Why You Should Work Like a Dog

Reading Grant Cardone’s “The 10X Rule” with a Critical Eye

Mocha and her cat friend

Recently, I was strolling Brooklyn with my rescue pup, enjoying the warm weather and the (relatively) fresh air. Mocha, my pitbull-mix, heads directly to whatever smells best. She’s very single-minded. 

That’s when it hit me. I want to be like her.

Recently, my best friend took me to Rutgers Gardens, a huge greenspace in New Brunswick. I arrived early and had nothing to do but read “The 10x Rule” under a tree while her car struggled through traffic. It’s a guidebook about going after your goals with single-minded purpose, coupled with the idea that working towards your full potential is more ethical than slacking off. In theory, anyone can become massively successful by 1.) defining what success means to you, and 2.) taking 10 times the amount of estimated effort to get there.

When my friends arrived at the Gardens, all I had to do was enjoy nature. No video chats. No emails. It was incredibly relaxing, and the extra mental space has helped me be more productive since.

Back to our Brooklyn stroll, I was thinking about Mocha’s intense focus and how she operates. She rests when she’s tired. She plays when she’s excited. And nothing gets between her and a chew toy. In today’s hustle culture, full of side-gigs and underpaying jobs, it’s important to be productive to compete. However, just like Mocha, people aren’t built to be “on” 24 hours a day.

There are a few things wrong with “The 10X Rule.” Human creativity may be boundless, but our own – and the earth’s – resources are not. Not everyone can (or should) over-perform all the time. And “massive effort” and “obsession” can be inefficient and unhealthy.

However, I am very on-board with the idea of setting lofty goals and going overboard getting there. I like the idea of taking responsibility for your life and avoiding a victim mentality. I agree that climbing towards your goals generates new problems – and that you should be excited to see them crop up because it means you’re succeeding.

Fear should motivate us to take the leap of faith required to become the best version of ourselves.

And, I agree that we should set our goals higher than society says we should – because if we only make it halfway, we’re still ahead of our original, more timid goals.

I even agree that success is our duty; in some ways, it is my duty to become successful in my business. I have lofty philanthropic and social good goals, and I can’t achieve them with my current resources. I still have trouble wrapping my head around it, but better me growing my influence than a sociopathic hoarder of resources. 

And, I definitely needed some tough love after a few near-misses with potential clients.

But, I have a chronic, life-altering disease. I am also aware of the privilege that comes from where I was born, my skin color and gender presentation, and other benefits of my circumstance.

And frankly, I’d like to relax and enjoy life. So, how can I be massively productive without burning my candle at both ends? 


Enter Mocha.

She’s massively efficient when she wants something. She goes after it hard, and once she gets it and uses it up, she relaxes. I can’t add more hours to the day, and I don’t want to work 24/7. However, I can work and play harder by being more efficient and managing my mindset.

When I’m working, I try to focus completely on the project at hand, reducing as many distractions as I can. It’s one reason that working from home is so perfect for me – rarely does another human interrupt me. 

What I’m still working on is relaxing in the same way. I’ve always been an overachiever and workaholic. Now, I’m taking conscious effort to reset my mind when I relax. No thinking about work. No ruminating over my mistakes or worrying over a particularly difficult analytics question.

 I want to emulate Mocha. Focus is the key to increasing efficiency, getting more done in less time so I can enjoy my life. I only have the one, and I don’t intend to waste it.

How are you cutting through your own bullshit to become a better version of yourself? Hit me up on Twitter at @TomBasgil. Let’s commiserate – or debate.

Remote WorkTom Basgil