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Be Obsessed or Be Average by [Grant Cardone]

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Be Obsessed or Be Average Kindle Edition

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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

Obsession Saved My Life-and It Will Save Yours

For you to understand how I became successful and learned about the amazing power of obsession, I first need to show you how denying my obsession almost ruined my life.

It's not a pretty story but it is my real one. And I wouldn't be surprised if you found some parallels to your own life in mine.

The Roots of My Obsession

I didn't have a father who could lead me to the land of the rich, lend me a million dollars for my first real estate deal, assist with political connections through introductions at country clubs, or show me the ways of business.

My parents were the children of Italian immigrants who came to America in the early 1900s. Dad was the first in his family to attend college. He was an ambitious young man with an entrepreneurial spirit who believed the American dream was within reach, starting with a little grocery store he and my mother operated.

Dad was obsessed with success because he believed that taking care of his family was his first duty. From a very early age I got that my dad's number one mission in life was to provide for his family: putting a roof over our heads and making sure we had food, clothes, and an education.

A few years before I was born, Dad took on an ambitious plan to start his own life insurance company with a couple of partners. I don't know all the details of what happened with the life insurance company, but his partners ousted him and he wound up in a tough situation. At forty-two years of age, my dad found himself out of work with three kids to support and twins on the way (me and my twin brother, Gary). He had to start over. He decided to use the little bit of money he had in savings to become licensed as a stockbroker, embarking on yet another new career.

Thanks to his work ethic and obsession with providing for his family, his new venture started to pay off. He bought a new car that he was very proud of, a Lincoln Town Car. Just after my eighth birthday, we moved to a new home on a sprawling one-and-a-half-acre lakefront property. We owned a boat for fishing and water-skiing and a riding lawnmower. Doctors, who at that time were the most successful people in the community, lived on both sides of us. My dad's hard work and success at the stock-brokerage firm had gotten our family firmly into the middle class. I often overheard my mom and dad talking about how we had "made it." Even as a young kid I knew something special had happened.

The next two years with my family at that lakefront home were an amazing part of my childhood . . . but it didn't last long. Only a year and a half after my dad bought his dream house, he died of a heart condition at the young age of fifty-two.

My mother found herself a widow at forty-eight years old with five kids, a little bit of life insurance money, and a big house in the country that required constant attention. My mother had no professional skills she could use in the marketplace to bring in new income. She had dedicated her life to being a wife and mother. And now she needed to figure out how to conserve the money my dad had left and stretch it long and far to get all five kids through college.

This was a big challenge, as my mother had no college education and did not have income earning potential. She had grown up in the Great Depression and didn't want to see her family have to struggle the way people had then. So my mom became obsessed, if you will, with making sure the little bit of money my dad had left us would be enough to get by.

She saw everything as a future expense and a threat and quickly began to downsize. She immediately put my father's dream house on the market. We were forced to move into the city, to a tiny brick house on a tiny lot, surrounded by houses that all looked exactly the same. The lake was gone; no more boating, fishing, crabbing, and hunting just outside our door. I was crushed.

In our new house there was grief-we all missed my father. On top of that, though, my mom was scared, and I could feel it. There was constant fear around her. While other boys my age were out with their dads playing sports, hunting, and fishing, I was at home watching my mother clip coupons, always worried about the cost of basic necessities and so on. My mom could make pennies bleed. Her scarcity mind-set was part of everything we did.

At the same time, Mom was constantly reminding me of how very, very lucky and grateful I should be for all that we did have. She would claim, "Your father got us into the middle class-we have more than most." I would hear this over and over. "Never take any of this for granted."

I tried being grateful for and appreciative of all that we had, but it never sat right with me. The whole thing seemed so screwed up to me. I was ten years old, my dad was dead, the dream house was gone, mom was living in fear, and I was supposed to be grateful? I wasn't grateful-I was pissed!

I didn't know it then, but this time seeded what would later drive me in life. As much as I loved, admired, and appreciated my mom for what she did for me in making sure we had clothes, food, and a roof over our head, I didn't want to live my life in a constant state of worry. At the age of sixteen I vowed to my mother, "When I grow up, I'm going to get rich so I never have to worry about not having enough money. And when I do, I am going to help a lot of people. This middle-class thing sucks. I am going to get mine!"

As soon as I said it, I knew I sounded like a spoiled, ungrateful, disrespectful, rebellious, snot-nosed, punk teenager. My mother had that look on her face that every parent gets when a kid crosses the line. She was furious, disappointed, and frustrated. Still, I felt an overwhelming sense of powerlessness, knowing I couldn't do anything about anything at the time.

My flare-ups became more and more common. And the more I had them, the more I knew I was both wrong and right. I knew I should be grateful-so many other people had less than us. But I also knew there was truth in what I was thinking. Why should anyone have only enough money to get by-and still need to worry about money? When things would cool down, I would try to explain to my mother that it wasn't that I didn't appreciate everything she did for us or that I wasn't grateful for everything we had. The reality is I would continue to have this push/pull, right/wrong argument about scarcity and money with myself and others for years to come.

Anytime I had a blowup, my mom (and later my girlfriends and friends) would always say the same thing: "But we have it so much better than others." I never understood that response. First off, what do others have to do with my life? Second, anytime I compared myself with others who had more-people who were really living the life-my mom, girlfriends, and friends would come back with "Don't compare yourself to others." There was no winning.

I would tell myself over and over, One day I am going to make it big. But I quit telling my mom this because every time I did, she would reach down, hug me, and say, "Why can't you just be grateful for what we have?" And then she would start telling me again how she had grown up taking care of five siblings, with no money and not knowing where the next meal was coming from.

This was the cycle-the constant loop aiming to talk me out of what I thought possible for me and what I wanted. No matter how many times I tried to convince myself of my mother's logic, it never added up for me. Dad works his ass off, finally makes it, buys his dream house, dies, and leaves the family terrified every time we go to the grocery store because we are worried about running out of money? Ugh, no thanks.

Looking back, I realize I was the only one making any sense at all about how the world actually worked.

Obsessed with the Wrong Things

I was unable to do anything to remedy the family's situation at that time: I was young and frustrated and, frankly, I didn't know how. With too much time on my hands and no strong mentorship in my life, I got busy becoming a problematic teenager instead.

By the time I was in high school, I was a handful. I also had a big mouth and was very opinionated; I was disruptive in school and would get kicked out of class. Add to that the fact that I was always hanging around the football players' girlfriends, so I was getting into weekly fights with the football team at school. In general, I caused more trouble than my poor mother knew what to do with.

By the time I graduated from high school, I had also fallen in with the wrong crowd: drinking, smoking, and experimenting with drugs. Drugs became a daily issue in my life. I started smoking weed at sixteen, and by the time I was nineteen, I was using anything and everything available. Short of shooting dope, I tried it all. I had developed a massive daily drug problem.

I did go on to college, because my mother had promised my dad, before he died, that their kids would go. I felt obligated to go, even though I didn't really see the point. I wasted five long years in college, never paying attention in class, taking almost nothing away from it, yet maintaining grades good enough to stay in school. Eventually I graduated with an accounting degree I had no intention of using-and $40,000 in debt from college loans.

It wasn't a pretty picture. At twenty-three I was at least twenty pounds underweight and had a gray complexion, thanks to drugs. I had become the black sheep of my family. Despite my earlier pronouncements of wanting to be rich, I found myself with no abilities, no self-esteem, and no direction. I managed to get a job at a car dealership, but it was a dead-end job for me.

And then came the kicker. As a result of hanging out with the wrong people and being obsessed with the wrong things, I was beaten up within an inch my life. I spent three days in a hospital after almost bleeding out in my apartment. It took seventy-five stitches in my head and face to fix me up. Not even my mother could recognize me. The scars are still visible on my face today, around both eyes and my mouth.

The people who loved and believed in me the most had no idea how to help me. Hell, I didn't know how to help me. Even almost being beaten to death in my own home didn't change me. Every day I swore to myself, I will not use drugs today, only to find myself moments later doing the very drugs I had promised I would not use again.

In fact, nothing changed for another two years. I continued to use daily. I hated everything about my life at the time-my job, the auto industry, coworkers, the people I hung out with, the apartment I lived in. I hated myself too. The only thing I still cared about was my dog, a 140-pound Doberman named Capo whom I'd had for six years-and I was starting to neglect even Capo. I had become a cause of concern for everyone who loved me and a disappointment to so many who wanted to believe in me. I was broke and broken-financially, emotionally, spiritually, and even physically.

The weekend of my twenty-fifth birthday I went to visit my mom at her place, not far from the dumpy apartment I rented for $275 a month. I showed up at my mom's place loaded, slurring my words, tongue swollen from barbiturates. My mom, exasperated, finally gave me the big ultimatum: "Don't come around here anymore until you get your life together."

I knew I had to change or I was going to die without even getting a chance to prove-to myself or to her-that I could be something.

When I told the owner of the car dealership that I needed to get help for my drug problem, he suggested I try to handle it myself. It was the first time I admitted to anyone that I couldn't. I told him, "If I could quit by myself, I would have stopped five years ago."

A few days later, with the help of a family friend, I checked myself into a rehabilitation treatment facility. I was terrified and hopeful.

Twenty-nine days later, when my insurance coverage ran out and the treatment center couldn't get any more money from me, I was sent back to the world I had left. The only thing good about treatment was that I learned that I could go twenty-nine days without a drug.

On my way out the door, the counselor in charge of me gave me a parting shot. "You'll never make it," he said. "You are a defective person. You have an addictive personality. You have a disease you can never recover from. You have no power or control over your disease or your life, and the chances of you never using drugs again are zilch. The most successful thing you can do with your life at this point is never use again. Focus on anything else and you will fail. Drop all your grandiose ideas of money, fame, and success."

Wow. What a motivational message.

I had taken a big step in seeking help, and while the treatment center gave me the chance to get off drugs, by no means had it rehabilitated me or addressed the reasons I had gotten into drugs in the first place. I left that place as broken as I had been when I had entered. In fact, my uncertainty about my life and my abilities was heightened because I was no longer under the influence. And that's what they call "recovery"? I hadn't recovered. I was also acutely aware of how fragile I was for the first time.
--This text refers to the hardcover edition.

About the Author

Coming soon... --This text refers to the audioCD edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B016VRFTR4
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Portfolio (11 October 2016)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 771 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 236 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 1,738 ratings

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Grant Cardone owns and operates seven privately held companies, and a private equity real estate firm, Cardone Capital, with a multifamily portfolio of assets worth over $5 Billion. He is one of the Top Crowdfunders in the world, raising over $880 million in equity via social media. He is featured on Season 2 of Discovery Channel's Undercover Billionaire, where he takes on the challenge of building a million-dollar business in 90 days. Grant is also a New York Times bestselling author of 11 business books, including The 10X Rule, which led to Cardone establishing the 10X Global Movement and the 10X Growth Conference, now the largest business and entrepreneur conference in the world. Cardone uses his massive 15 million plus following to give back via his Grant Cardone Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to mentoring underprivileged and troubled youth in financial literacy.

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