This Book is For:

*People who are looking to increase their mental resilience, and those who would be willing to exchange an easy life for the strength to endure a difficult one.

*Elite athletes looking for an edge over their competition and a mental performance enhancement that will help them dominate the field.

*Business professionals seeking to upgrade their focus, mental toughness, decision-making skills, and their ability to handle top-tier pressure in the toughest situations they'll face.

*Anyone who is interested in exploring the highest reaches of human capability, and in determining where exactly their true limits lie.


“No matter where I work, the same truth keeps emerging. Neutral thinking is the key to unlocking a set of behaviors that can turn also-rans into champions and champions into legends."

-Trevor Moawad, It Takes What It Takes

What is reality? Reality is that which refuses to go away, even after you stop believing in it. Philip K. Dick was certainly right about that.

At the basic level, It Takes What It Takes is a masterclass in accurately assessing the nature of reality in front of you and building an effective strategy to help you deal with it, no matter what.

No. Matter. What.

The author, the late Trevor Moawad, was a top mental conditioning coach ("the world's best brain trainer") who worked with superstars in the NFL, elite professionals at Harvard Business School, Fortune 500 companies, the military - basically anywhere you see ambitious strivers and world-class competitors pursuing their potential, you would have found Trevor Moawad, helping them manage their negativity and achieve any goal they set for themselves.

His life's work was to motivate the motivated. Not by pumping them up with fake positivity or silly affirmations; not by wishing and hoping for performance improvements, and not by instilling a blind faith in positive thinking.

Instead, he helped these elite individuals return to reality, face the very real obstacles in their path, and come up with a plan for what to do in the very next moment, which is the only time when any of us have any real power.

Importantly, he wouldn't let them get too high or too low. Negative thinking works negatively 100% of the time, naturally, and just because you're thinking negatively doesn't mean you're being realistic. But positive thinking often has very little to do with reality either, and it's in navigating between those two extremes where we can find that next gear.

Just like in bowling, where beginners often have those bumpers on either side of the lane to prevent the ball from ending up in the gutter, neutral thinking can help you stay centered and stay on the path taking you where you want to go.

Neutral thinking, as Trevor would say, is a high-performance strategy that emphasizes judgment-free thinking, especially in pressure situations. It acknowledges that the past happened. However, the past isn’t predictive. It can influence the present and thus, the future, but it doesn't guarantee it.

Neutral thinkers calmly and coolly assess challenges, take inventory of their unique strengths and abilities, and determine the best path forward, often with incomplete information about the true nature of reality, but never running from it.

The past doesn't determine your future; what you do next determines your future. Neutral thinking is about gaining as much clarity as possible, reclaiming as much control as possible, and then asking, "What would a winner do in this situation?"

One of the strongest lessons in this book is that winners behave like winners, and average performers exhibit average behaviors. You can't behave like an average person and expect to be anything more than average. You have to think like a winner, and most importantly behave like a winner if you want to stack the probabilities of success in your favor.

Another strong lesson is the absolute imperative to reduce the flow of negativity into your life - for the sake of your performance, sure, but also just for the sake of your sanity and your quality of life too. A staggering experiment that Moawad ran a few years ago illustrates this point well.

Long story short, over the period of a few weeks, he voluntarily exposed himself to the constant stream of negativity that's breaking over the eyes and ears of basically everybody hooked into mainstream society, virtually 24/7.

The poor guy didn't even last a month.

The constant negativity quite literally broke him, and yet that's what people are living with - voluntarily - every single day! The negative news, the anger and vitriol online, the sad, angry music, etc. It was all too much. It poisoned Trevor's life until he quite literally couldn't take it anymore. The full story is in the Book Notes section of this breakdown.

There's a lot more to discuss, including the Law of Substitution, and what Trevor calls the "Illusion of Choice," all of which is detailed down below. It all adds up to one hell of a winning strategy for life, and while few books are perfect, this one has the power to help you reframe your reality, reject the negativity, and recover the astonishing power of choice you've had all along.

Key Ideas:

#1: The Neutrality of Reality

“The actual truth is not negative or positive when you remove judgement from it. It simply is. Neutral is the harmony between two extremes, negative and positive.

Neutral thinkers remain aware of the situation as it changes from moment to moment. We give ourselves the opportunity to learn from every situation, even if the outcome is not optimal at that specific time. The next behavior remains consistently in our control."

Reality is no more - and no less - than the world as it actually is. Reality is not as we wish it to be; it can only be as it actually is. How could it be otherwise?

Persisting in delusion isn't going to help you, and a plan that isn't based on reality is no plan at all. It could be the most perfectly thought-out, most meticulous plan anyone's ever thought of in the history of plans, but if it's not based on reality, it's not going to work.

Wishing reality was different isn't going to change it either; reality is stubborn. It refuses to bend to your preferences or desires, but it's also here to help you...if you work with reality rather than against it. Again, reality is here to help you. That's what neutral thinking is based on.

Wanting things to be different than they are only handicaps your ability to respond effectively to changing circumstances. It's in your best interests to seek reality in its true form, regardless of how painful it is to observe or acknowledge it.

But there's also something comforting about the rigidity of reality: it's a constant. In the same way that a 45lbs bar in a gym in Canada is going to be a 45lbs bar in a gym in South Africa, reality is exactly what it is, regardless of whether you had a horrible day or a fantastic day.

You don't have to like the outcome, but acknowledging it dispassionately is what's going to allow you to formulate the correct response. Taking reality as it is, committing to facing it no matter what, will lead you to the correct choice of action. It will show you the next steps to take.

Fighting against reality, however - denying it - will get you nowhere. Reality remains undefeated.

#2: The Illusion of Choice

"Nothing hit me between the eyes like the illusion of choice. It so clearly is true, and yet we all compete against our own choices every day."

-Chris Brearton

Arnold Schwarzenegger says that when you have a vision, everything else becomes easy. Everything becomes clear. Suddenly, you don't have a choice anymore, but you have a clear path.

You know exactly what must be done to reach your goal, to make your vision a reality. If you want to achieve that goal, you have to follow the path. That's the one choice you can make that removes all other choices.

When you have a clear path, everything that could deter you from that path becomes a lesser choice. A false path.

For Arnold, having that vision of becoming a world champion bodybuilder removed the choice he had to party on the weekends, or skip the gym "just this one time." If he wanted to make his vision become a reality, suddenly, he no longer had a choice. Neither will you. You will lose your false freedom, because you traded it for clarity, purpose, and meaning.

In your life, you think you have a choice, but you really don't. Not if you're serious about reaching your goals. There is a specific set of actions you must take, and if you don't take those actions, then you won't reach your goals. So do you really have a choice about whether or not you take those actions?

The goal that you choose determines the path you must take to get there, and that path will determine what kind of choices will become available to you. If you want to grow a successful business, you certainly have a choice about whether you want to run Facebook ads or YouTube ads, but you don't have a choice regarding whether or not you work on weekends and holidays.

If your goal is to get into fantastic shape, you have a choice about what kind of workouts you perform, but you don't have a choice regarding how much sleep you get, whether you drink water or not, or whether you eat Doritos four times a week. Those are only choices available to people without fitness goals. And those are perfectly fine choices! People can do what they want. But you don't have a choice anymore.

Competing against your own choices means to sabotage your own efforts to follow the path that leads to your ultimate goal. You sabotage your original decision whenever you decide to do something that will take you off that path.

Your choices have to align with your desires, or else you're just deceiving yourself. To realize your vision, you need to sacrifice what you want now for what you want most. That's the deal. That's the price that reality demands that you pay.

By committing to that path no matter what, you may lose your "choices" but in their place you gain your freedom.

#3: The Law of Substitution

“Russell understood a critical fundamental: the law of substitution. At any given moment our minds can sustain only one thought at a time. One. The thousands of words flying through our brains or screams from outside crowds at riot levels can't overcome that truth. It's universal.

My mind doesn't block things out. It simply goes to whatever thought I ask it to go to. My inner voice is loudest. If I don't use it strategically, however, then the words of others or the outside chaos can replace my message to myself. My own words influence me ten times as much as anyone else's. Russell uses that power. We all can."

Your mind can literally only focus on one thing at a time, and one of the most explosive psychological discoveries of all time is that you get to choose what that one thing is. And whatever shape that dominant thought takes, that's the shape that your external reality will take as well.

Just like multitasking is actually the brain switching back and forth really quickly between tasks, your mind isn't actually capable of holding two thoughts in consciousness at the same time. What's happening is that your mind reverts back to your dominant thought, whatever you decide that is.

By doing so, everything else gets blocked out automatically. Select your dominant thought - the one most empowering thing you can think that's going to get you to where you want to go - and your mind will automatically shut out every other competing thought.

Naturally, you won't be able to do this indefinitely. I can focus on my work for hours on end, but eventually, I'm going to have to focus on what's for dinner. Other thoughts, concerns, stressors, etc. are going to intrude upon your consciousness, and you don't have complete control over that process. But you can always choose to return to that dominant thought.

What you need to do is run an ad campaign inside your own mind. Advertising works - that's why it's a multibillion-dollar industry. It's effective. Advertising makes people do things, including you. So it's not a question of effectiveness, it's a question of what kinds of advertisements are running inside your own head.

#4: Doing Into Feeling

“It’s what you do, not how you feel, that gets things done. We can do our way into feeling the way we need to. It's hard to feel our way into achieving a damn thing."

There's a virtually foolproof technique I used to use to get myself to the gym, regardless of how I felt about the matter. It's wonderfully simple and effective.

Basically, what I would do is tell myself that all I had to do was gather my gym clothes by the door. I didn't have to go all the way to the gym, I only had to gather up my things.

Then, once my gym clothes were by the door, I told myself that all I had to do was take them out to the car. That's it. I didn't actually have to drive to the gym. Just take my gym clothes out to the car.

Maybe you can see where I'm going with this.

Essentially, I did this every step of the way until I was in the locker room, dressed for my workout, mere steps away from walking onto the gym floor and beginning my workout. More often than not, by the time I got this far, I was actually feeling it. I wanted to go work out by this time, even if it was the last thing I wanted to do even thirty minutes ago back at the house. I acted my way into feeling.

The other way? It just doesn't work! Trevor's right: It's hard to feel your way into achieving a damn thing.

Sure, you can get "motivated" and hyped up for a few minutes, but it's very hard to maintain and extremely uncertain, subject to the whims of your feelings and emotions. Actions, however, fuel emotions, and by acting in a certain way you can cause yourself to feel a certain way, even if it's far removed from your current state. I've proven the truth of this principle time and again, and so has Trevor Moawad and all the superstar athletes he's worked with.

Don't try to fight the reality of your feelings and emotions. Reality remains undefeated. Wake yourself up as you get moving. Motion drives away sadness, fatigue, and lethargy. Motion leads to motivation.

#5: Winners Behave Like Winners

“They were a collection of winners and, more important, a group organized around great behaviors. After all, winners win only when they behave like people who win."

You can't perform average actions, put in average effort, to achieve average goals, and expect to become anything better than average.

More harshly, you can't behave like a loser and expect to somehow, miraculously come out a winner. Now personally, I don't believe that anyone who truly and honestly does their best could ever be called a loser, but that's a discussion for another time.

Here, I just want to plant the idea in your mind that winners everywhere, no matter who they are, and in what field, are those who perform winning actions, consistently over time, over and over and over again until they succeed. That's what makes them winners: their actions, their effort, and their commitment.

So no matter what you aspire to achieve in life, all you have to ask yourself is what a winner would do to achieve it...and then go do that!

You can simply reverse engineer success in this way and work backwards from the end result. If a winner in your industry would make 100 sales calls a day no matter what, invest in a professional-looking suit, maintain a high standard of personal hygiene, etc., then you know exactly what you have to do.

Selecting a reverse role model can also work: someone you definitely don't want to end up like! Think about your goal or your vision and then come up with a list of behaviors and attitudes that people who would be unsuccessful in achieving it might adopt.

No matter what your goal, there's someone out there who has achieved something similar - what does that person do all day? What do they believe about themselves? About reality? Who do they surround themselves with? What kind of standards do they hold themselves to? How fast can they shift into neutral?

Book Notes:

“Trevor has been with me for a Super Bowl win, a Super Bowl loss, and nearly every other football scenario you can imagine. We talk almost every day during the season. We try to meet every Thursday to talk in depth. He'll fly to meet me wherever I am. It's a major part of game preparation for me.

What am I saying to myself? What am I saying to my teammates? What language am I using? How am I impacting myself? How am I impacting others? How am I being my best self every time I step on the field?

It's critical to have a fundamental mental plan. Anything we go through in life is a new map to a new destination. What's the story we want to tell? How are we going to write that story? Trevor helps me choose the best words."

-Russell Wilson

“At the end of the day, the things we say, the body language we give off, and the people we're surrounded by affect our internal and external growth and possibilities. That's everything. Trevor and I try to capture that every time we talk, and then I try to live it."

-Russell Wilson

“It’s hard to clearly see reality when your subconscious is busily prejudging it.”

“He understands he doesn’t have choices if he wants to be a star quarterback in the NFL. He has a narrow path, and the only way to stay on that path is to stay neutral. To be aware of the past. Grounded in the present. In control of the next behavior."

“Downshifting your brain into neutral takes practice. But when you get the hang of it, once you develop the skill to shift your thoughts into neutral, you can go to the truth on a dime. You can deal with the facts at hand. Where are we? What can we do next? How can we best do it? You'll feel more calm, more aware of the situation as it unfolds moment to moment. And the athlete - or employee, or spouse, or parent - who's more calm and more aware generally succeeds."

"Some might call it mindfulness. It certainly overlaps with aspects of mindfulness. But neutral thinking is more than simply being mindful. It's a quick pivot step toward swift, decisive, stunning action. Mindfulness doesn't care if you win. I do."

“Many people conflate realistic thinking with negative thinking.”

“It takes away emotion and replaces it with behaviors. Instead of asking, 'How do I feel?' you should be asking yourself, 'What do I do?'"

“Negative, cynical thinking doesn't make you more realistic. It just makes you negative and cynical."

"Don't worry about what you feel. Rely on what you know."

“The present determines the present, and today's behavior is what influences tomorrow's outcomes. Start now."

“It takes a plan to achieve anything of value. When you plan, you identify an end goal and then chart out neutral behaviors that can help you reach that goal. That may sound overly simplistic, but a lot of people say 'I want to do this' without thinking about the behaviors and benchmarks required to reach that goal. Choosing not to plan is actually a plan around not planning. I don't recommend that."

“In my experience working with elite athletes, the ones who haven't experienced great success tend to want to know what they must do to reach their goals. The more self-confident athletes want to discuss the factors that could keep them from reaching their goals. They don't mind objectively examining the barriers to success."

“Russell doesn’t speak in 'ifs' when it comes to his performance. He speaks in 'I's.' 'I do this' versus 'If I do this.' Why? He knows the impact of his own language on him and on others. 'If' implies a choice. He knows there are no choices for leaders in the biggest moments. 'If' gives your brain an out. 'I' makes a commitment."

“Russell jogged onto the field with that unique blend of inner peace and urgency. He had it before I ever met him. People may be surprised that he works to make it even more world-class, but that's the standard and price of sustained excellence."

“You keep your head up. I'm never down. I can never be down. I'm grateful for the opportunities that I get. You have to take things like a man. You have to take things with strength and understanding. And even though it's not easy to understand in the moment, you have to know that there's going to be clarity someday. There's going to be clarity and understanding."

-Russell Wilson

“People are surprised to find out that I'm not a sports fan. I'm a fan of growth. I believe in people. Wherever that journey starts for them, I can see what they will become when weaponized with the right behaviors. I see it in eleven-year-olds. I see it in sixty-year-olds. I saw it in the football complex at Alabama. I saw it with my first U-18 girls club team. And all of them would get my best."

“Vince was amazed that so many players could have such a goal while behaving in ways so counter to what it would take to actually achieve that goal."

“During that 2015 conversation, I asked Vince a question: Is choice an illusion? Of course, he said. There was no way he'd still be in the NBA in his late thirties if he'd done everything he wanted to do. He did what was demanded. 'So it takes what it takes?' I asked. 'Exactly,' he said."

“Making bad choices is the lifeblood of average.”

“There are relatively few paths that will lead where you want to go, and the sooner you understand that, the sooner you can start putting yourself on those paths."

“You’ve got people out there training to beat you.”

“You can win even when the opponent is your own previous choices.”

“We are responsible for telling ourselves what we are. There are options, but not choices. Not really. This is particularly true for those who seek greatness."

“No matter what situation you find yourself in, there is almost always a behavior you can easily identify that, if you eliminate it, will set you on a better path."

“My goal, my aim, my dream was this: what if we could get people to just stop saying stupid shit out loud?"

“This is what we know. The human mind absorbs negativity seven times more easily than it absorbs positivity. We also know that language is the most powerful carrier of negativity. Thinking about my struggles is nowhere near as powerful as verbalizing them. When it comes out of my mouth, it affects me tenfold. If it's negative it may be seven times more on top of that."

“Negativity affects you negatively 100 percent of the time.”

“You have to retrain your brain to look at the world differently than it wants to.”

“I knew he was referring to the urgency and directness I've learned to speak with in order to survive in the world of sports. Teams give me limited windows at important moments, so I try to be as direct as possible."

“After eighteen years in this field, I've learned that inner voices and those feelings fuck with everyone. But it doesn't have to have the power we think it does. What we say has the power. And those words have an instant link to what we do."

“If you want to find what that next level is, then the language and the behaviors have to line up with who you want to be, with the outcome you desire. Period. Great teams behave like great teams. Great employees behave like great employees. By the same token, average employees behave like average employees. I respect everyone's right to make that choice."

“I get it. I believe you. And you just described a day in the life of many of the best athletes as they get ready to do their jobs in front of 80,000 people. But this is the point: does a bad 50 percent of your day give you the right to concede the other 50 percent?"

“After a day of slaying yourself with your external talk followed by four hours of the wrong TV and music, I can promise you that the meditation app you just downloaded is not going to help. Neither will the five bullet-point mantras on your fridge."

“The business model of today's 24-hour news channels is to make you mad, scared, or - preferably - both. They want you to think the world will end if the person you don't like wins an election. They want you to think there are kidnappers waiting around every corner to steal your children. This keeps you watching. It also bombards you with negative thoughts and helps you generate your own."

“I had chosen an equally competitive enemy - stupid shit going into my brain. This wouldn’t harden my arteries like cholesterol would. It would harden my attitudes and obscure my vision.”

“If there was any upside, it was that my empathy for people in adversity and facing challenges increased. I took inventory of that, but I understood the idea of psychogenic death a lot better."

“I believed I could beat external influencers with my own internal language. I was wrong. I don't think our own language can work nearly as well if we continue to consume emotional mediums - like music or brutal news - that weaponize negativity. They rendered forty-plus years of psychological strategies ineffective because I was in a place of brutal despair."

“If we don’t become hopeless, then we won’t become helpless.”

“Make hope a habit.”

“So what did I learn? Negativity, in any form that we choose to bring into our lives, is poison. There is negativity outside of our lives that we can't stop and can't stay away from. But we can choose what we bring into our lives.

Don't choose the things that will weaponize us against ourselves. Stay away from cable news channels. Stay away from radio shows and podcasts designed to inflame and anger. Nothing personal against Sam Hunt, but stay away from sad country songs.

Life is hard enough even when we don't choose to bombard our senses with negativity. When we do, everything can feel hopeless. So watch shows that make you laugh or cheer. Consume news that deals in facts, not opinions. Listen to songs that lift you up instead of dragging you down.

I'm a warrior. I believe my adversity tolerance is as elite as you'll ever see. I folded in twenty-six days. It's not a fair fight. So choose not to fight it. Choose not to assault your senses with negativity. You'll be happier. You'll also find it easier to stay neutral."

“It’s time to understand that everything we say matters. Obviously the words we say out loud to other people matter, but the words we say in our own heads are just as important. Because we have more power over ourselves than anyone else does."

"Words are tools, and they both predict and perpetuate performance."

“My dad lived in a world grounded in truth, and bad shit happens. My dad partnered that with another reality, however: we all create our own internal environment. Our own internal culture. Our socioeconomic status or family life or time with friends are realities, but we control how we interpret them."

"No one will be able to influence me like I will be able to influence me. This is particularly true when the words come out of my mouth and start immediately connecting to behaviors. Words become self-fulfilling prophecies. So if I created an internal ad campaign that presents me as a loser no one would want to listen to, I would act as if my talents didn't matter. I'd wonder why anyone would want to read this book. And that would make it very difficult to write this book."

“So yes, advertising works. That’s why it’s a multibillion-dollar industry.”

“You produce multiple ad campaigns every day. That dialogue going on inside your mind creates the ads. It creates your brand. No one knows exactly how many thoughts you have a day. The estimates range anywhere from 60,000 to 120,000. Whatever it actually is, it's a lot. Your brain is constantly evaluating situations. The key is to learn to control those thoughts in order to advertise to yourself. Because you are the most powerful advertiser."

“Their decisions and their ability to exert their own influence on themselves over the next few months could have lifelong financial ramifications. How they behaved between that point and the NFL draft could make them millions or cost them millions."

“Notice that Russell didn’t talk about the Broncos' defense or the Patriots' defense. Yes, he was aware that there were 300-pound dudes trying to rip his head off, but he had prepared for them. His teammates had prepared for them. His coaches had prepared for them. The only way they could throw him off his game was by cancelling the commercial in his head and forcing his thoughts elsewhere.

Instead, Russell kept repeating the same neutral thoughts to keep himself focused even though the entire world was watching. Think about that. His influence outweighed the world's influence."

“We lose track of how important being in the moment is. You have to be able to focus on the moment. In our relationships, in our friendships, in our sport, in our field, just be in the moment as much as you can. Clarity is key. I know my mission. I know what I need to accomplish. Let's go do it."

-Russell Wilson

“Michael had reentered the mode that won him his gold medals. 'I was feeling that little bit of improvement,' he said. 'I know what that feels like. I've been there.'

In his racing days, Michael worked days at a time for incremental gains. Shaving off a few hundredths of a second sometimes took months. So Michael's brain inherently accepted the idea that while he wouldn't walk normally again overnight, he would walk normally again if he worked at it. The tiny improvements he felt that first day helped him visualize the bigger gains that would come later.

The goal in rehab was to retrain Michael's left leg to work like his right leg did. Once he made the choice that walking normally again was his priority, nothing could stop him. 'I will make a full recovery,' Michael told himself. 'And I'm going to do it faster than everybody else.'

Doctors indeed marveled at Michael's progress. He did walk normally again within a few months, much sooner that most people in the same situation. He made a plan to recover, and he visualized the literal steps he'd have to take to get back to walking normally. As he made progress, he visualized the next, bigger steps. His visions kept coming true until eventually he reached his ultimate goal.

There is effectively zero chance that you'll run for gold at the Olympics. But there is a decent chance that one day you'll find yourself standing next to a physical therapist trying to make something work again. You don't need to be Michael Johnson in that moment. You just need to choose his mentality.

Your mind matters. You exert incredible influence on what you think. What you see. We don't have to accept life the way it comes to us. We can design it in advance so we can get the life we seek."

“I believe your destiny is defined by what you do next.”

“Life rewards those who start.”

“Your habits have no place to hide.”

“If you’re under pressure, it means someone gives a shit what you do. If you’re under pressure, it means someone relies on you.”

“Average people become average by doing average shit.”

“It’s about creating the opportunity to win by behaving like people who win.”

“You need to be thinking neutrally, making plans, and making good choices so you're prepared when the pressure arrives. Someone is going to get what you want. It's up to you to make sure that person is you."

“Are we for real? If I'm doing what I've intended to do in the manner it is supposed to be done, then I'm absolutely for fucking real."

“Find an excuse to win.”

“World-class behavior leads to world-class performance.”

“My dad had a magnetic personality. He was authentic. He was confident. I never questioned that he both lived and believed everything he taught. And in 1999 - after being told at fifty-nine that he had less than one year to live - I saw him attack his plan, create his own personal ad campaign, eliminate the controllable negatives, master his own language, and behave in alignment with both the choices and mentality that would give someone a fighting chance against multiple myeloma. And he lived until 2007."

“Wanting leads to questions. Those questions make us look at the role choice plays in our life relative to the things we want. That pushes us to make a plan. From there the barriers become clear, and the solutions quickly follow.

When our mind sees solutions, we begin to adopt the best behaviors. We can approach life neutrally and do what we must do to produce the outcomes we desire. Once we reach this point, we know. It takes what it takes."

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it."

-Bob Moawad

Winning, by Tim Grover:

This book has some of the most “truth per page” of any book I’ve ever read. It's also absolutely not for everybody, in the same way that not everyone is built to compete and win at the highest levels of sports and business.

The reality is that most people just do not have what it takes to succeed at the highest level, and the people who do make it are the ones who have internalized Tim Grover's message in this book. He reminds us - through his words and example - exactly why he is one of the world’s most sought-after mindset experts.

Grover is an elite performance coach with over three decades of experience training the likes of Michael Jordan (who was actually his first client ever), Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, and hundreds of other world champions and Olympic athletes. That's 30+ years of being surrounded by winners - never missing a practice or a game - and refining his approach to the point where it can be delivered at your feet in the form of this truth-studded book.

"Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing," said Kobe Bryant, one of the all-time greats, and here in Winning, Tim Grover distills everything he knows about winning and lays out 13 key principles for achieving unbeatable performance.

Sample Quotes from the Book:

“It’s only one game…until you miss the playoffs by only one game.”

“Winning is not a marathon; it’s a sprint with no finish line.”

"Your mind is your area to dominate, and if you don’t dominate it, someone else will."

Read the Full Breakdown: Winning, by Tim Grover

Discipline is Destiny, by Ryan Holiday:

Self-discipline has traditionally been a hard sell. Self-indulgence, quick dopamine hits, and having a good time have been winning the marketing battle lately, similar to the "battle" between chocolate and asparagus. Or between reality television and educational documentaries.

But what if the problem is simply that we've been thinking about self-discipline in entirely the wrong way?

Up until now, self-discipline may have been the equivalent of a Henry James novel in a TikTok world. But Ryan Holiday's book, Discipline is Destiny, will have you reimagining the whole concept in a much more liberating, fulfilling way.

His aim is to teach you how to harness the powers of self-discipline to fulfill your personal destiny. While everyone's destiny is fundamentally different, everyone's destiny is the product of self-discipline. Your habits shape your character, and your character shapes your destiny, so Ryan's book goes right to the root and gives you the physical, mental, and emotional skillsets for success.

In the final analysis, self-discipline is prescriptive. It will show you your future. Your environment, actions, habits, and mindsets are constantly shaping your destiny, and this book will show you how to guide this process more intelligently.

This involves thinking of self-discipline in the "proper" way: not as a punishment, as self-deprivation, but as it really is: a pathway to even greater freedom.

Some days will be hard. Actually, that's not true...many days will be hard. The hard days will outnumber the easy ones, but the meaningful days will also outnumber the meaningless ones. Living this way won't always be easy, but it will always be worth it.

Sample Quotes from the Book:

“At the core of this idea of self-mastery is an instinctive reaction against anything that masters us. Who can be free when they have lost, as one addiction specialist put it, ‘the freedom to abstain?’”

“Think about it: Most people don’t even show up. Of the people who do, most don’t really push themselves. So to show up and be disciplined about daily improvement? You are the rarest of the rare.”

“How much progress could you make if you made just a little each day over the course of an entire life? What might this journey look like, where might it lead, if each bit of progress you made presented both the opportunity and the obligation to make a little more progress, and you seized those opportunities, you lived up to those obligations, each and every time?”

Read the Full Breakdown: Discipline is Destiny, by Ryan Holiday

Do Hard Things, by Steve Magness:

We've never really understood the true nature of mental toughness until now.

Before Steve Magness and the pioneering scientists whose research he presents in this book came along, we've seen only one side of it, and this book will show you that there's more to toughness than we usually realize and more inside you than you've ever known.

The old model of mental toughness was based on fear and ridicule, shame and doubt. It was based on hiding all evidence of weakness, and the old style of coaching and leadership involved yelling and screaming at people until they get closer to what we wanted them to be - not for the purpose of allowing them to reach their full potential.

That changes today, and it changes with this book, Do Hard Things.

Steve Magness is a high-performance coach and scientist who works with Olympic athletes and people of comparable ability and prowess, and his book is a compelling and useful attempt to "fix" our old definition of mental toughness and replace it with something more flexible, more insightful, and ultimately, more useful.

Do Hard Things draws from the very latest in science and psychology to teach us how we can work with our body, emotions, and feelings, and how we can shift the very meaning of discomfort in our minds by leaning in, paying attention, and allowing ourselves the mental freedom to perform at the highest level of which we are capable.

The new model of toughness is all about embracing reality, listening to what our body is trying to tell us, responding instead of reacting, and transcending discomfort by tapping into the deeper meaning behind it all. The old model made everything look like a nail, so the only tool it could offer us was a hammer.

There's everything in this book from mindfulness, military case studies, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, and more, and it all comes together in a wonderful book that ends up being more growth-focused, intent on building you up, rather than tearing you down. Focusing on what's right with you, what you can accomplish, rather than what you lack or what is temporarily out of reach.

You already have everything you need within you in order to become more resilient, stronger, tougher, more flexible, and more adaptable. To paraphrase the great psychologist, Abraham Maslow, toughness isn't about adding something to you that isn't there already, it's about acting, striving, and competing as the person you are...with nothing taken away.

Sample Quotes from the Book:

“Real toughness is experiencing discomfort or distress, leaning in, paying attention, and creating space to take thoughtful action. It’s maintaining a clear head to be able to make the appropriate decision.

Toughness is navigating discomfort to make the best decision you can. And research shows that this model of toughness is more effective at getting results than the old one.”

“Our ability to be ‘tough’ and handle adversity starts well before we even encounter any difficulty. It starts with embracing the reality of the situation and what you’re capable of.”

“The old model of toughness, in essence, throws people into the deep end of the pool but forgets that we need to first teach people how to swim.”

Read the Full Breakdown: Do Hard Things, by Steve Magness

Be Your Future Self Now, by Dr. Benjamin Hardy:

Dr. Benjamin Hardy is the world's leading expert on the science of prospection and the Future Self concept.

Be Your Future Self Now is one of the absolute best introductions to the field, and inside this book, you're going to learn exactly why having a vision for your own future development is so critically important.

But you're also going to receive practical instruction on how to apply the science here and now to make your actual life better. Immediately. Today.

This is a rather long and detailed breakdown, but basically, who and what you're becoming - and your thoughts about it - directly affect the quality of your experience in the here and now.

Not only that but when your imagined Future Self directs your behavior rather than your behavior being directed by your past, that can be the shift that changes your entire life's trajectory.

Instead of running away from something you don't want (pain in your past), you'll be moving toward an exciting future that gives meaning to all of your subsequent days. To this day.

Sample Quotes from the Book:

“The first and most fundamental threat to your Future Self is not having hope in your future. Without hope, the present loses meaning. Without hope, you don't have clear goals or a sense of purpose for your life. Without hope, there is no way. Without hope, you decay."

“If you’re around people who have low expectations for you, you'll fall to those standards. If you're around people with high expectations, you'll rise to those standards."

“The more conscious you become of how everything you do right now impacts the person you are in the future, the better and more thoughtful your actions will be."

Read the Full Breakdown: Be Your Future Self Now, by Dr. Benjamin Hardy

Questions to Stimulate Your Thinking:

The quality of your questions determines the quality of your life. That's also how you get the absolute most out of any book that you decide to read:

You ask great questions the whole time - as though the book was on trial for its life.

Here in this section are a few questions that can help guide and stimulate your thinking, but try to come up with your own additional questions, especially if you decide to read this book the whole way through...

#1: “But do we have the luxury of choice if excellence is what we aspire to?”

#2: "What if we just stopped saying stupid shit out loud?"

#3: “If it doesn’t play out how we want it to tomorrow, what would stop it?”

#4: “If it plays out exactly as you see it, why would it? How would you influence that?”

#5: "Does a bad 50 percent of your day give you the right to concede the other 50 percent?"

"Judge a man by his questions, rather than by his answers."

Action Steps:

So you've finished reading. What do you do now?

Reading for pleasure is great, and I wholeheartedly support it. However, I am intensely practical when I'm reading for a particular purpose. I want a result. I want to take what I've learned and apply it to my one and only life to make it better!

Because that's really what the Great Books all say. They all say: "You must change your life!" So here, below, are some suggestions for how you can apply the wisdom found in this breakdown to improve your actual life.

Please commit to taking massive action on this immediately! Acting on what you've learned here today will also help you solidify it in your long-term memory. So there's a double benefit! Let's begin...

#1: Practice Shifting Into Neutral

Neutral thinking represents an entirely new way of seeing, but it can be learned, and opportunities to practice will present themselves constantly.

Most people probably don't suffer from too much positive thinking. Although that's definitely not ideal, delusional optimism perhaps isn't as bad as the constant stream of negativity running through many people's thoughts daily.

If that's you, neutral thinking can help you tremendously. It involves not projecting your difficulties into the future indefinitely, not believing that you are somehow faulty, and not believing that you're powerless. The challenges you face are temporary, they're not happening because you're a bad person, and you do actually have the power to fight back.

So bring it back to the present moment. What are the objective facts of your situation? What's your very next move?

It might take more than a few minutes to come up with an answer, but there is an answer. You're not powerless. You're not a bad person. And your problems aren't permanent. You possess real power in the present moment, and there's a choice you can make - a choice that winners would make - that will represent your first step toward a meaningful solution. When you're ready...take that step.

#2: Reverse Engineer Success

If you have a vision, a goal, something that you're aiming to achieve, it's likely that there's someone else out there who's achieved something similar, and can offer you advice (even from a distance) about how to get there. You can repeat the steps they've taken, you can repeat the actions that are most likely to help you get there too. You just need to work backwards from the end.

Say you're goal is to lose 50lbs in the next year. Plenty of people have done that. So you know right away that it's possible. What they've done, you can do too, provided that you repeat the same behaviors. Is it guaranteed? Of course not. But it's likely, and sometimes that's enough.

Working backwards in this case would mean breaking down your goal into monthly chunks and committing to a set of behaviors that would help you reach it. The 50lbs you want to lose breaks down to about a pound per week, which already is sounding a lot more possible. That's your benchmark.

Now you just outline a set of behaviors that make it as unlikely as possible that you wouldn't achieve your goal. If you drank a gallon water every day and cut out soda completely, that would be a major step forward. If you committed to walking a few miles 4x per week, that would most assuredly help too. None of these things are complicated, and if you actually dedicated yourself to implementing them, that 50lbs doesn't really stand much of a chance.

Work backwards from the end and plan it all out in advance. Give yourself a path forward, but no options and no choices besides doing what needs to be done.

#3: Utilize Positive and Negative Visualization

The key when harnessing the power of visualization is specificity, and involving all of your senses in the activity. You want to see that new car or that new body or that new whatever in the theatre of your mind, and it has to be as clear as if it were right in front of you, close enough to touch.

Not only do you have to see it, but you have to feel it; sense it, smell it, hear it. Touch the steering wheel, smell the exhaust, hear the engine. Feel it. All of this is powerful stuff. But it goes even beyond this.

What also helps is visualizing the specific actions and habits you'll need to take in the process of realizing your vision. See yourself walking around the block, feel yourself meditating in the morning, hear yourself on the phone making those sales calls. Enlist all your senses and bring them together to form the clearest picture possible of a winner - you - engaging in the habits and behaviors that are going to make you a winner.

Finally, you need to be able to visualize and anticipate all the problems, challenges, and setbacks you'll face along the way as well. Not everything will go as planned. Life will throw you curveballs, obstacles will appear in places that looked empty moments before. You have to prepare for all of that. Because when you're prepared for a fight, the problems lose their power.

#4: Launch an Ad Campaign Inside Your Mind

There are enough external ad campaigns competing to occupy your mental real estate; it's time to launch one of your own.

It's going to be a positive ad campaign, and you're going to fill your mind with the kind of positive propaganda that will be able to dispel the negativity and help you take back control of your life.

Look, companies don't spend billions of dollars a year on advertising because it doesn't work. Ads work. They work on everybody, regardless of whether you're targeting yourself with them or you're inhaling the advertising of others. So you may as well launch an ad campaign of your own that's going to actually help you.

So bombard yourself with positivity and uplifting messages. Everywhere you look in your house, your car, your workplace, your phone - everywhere - you should be seeing constant reminders that you are powerful beyond measure; that you are capable of overcoming any challenge; that you are destined to come out of this a winner; and that you have what it takes to realize your vision.

Eliminate as much as possible from your life that isn't taking you closer to your ultimate goal. Get rid of it. Stop listening. Abandon the negativity and replace it with something good. Remember, your brain can't hold more than one thought at a time, so if you put something positive there, then by default the negativity won't be able to gain a foothold.

#5: Be a Positive Influence

Once you've begun to be a friend to yourself, be a positive influence on other people as well. Be a positive ad campaign in their minds too. Uplift them.

Life is hard enough as it is without going around making it any worse.

You have a tremendous amount of influence over yourself, but you also influence others, for good or will, with everything you say and do. Lead by positive example and show them what's possible when they reject the negativity, return to their power, and embrace neutral thinking.

Show people that it takes what it takes...and that they have it.

"The path to success is to take massive, determined action."
-Tony Robbins

About the Author:

Trevor Moawad (1973-2021), former President of Moawad Consulting Group and the CEO and cofounder of Limitless Minds, was a mental conditioning coach to elite performers. He is well known for being the mental coach to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and worked closely with prestigious NCAA football programs and coaches, the US Special Operations community, Major League Baseball, and the NBA.

Additional Resources:

Limitless Minds | Main Website

This Book on Amazon:

It Takes What It Takes, by Trevor Moawad

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