline. Allowing free time even a little allows for the option of free time always, and the mind will be drawn more and more to relax and procrastinate. Because of this, free time should be avoided at all costs, and instead be directed towards more productive ends.

7. Feed the beast

Conventional wisdom claims that greed is a bad thing; Cardone would change the definition of greed. Greed in terms of hoarding money is bad, he would agree, since that money is doing nothing to drive towards success. But the desire for money itself is not inherently bad. The obsessed feed the beast, constantly striving to make more money, but also spending money just as quickly. Money is a resource, and the obsessed needs to acquire and utilize every resource on the pathway to success.

8. Not afflicted, gifted[/text

Many would say that the obsessed are afflicted; they are "control freaks," "Type A," or "neurotic." Cardone claims that such afflictions are really gifts. Being a control freak is not anything wrong, and it is good to try to control as much as you can. Only those who are in control can really get what they want out of life. Rather than mitigating their neurotic nature, the obsessed embrace it.

9. Critics are fuel

"If you don't have haters, you are not obsessed. If you don't collect haters, you are doing nothing," Cardone says. He argues that critics should not deter anyone from doing what they are doing. Instead, they should look to critics as confirmation that they are doing something right. The person who never upsets anyone is the person who has never gone against cultural wisdom, and will be relegated to a life of being average.

10. Find others who are obsessed

It is important for those who are obsessed with success are surrounded by others who are the same. That is not the same as surrounded by yes-men; sycophants are not obsessed, they are simply passively trying to get ahead by agreeing with their betters. Those who really are obsessed will challenge each other and push back, thus helping each other achieve more than they would alone. Businesses should focus on hiring those who are obsessed as well, or those who show promise of being taught.

Everyone likes the idea of success, but just the idea of success cannot fuel obsession. Obsession is about the process, not just the endgame. Only by being obsessed with every aspect of life, and every aspect of business, can one achieve true greatness. Desiring success is not enough; being obsessed with every single step, up to and including success, is what's needed.