Coolers are careful, wait for instructions, and follow the leader.
Closers can deliver supreme results when given explicit instructions but falter under unfamiliar or unexpected circumstances.
Cleaners have an insatiable desire for success – not for the recognition, but simply because it’s their job. They act of their own initiative and set an impossibly high standard for themselves while expecting others to conform to their standards.
Examples of Cleaners are Navy SEALs, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant, among many other top performers, many of whom have been personally trained by Grover.
Although most people may like to think they are Cleaners, in reality, most of us are Coolers.
Here are three ways that we can strive to become more like the elite.
Stop thinking and over-analyzing.
Grover laments that we are born relentless but taught to relent. We are lions in cages made of bad advice and low self-esteem and rules of what we can’t do or are supposed to do. By staying in this cage long enough, we overthink, worry, over-analyze, and we learn to play it safe.
Grover’s advice: stop thinking.
When we think too much, we turn simple things into complicated ones.
We waste too much time waiting for instructions, planning, and looking to other people to take the lead.
Instead, we need to figure out what to do and do it.
Cleaners know that mistakes are inevitable. They don’t waste time sitting around visualizing and thinking about something because they know nothing happens without action. They are able to choose a path in the face of uncertainty and without knowing if it’ll work out or not.
So if you’re hesitating over choosing a profession, a company to work for, a college major, or of starting something new, realize that over-thinking does nothing but complicate the decision and hurt your self-confidence.
Keep in mind that while you’re sitting back, testing the waters and being afraid of making a mistake, someone else is already making mistakes, learning from them, and doing what you’re afraid to do.
Stop thinking. (And see my YouTube video on the subject.)
Make a choice or that choice will be made for you.
Be more lighthearted about failure.
Some of the best advice I got in college was to not make failure personal or permanent. A failed test doesn’t negate any possibility of future success (and yes, this happened to me once), so long as you don’t make failure part of your identity.
This means having a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset.
If we can see failure for what it is – an indicator that we need to adjust our course – then it doesn’t become a permanent affliction.
Instead, it’s just a natural step in the learning process, and likely something you can look back on and laugh about.
Cleaners do not feel pressure for failing and have no problem admitting when they’re wrong. They’ll admit their mistake, learn from it, and move on.
When you can laugh at yourself and not take every setback seriously, that’s confidence. When you’re confident, you don’t care what others think; you can take your mistakes seriously but still laugh because you know you can and will do better.
Avoid those who encourage you to be average.
Often times when we embark on something new, we run the idea by those close to us who, depending on their views of the world, will tell us whether we’re right or wrong.
Usually, this feedback comes in the form of doubts, concern trolling, or mockery. Sometimes, these people will excommunicate you until you decide to stop trying to improve yourself.
They may even spout cliches such as “good things come to those who wait” and “sleep on it.” Although it may be sincere advice, sincerity doesn’t make it right. They may unwittingly be encouraging you to be indecisive and unsure of yourself.
In reality, the only thing that comes to those who wait is the scraps.
Cleaners know to be quick – not careless, but they know that they still have to work toward results rather than sitting back and waiting for something to happen.
So be careful who you hang around, and guard your mind as fiercely as you guard your money.
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.
***To learn more about how to be excellent and a top-performer like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Dwyane Wade, check out Relentless, by Tim Grover.***
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