EPISODE 71 — Tim Grover — Winning: The Unforgiving Race to Greatness
Tim Grover, the elite trainer of legendary athletes such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, knows what it takes to win.
He has made it his business to understand winning, from the relentless mindset to the difficult sacrifices one must make.
8:15 – Dueling definitions of winning. “A lot of individuals describe winning as joyous, euphoric, or whatever positive thing they can come up with. But when you ask the people who have gotten so close to a win and lost it, but then finally gotten that win over and over again…their language is completely different. They describe winning as hard, nasty, uncivilized, unapologetic, uninhibited. They’re thinking about all the time they spent to get to that win and what it takes to do it all over again. People who want to win have to think about what they’re willing to do. Are you willing to put yourself in an uncivilized frame of mind where you’re controlling everything that you possibly can control? Because if you can do that, then the uncontrollable becomes a little easier to manage.”
10:42 – Winning over Michael Jordan. “I saw an article in the newspaper describing how Michael Jordan was tired of taking physical abuse from the Detroit Pistons and was looking to get strong. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get to Michael, who was already one of the best players in the NBA. He’s not going to train with somebody who has never worked with a proper professional athlete, but if I could show results with somebody else then he may see them and a door might slightly open where I could work with him. So I wrote a letter to every player on the Chicago Bulls except for Michael Jordan, but he ended up reading one of them and gave it to the athletic trainer and the team physician and told them to contact me. For three months, they tested my knowledge on biology, biomechanics, physiology, everything, without telling me who the client was, and they finally gave me the client’s address and told me to meet him there. So I arrived, rang the doorbell, and Michael Jordan opened up the door. He invited me into the house and we spoke for about 45 minutes. He told me he wanted to get bigger and stronger, and I thoroughly explained my philosophy to him. He thought for a moment and said that nobody had ever explained it to him this way. I told him to give me 30 days to make an impact on his fitness. 30 days turned into 15 years.”
16:19 – Winning is a never-ending test. “You test people all the time. When you go to school, you learn and then you get tested. But in life, you get tested and then you learn. So for all of us on Michael Jordan’s staff, we had our educations and different backgrounds, but he wanted to make sure that when life came that we were able to pass that test. He was saying we’d better keep up with everything — good and bad — that winning brings.”
21:25 – Surround yourself with crazy people. “If you can find somebody who’s as supportive and obsessive in your goals as you are…keep that person in your life. It’s extremely important to find people who will be selfish for you and understand what you’re trying to accomplish. Those individuals hold you accountable just as much as you hold yourself accountable. They tell you when you’re slacking or doing too much, but they never tell you to slow down. They won’t judge you because you’re constantly producing results, and your wins become their wins too. If you ask somebody for their support, you better deliver those results.”
35:12 – Learn from the losses. “There’s a big difference between thinking you’re a champion and actually being one. Everybody says when you get knocked down, you need to dust yourself up again and jump right back up. I totally disagree with that. When you get knocked down, stay down there for a little bit, understand why you got knocked down, and then stand up differently. You become more resilient. As you win more, the amount of time you have to stay down is shorter because you learn a lot faster. If you keep getting knocked down and standing up the same way, that’s where the problems come.”
43:39 – You can win every day. “Kobe Bryant said winning is everything. We have opportunities to win every single day, but a lot of us can’t even see them. You have to go get them first, and it’s a feeling that you just can’t describe. It may not be in the sports industry, but how about being your own cheerleader and putting that same effort into something that’s that important? I have no problem with an individual who did everything they possibly could and failed. I have a problem with the individual who didn’t.”
50:06 – Winning is about elevation, not motivation. “Winning is hard. Everybody’s looking for that easy path. That’s why there are so many individuals out there who sell motivation because that means you’re going to keep buying. I don’t sell motivation… I sell elevation. The big difference between the two: elevation is internal and motivation is external. Nobody can ever take your elevated mindset away. They can take your motivation away because you got it through somebody else. But nobody can take away what you earned on your own.”
58:35 – We are naturally winners. “We’re all born relentless. We’re born knowing how to win. When a baby is learning how to walk, it doesn’t quit every time it falls. It gets up. At some point we lose that ability to continue to push ourselves to go get those wins, and we look for other people’s approval. When a baby starts to walk, or does anything special, who’s the first individual to acknowledge it? It’s not the parent; it’s the baby itself. The baby will clap for itself when it learns how to do something that it hasn’t done before. There’s that self-validation that it gives. As we grow up, we start looking for validation from everybody else.”
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EPISODE RESOURCES & REFERENCES:
Relentless by Tim Grover
Winning by Tim Grover
Detroit Pistons “Bad Boys” era
Michael Jordan baseball stint
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