HIGH PERFORMANCE HABITS
This book “High performance habits” came after 20 years of research and ten years of coaching experience.
Why do some people become extraordinary, why do others plateau and burnout? How can you replicate and scale success?
“High performance habits” is not only about the usual “work hard, be passionate, focus on your strengths”.
It’s really about the reliable habits that will make you more than an achiever: a high performer “someone who creates ever-increasing levels of both well-being and external success over the long term”
While most people are ready to change their lives, they often lack direction. They seem to live dull, disconnected and unfulfilling lives. Some even feel like drowning or plateauing.
They might encounter a little spurt of progress but it soon wanes and they end up having no real impact.
Successful people however hold a secret. They practice high performing habits that help them reach heightened and continuous growth and success. These are the people who break the norms. They accumulated multiple skill sets overtime. High performers have strong influence and add value to other people’s lives.
Personality and habits
Regardless of your psychological profile, you can achieve success simply by adopting a specific set of practices.
Brendon maintains that the usual tests such as the Myers-Briggs profile, the Clifton StrengthsFinder, the Kolbe a ™ Index, and the DiSC® Test fail to predict success.
There is no relationship between one’s personality and one’s high performance; everything lies in what we consistently practice: these are the high performance habits.
To realize your full potential, you have to align your behavior and adopt the best habits. Not all habits are created equal and the high performance habits guarantee which ones matter most. The right habits will determine your results and will increase your odds of success.
It’s possible to live an extraordinary life far beyond the common stereotypes of burnout, fatigue or stress.
What is high performance?
“High performance refers to succeeding beyond standard norms, consistently over the long term.”
“A high performer in any field isn’t just good at a singular task or skill—she or he has learned adjacent competencies to complement a particular expertise. They have multiple skill sets that allow them to succeed over the long term and—importantly—lead others. They practice meta-habits that enable them to excel in multiple areas of their lives.”
What we know about high performers
High performers achieve more success and they experience less stress. They developed resilience and dealt well with stress, fatigue and distraction.
They turn adversity into an opportunity and they remain confident that they will achieve what they set their minds to despite the difficulties.
High performers are also healthier than the common people. Their overall happiness prevails over everything. They are not mere achievers who feel disconnected; they are fulfilled by what they do.
High performers are looked up to and they are adaptive servant leaders. They are assertive, respected, valued and appreciated.
Instead of working on their career, high performers have a mission on which they work passionately. In fact, they create tremendous value to their surroundings and to their communities. “They don’t just develop skill; they develop people.”
High performance habits
By definition, a habit is something we keep doing until it becomes almost automatic, even unconscious.
High performance habits encompass deliberate practices, not mere unconscious routines. You need to be fully aware as you work on developing them.
“Real change comes from overcoming what’s natural or automatic. Deliberate habits usually won’t come easily. You have to practice them with real mental focus”
Brendon observes how all habits are not created equal. Certain give a competitive advantage while others won’t give any return. There are “bad, good, better and best habits”.
He distilled the best habits into six that he calls HP6. These habits are related to “clarity, energy, necessity, productivity, influence, and courage.”
This book delivers proven practices that will improve your performance. The principles in this book will help you achieve the extraordinary success you deserve.
Beyond natural: the quest for high performance
In high performance habits, Brendon highlights how most of the personality tests don’t predict success. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Gallup StrengthsFinder or the Kolbe test tell nothing about future performance.
Success doesn’t necessarily depend on your psychological profile; it comes from malleable factors such as your mindset, your focus, your persistence, and your relationships with others or your level of energy.
Read my article “The power of full engagement” by Jim Loehr to understand the importance of energy on our performance
“Success is achieved not by a specific type of person but rather by people from all walks of life who enact a specific set of practices”
Finding what matters
The HP6 or six high performance habits come from important concepts in self-help literature, data from Brendon’s global lab and patterns from more than 3000 high performance habits coaching sessions. The One-on-one interviews he conducted helped him identify the most recurrent behaviors and habits Brendon develops here.
“We found that not only do the six habits combine to correlate with high performance, but each habit correlates with high performance on its own. And together they correlate with other important life outcomes, such as general happiness, better health, and positive relationships.”
The six habits are:
1- Seek clarity
2- Generate energy
3- Raise the necessity for exceptional performance
4- Increase productivity
5- Develop influence
6- Demonstrate courage
HIGH PERFORMANCE HABITS #1: SEEK CLARITY
It’s crucial to actively seek for more clarity in your life. What you do today should be connected to what you do tomorrow. HP1 helps you experience growth and fulfillment while keeping you engaged over the long term.
High performers are characterized by 4 traits: they know who they are, what they want, how to get there and what they find valuable and fulfilling.
Ultimately, clarity can not only be developed, you can also generate it. “Clarity is the child of careful thought and mindful experimentation.”
Also, clarity doesn’t suddenly come to you in a form of flash of inspiration. You need to set time aside, ask deep questions, experiment new things and do more research if necessary.
Ask yourself who you are, identify your values, what are your goals and purpose? Do you have organized plans to arrive there? Answering these basic yet fundamental questions helps you feel better about yourself and about life in general.
Those who lack clarity seem purposeless. They just wander through life. A lack of clarity causes negative emotions and more neuroticism.
Practice one: Envision the future four
The future four covers different areas such as self, social, skills and service. The author recommends setting clear intentions for oneself, for one’s social world, one’s skill and one’s service to others.
High performers know who they are and they also know what kind of person they want to become. They are aware of their ideal selves and strive to achieve that self. When asked about their future, high performers respond quickly and confidently. They made a deliberate thinking process about where they want to go and “the ideal they’re trying to grow into”.
High performers have social awareness, emotional intelligence and social intelligence.
While being clear on their ideal self, high performers also know which skill sets they need to acquire. They easily have an answer about the 3 skills they are currently working to develop. They organize their schedule to consciously gain new skills, develop themselves and practice their hobbies.
High performers are servant leaders and they serve with excellence. They constantly ask how they can contribute to make the world a better place. They believe that they can make a difference in other people’s lives and care about their impact.
Practice two: Determine the feeling you’re after
Underperformers have low awareness about how they feel. They are passive rather than proactive in the way they should feel. High performers however direct their focus, thoughts and feelings to where they want to go: they have “willful feeling”.
It’s possible to override one’s emotional state and set clear intentions on what one wants to feel.
We must differentiate emotions from feelings. If “Emotions are generally instinctive”, we have control over our feelings.
In Buddhism, we usually say: “Pain is inevitable but suffering is a choice”. We don’t choose what happens to us but we can adjust our reactions and interpretations of the events.
High performers “generate the feelings they want more often than taking the emotions that land on them”
Practice three: define what’s meaningful
Not every mountain is worth climbing. According to our values and goals, we should narrow what is meaningful to our life experience.
There are four factors that shape meaning:
2- Connection: social isolation causes a loss of meaning. We are social creatures and need to value relationships.
4- Coherence: meaning helps their lives “makes sense”
Enthusiasm + Connection + Satisfaction + Coherence = Meaning
Putting it all together
“You have to have a vision for yourself in the future. You have to discern how you want to feel and what will be meaningful to you. Without those practices, you have nothing to dream of and strive for, no pop and zest in your daily life propelling you forward.”
With greater focus will come greater clarity, and with greater clarity will come more consistent action and, ultimately, high performance habits.
High performance comes when you focus on having more clarity in what you want. The more you know what you want, the more consistent your actions will be.
HIGH PERFORMANCE HABITS #2 GENERATE ENERGY
You’ll need a lot of energy to succeed over the long haul. Energy includes “positive and enduring mental, physical, and emotional vibrancy”.
To raise your energy, you’ll have to work on your physical, mental and emotional vibrancy.
Your high level of energy influences your overall happiness, your enthusiasm for taking on challenges, your confidence facing adversity and your influence with others. The opposite is also true, the less energy you have, the lower your ratings in these areas.
Think about it, research has shown that CEOs and top executives use as much energy as professional athletes. To be productive, you’ll need to master your energy.
Practice one: Release tension, set intention
In a previous article “Mastery by George Leonard”, I talked about the in-between moments that fill our day. Brendon calls it “transitions”. To increase energy, you’ll need to “master transitions”.
We mean by transition any in-between moments as you shift from one activity into another. You wake up and start your day, that’s an in-between moment. You are reading an email and want to write an answer; that’s another. From commuting to working and from lunch to getting back to work: a lot of transitions happen within a day.
“It’s in this space that you’ll discover your greatest restorer and amplifier of energy”.
A powerful exercise
You can revitalize your life by changing the way you shift from one task to another.
1- Close your eyes and keep them closed for one to two minutes
2- In your mind, calmly repeat the mantra “release, release, release”. Do it silently over and over. Visualize all the releases of tension in your body. Keep repeating the word “release”
3- As you release most of the tension: SET INTENTION. How do you want to feel for the next task ahead? How can you perform this task as best as you can?
Sitraka: I was skeptical about this exercise at first but it’s really powerful; if you don’t believe me, try it. One month later, I’m reviewing this article and this exercise really changed my life. You just need one to two minutes.
Release meditation technique (RMT)
Brendon shares how he trained over two million people on RMT. It’s a life-changing habit you can implement.
- Close your eyes, keep your spine straight and breathe gently and deeply
- Remove all the tension by repeating the mantra “release”.
- You will experience a release of physical and mental tension.
The more you repeat this exercise, the more you’ll experience a surge in well-being, presence and attention.
A guided meditation is available as you go on YouTube
Practice two: Bring the joy
“Joy plays a huge part in what makes high performers successful”
“It turns out that joy, more than anything else, is what gives them capital “E” Energy.”
High performers deliberately choose their feelings because they know their thoughts can be directed on the positive.
How can you generate more joy?
– Think about how you want to feel, practice visualization to generate these positive feelings,
– Focus on the positive, not the negative: anticipate positive outcomes from your actions,
– Expect some adversities but be sure that you can gracefully handle them,
– Regularly think about what you are grateful for.
New mental triggers
To bring joy, you can master your thoughts and guide them toward positive states of mind.
Brendon shares how you can develop a series of triggers that will bring this joy.
Notification trigger: set an alarm clock and write down: “Bring the joy”. It will remind you to take charge of your own happiness and joy.
Door frame trigger: Every time you cross a door, think about something positive.
Waiting trigger: In any waiting situation, ask yourself: “What level of presence and vibration do I feel right now, on a scale of 1 through 10?”
If you want to create a conscious trigger that will activate positive emotions, give this list a try.
Practice three: Optimize health
High performers improve their energy with “physical movements and breathing patterns”.
“The top 5 percent of all high performers are 40 percent more likely to exercise at least three days per week than the 95 percent below them.”
The 95% don’t take care of themselves; they have an awful diet, a poor sleep and they rarely if never exercise.
“How physically healthy would you rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10?”
Get fit now
The benefits of exercise are many: performing tasks faster, learning more efficiently, reduces stress, memory boost and elevation of mood.
When you work out, you’ll release more serotonin. Serotonin production improves the quality of your sleep which in turn produces more serotonin. Most of our healings happen during deep sleep.
Just moderate exercise guarantees these positive outcomes. Set a work-out plan in which you’ll exercise a few times per week. Exercise improves your physical, emotional and mental energy.
Where to start
Consistency plays a huge role in optimizing health and you have to stick to a regular workout schedule.
If your goal is to lose weight, it’s easier to work on your diet first. Consult a doctor about a plant-based diet. Get more sleep.
Set a positive environment that will help you achieve your goals. Surround yourself with people who value health and sports.
High performance requires energy. You start to feel good as you master your physical, mental and emotional vibrancy. It doesn’t depend on genetics alone; it boils down to good habits and regular practices. No one enjoys feeling exhausted or feeling mentally foggy.
HIGH PERFORMANCE HABITS #3: RAISE NECESSITY
You don’t have to do anything.
You don’t have to strive for a better life, you don’t even need to wake up but lay there on bed the whole day.
The sad truth is: we don’t have to do anything at all.
So why do some people still feel that they must succeed? Why are some people more driven than the others?
Brendon claims that performance necessity drives such people. It’s one of the “most powerful drivers of human motivation and excellence”
Necessity is an emotional drive that “makes great performance a must instead of a preference”.
Wishful thinking doesn’t get anything done, necessity demands that you take massive actions. Necessity however can move mountains. You feel that you have to.
When high performers are asked why they do what they do, why they work this hard, they immediately reply: “It’s just who I am, I can’t imagine doing anything else. This is what I was made to do.”
If you want to be extraordinary, you have to start to think that it’s an absolute must to excel. Your emotional involvement will get you more committed.
Performance necessity includes internal and external factors. Brendon calls them the four forces of necessity: identity, obsession, duty and urgency.
The internal forces that shape our behavior are mainly our values, expectations, dreams, goals and needs (needs for safety, belonging, congruence and growth…).
Two specific internal forces play a key role in your success over the long term:
– Personal standards
– Obsession with a topic
High personal standards and commitment to excellence
High performers keep a high standard. They care about excellence and put more effort into their activities, more than others do.
As they commit to excellence, high performers constantly monitor their behavior. When they set high standards, they regularly check whether those standards are respected or not.
Setting a clear goal is important. But only by monitoring progress; will you guarantee the achievement of your goals.
Successful people usually ask: “. “Did I perform with excellence today? Did I live up to my values and expectations for giving my best and doing a good job?”
Your identity molds your behavior. If your self-image is of a successful person, you will re-adjust your behavior if things go sideways.
“The goal for all underperformers must be to set new standards, self-monitor more frequently, and learn to become comfortable with taking a hard, unflinching look at their own performance.”
Obsession with a topic
High performers are extremely curious; they are driven and they crave to know more about their field of interest.
Deep and long-term passion for a particular topic is one trait that characterizes modern success.
External forces are outside factors that drive you to perform well.
Beware of reactance which is a negative force that motivates you. For example resentment or jealousy might push you to seek success; but they consume lots of energy. We’re not talking about such external force.
High performers care about serving a meaningful purpose.
Social duty, obligation and purpose
High performers feel that they have a greater mission beyond themselves. They need to serve someone or something by using their natural talents.
It’s a fundamental human drive to feel needed and to get to serve others.
“A tremendous amount of research shows that people tend to maintain motivation, give more effort, and achieve higher performance when they are held accountable for their outcomes, are evaluated more often, and have the opportunity to demonstrate their expertise or gain respect from those they serve”
Necessity is reinforced with the mix of internal and external forces. High performers need necessity to keep their fire. It’s important to have real deadlines, a sense of duty, being obsessed and a clear identity.
Practice one: Know who needs your A- game
Identify the people or community who needs your A-game the most. This will help you mix your internal and external motivation for necessity.
Practice two: Affirm the why
While underperformers are unclear about what motivates them, high performers confidently affirm and share what motivates them with others.
“To affirm is to declare or strongly assert something as valid or confirmed. It is saying with confidence that something is true or will happen.”
When asked why they do what they do, high performers sound confident and proud because they’re on their path, they have a purpose.
Openly talk about your intention and put the ego on the line. Subsequently, you work harder because you risk a lack of integrity; it’s a fundamental human drive to keep consistent with one’s self-image.
Practice three: Level up your squad
Positive and successful people will tremendously influence your results. Surrounding yourself with high performance people will increase your performance as well and this in any area of your life.
There is a phenomenon called “clustering” that explains why our behaviors, attitude and even health resemble our surroundings behaviors and attitude. It’s similar to a “social contagion” as you copy your surroundings eating, sleeping and earning habits.
Three degrees of separation
“This “contagion” effect is usually relevant up to three degrees of separation. This means that it’s not just your friends and family who can affect you. Research shows that your friends’ friends exert an influence. So do your friends’ friends’ friends”
High performers know how powerful their environment can be. They actively seek networking activities and they build strategic relationships with people who have higher status or better skills than they do.
To help you find new people, you can volunteer, play sports, seek mentorship, or earn a status by working on an exciting project.
No other choice
When people answer why they achieved success, oftentimes they simply answer that they had to, that they were hungry or that there was no other choice.
It’s a winning-habit to deliberately raise your level of necessity. Work on the variables mentioned above.
SECTION TWO: SOCIAL HABITS
HIGH PERFORMANCE HABITS #4: INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY
Have you ever been busy all day but experienced no progress at all? You give everything but your health and well-being are at risk?
Being effective alone isn’t enough. In the long run, you’ll need to get in sync with who you really are and what you want to do.
If there is a high performance habit you can develop, it would be to plan your days, projects and tasks.
Set priorities and work on what’s most important. The key is to stay focused and avoid any distractions or temptations.
The main difference between high performers and underperformers lies in the fact that the first are more productive “and yet also happier, less stressed, and more rewarded over the long term”
There are deliberate habits to master if you want to become a happy and productive high achiever.
The main ingredients of productivity are goals, energy and focus.
Clear and challenging goals help you get more focused and engaged. When you set clear objectives, you’re likely to experience a state of flow when you work on a task. In return, you have greater enjoyment and intrinsic motivation.
Energy encompasses physical and emotional vibrancy. You achieve this as we saw earlier with good sleep, regular exercise and proper nutrition.
Finally, you’ll need to maintain focus if you want to be productive. It is a real challenge in the modern era as you get abundant information, more distraction and lots of interruptions. “One study found that distraction lowers productivity by 20 percent”
Take a break
Your brain needs downtime to recover and process information. This is why intermittent breaks are crucial. Taking breaks help you get positive emotion and lead to greater productivity.
A high performance habit you can implement is to give your mind and body a break every 45 to 60 minutes.
Actually, you’ll feel more energized for work and your overall life if you spend as little as two to five minutes every hour stretching, practicing deep breathing or doing any physical exercises.
“Those short few-minute breaks will buy you hours of added focus and effectiveness each day”
Practice one: Increase the outputs that matter
Your priority is to identify your Prolific Quality Output which Brendon calls PQO.
High performers deliver high-quality output far more than their peers over the long term. They put a laser focus on productivity and efficiency. Underperformers by contrast get easily distracted and struggle to identify their prolific quality content.
A blogger’s PQO for example is a regular pillar content.
“Figuring out what you are supposed to produce, and learning the priorities in the creation, quality, and frequency of that output, is one of the greatest breakthroughs you can have in your career“
“Wherever PQO is found, it seems that breakthroughs and wealth follow”
When you identify your PQO, you’re less likely to procrastinate. Procrastination actually arises when you’re getting bored with what you’re doing. You find no meaning in the things you’re working on. When you love what you’re doing, you’ll experience less procrastination.
Practice two: Chart your five moves
Once you identified your prolific quality output, another high performance habit is to know the five moves necessary to make a goal happen. “If there were only five major moves to make that goal happen, what would they be?”
When you know the big five moves highlighted above, break them down into smaller achievable tasks and add a deadline for each; prioritizing then the successive tasks in a calendar.
The main thing is to figure out the five moves first. It’s less important to know how you’re going to achieve them.
How to achieve impressive results
- “Decide what you want”
- “Determine the Five Major Moves that will help you leap toward that goal. “
- “Do deep work on each of the major five moves—at least 60 percent of your workweek going to these efforts—until they are complete”
- “Designate all else as distraction, tasks to delegate, or things to do in blocks of time you’ve allocated in the remaining 40 percent of your time”
Practice three: get insanely good at key skills
“To become more productive, become more competent. You have to master the primary skills needed to win in your primary fields of interest”
You need to master the broad range of knowledge and technical skills to allow you to excel in a specific area. Skills can be general (communication, problem solving, systems thinking…), specific (coding, finance…) and personal (self-control, resilience, emotional intelligence…).
Brendon invites you to determine “the five major skills you need to develop over the next three years to grow into the person you hope to become.”
Everything is trainable and skills are learnable.
The most important paradigm shift you can make is to keep a growth mindset, be focused and obsessed with your goals and then practice with excellence.
There are 10 steps to progressive mastery:
- Determine a skill that you want to master.
- Set specific stretch goals on your path to developing that skill.
- Attach high levels of emotion and meaning to your journey and your results.
- Identify the factors critical to success, and develop your strengths in those areas (and fix your weaknesses with equal fervor).
- Develop visualizations that clearly imagine what success and failure look like.
- Schedule challenging practices developed by experts or through careful thought.
- Measure your progress and get outside feedback. 8. Socialize your learning and efforts by practicing or competing with others.
- Continue setting higher-level goals so that you keep improving.
- Teach others what you are learning.
Read my article “The Power of focus” by Jack Canfield
HIGH PERFORMANCE HABITS #5: DEVELOP INFLUENCE
High performers all have influence; if you don’t, you will not be able to lead others. You will need to move people in a new direction and to influence them to follow. There is a leadership proverb that says: “He, who thinks he leads, but has no followers, is only taking a walk”
Brendon shares a few characteristics of people who have influence:
– First, they are good at earning people’s trust and building camaraderie
– Also, they have the influence needed to achieve their goals
– They are good at persuading people to do things
– They easily get people to listen to them or do things they ask
– Finally, they have empathy for others
Influence also involves the feeling of making a difference. One of the high performance habits you can master is influence, it’s critical in life.
In High performance habits, having influence is defined “as the ability to shape other people’s beliefs and behaviors as you desire. It means you can get people to believe in you or your ideas, buy from you, follow you, or take actions that you request of them”
If you want to know how much influence you have, simply ask a person or a group of person to do something.
Part of having and gaining influence is learning to make requests and getting better at making those requests. Underperformers fear rejection and they rarely if never ask for what they want.
High performers are natural givers and they constantly look for ways to help others. They are also champions of people; they share their appreciation and genuinely praise others.
The difference makers
If you consider the people who influenced you the most, you’ll notice that they exerted an effect on you, by doing one of the following three “influence actions”:
– They shape how you think (about yourself, the others and the world…)
– And they challenged you in some way (raising ambitions, standards…)
– They serve as role models (their character, their action, their interaction, …)
“To gain influence with others, (1) teach them how to think about themselves, others, and the world; (2) challenge them to develop their character, connections, and contributions; and (3) role model the values you wish to see them embody.”
Practice one: teach people how to think
We frame how others should think when we say: “Think of it this way…, “what do you think about”, isn’t that right?”
When you guide other people how to think, you influence them. Starting from today -Brendon suggests- you have to do it deliberately. Your influence will grow overtime as it becomes a habit.
Personally, I found this advice insightful. Most of the influencers on social media actually shape how we think. As soon as I knew this, I started to deliberately post motivational texts and philosophical questions on social media. In just a couple of weeks, I noticed that my influence has grown, getting people to follow me, like, share and comment on my posts.
Always communicate how other people should be thinking about themselves.
If you want to influence someone, determine how you want her to think about herself; how you want her to think about others and finally, how you want her to think about the world at large.
Practice two: challenge people to grow
High performers are maximizers; they value excellence and challenge people around them to pursue high standards in life. They constantly challenge others to raise the bar and push others to get a little better every day.
Influencers challenge people’s character, their connection and their contribution.
Character: universal values such as honesty, patience and integrity.
Connection: ask them to improve their relationship with others
Contribution: to push people to be more generous.
Practice three: role model the way
High performers know how their character will influence others. They have a need to be a good role model.
High performers deliberately choose to role model the way because they intentionally seek to influence others.
“What makes them high performers is the laser-focused intention on how they can act in a way that gets someone to improve who they are, or achieve a specific result“
Influence is not necessarily about manipulation. High performers can manipulate others but they also know it doesn’t work in the long run. Manipulation might work once or twice, but in the long run, you will lose people’s trust.
Think about honesty. Honesty is a behavior that gives specific results: more trust, better relationships and more influence. If I ask you to be honest, I’m not asking you to manipulate others right? It’s simply to adopt an attitude that works. Once again, honesty produces a specific result while dishonesty causes another. In this sense, the high performance habits are all attitudes to implement; it’s not manipulation.
HIGH PERFORMANCE HABITS #6: DEMONSTRATE COURAGE
One of the high performance habits is courage. The more courage you develop, the more you’ll have clarity, energy, necessity, productivity and influence.
High performers are the type of people who feel the fear but do it anyway; they take a leap of faith, stepping into change or an unpredictable world.
They love to master challenges, perceive themselves as assertive, more confident and as more successful than their peers.
Courage is a skill you can develop over time.
Mark Twain once said: “Courage is not fearlessness; it is taking action and persisting despite that fear”.
High performers love facing their fear because they feel less stress when they experience it more often.
“The more we do something successfully, the more comfortable we become with it. That’s why it’s so important for you to start living a more courageous life now. The more actions you take facing fear, expressing yourself, and helping others, the easier and less stressful these actions become.”
“You are capable of remarkable things that you could never foretell and will never discover without taking action“
Ask yourself this question: “If your future best self—a version of you ten years older, who is even stronger, more capable, and more successful than you imagined yourself to be—showed up on your doorstep today and looked at your current circumstances, what courageous action would that future-self advise you to take right away to change your life? How would your future-self tell you to live?”
Practice one: honor the struggle
Most people don’t live courageously and the main question is why?
According to the author, mindset is the primary issue. We avoid struggle and it leaves us with underdeveloped character and strength. Our society values the path of least resistance and keeps repeating that there’s an easy quick-fix, fast solution.
But excellence requires focus, hard work, and discipline over the long haul. We have to master the mundane and deal with boring activities. It’s never easy.
People who ever achieved greatness embraced their struggle; they “embraced the suck” as they usually say in the US Army Special Forces.
High performers “learned to honor the struggle. They developed a mindset that anticipated the struggle, welcomed the struggle, leveraged the struggle into reasons to give more.” They love to master new challenges and they are confident that they can achieve whatever they set their mind to.
Underperformers on the other hand hate struggle or fear it.
Growth mindset and fixed mindset
People with a growth mindset believe that they can work on themselves.
Fixed mindset on the other hand thinks that they are who they are and this won’t change anytime soon. Subsequently, they give up easily when they face challenges.
High performers are characterized by a growth mindset when they engage in difficult tasks. They believe in hard work and they persevere in their endeavors.
“Those with a fixed mindset are five times more likely to avoid challenges than those with a growth mindset.”
The two human stories
“There are only two narratives in the human story: struggle and progress. And you can’t have the latter without the former.”
In life, we experience ups and downs; it’s what makes us humans. Struggle can be seen as a difficulty or an opportunity.
High performers view struggle as necessary, it is part of the process, an integral piece of any worthwhile endeavor.
“The struggle I’m now facing is necessary, and it’s summoning me to show up, be strong, and use it to forge a better future for myself and my loved ones.”
Practice two: share your truth and ambitions
Most people never show who they really are. They fear rejection and have a disease to please. It’s important however to show to the world who you are, “authentically and unapologetically”. The fear to measure up to others expectations wins over, so we hide our true self.
Stop minimizing yourself; you are here to live your true purpose, not to please people by being fake.
As Lewis Howes said: “Don’t let your fears hold you back from your greatness! Because you have something so special inside you, and we would hate to see it go to waste because you were afraid. Don’t allow insecurities to be your biggest enemy against living an amazing life. “
People will judge, mock, make fun of and gossip when you sit back and do nothing and when you go for your dreams. So you might as well go for your dreams.
“No one can quiet you without your permission. No one can minimize your self-image but you. And no one can open you up and release your full power but you.”
Practice three: find someone to fight for
In 2006, Brendon was completely broke. He left his job and decided to pursue his dream. And he confided how he miserably depended on his girlfriend; he lived in her apartment where he contributed no money for.
He soon realized how his girlfriend didn’t deserve such treatment. She bought him groceries, believed in him but in return Brendon didn’t even act upon what he said he would do.
From that moment, he cut off everything and resolutely decided to follow his dreams with more focus and intensity. From there, he also decided to marry that girl.
If there is something he would retain from that experience, it’s that “We will do more for others than for ourselves. And in doing something for others, we find our reason for courage and our cause for focus and excellence”
The highest performing people he interviewed talk about one person that inspired them to excel. More often than not, it’s just one person although it can also be a purpose or a group of people.
“The historical research on courage, in general, suggests that people do things for noble causes beyond themselves. For high performers, that noble cause usually happens to be just one person or a few people.”
As I’m writing this, I can relate to what Brendon shares. Until lately, I never really considered taking actions and pursuing my dreams. Honestly speaking, I always procrastinate and dabble around, until I met the love of my life. I soon realized how lousy my life was and how much I needed to take massive actions, not only for me but for her, for us. One single person can be such an inspiration for us and I wish the same for you.
Review of the high performance habits
I was surprised by Brendon Burchard’s high energy in his motivational speeches and workshops. Only later did I decide to read his book in which he put the same enthusiasm and passion.
Overall, habit 1 “seek clarity” and habit 5 “develop influence” were the most useful to me. To some extent, the book changed my life because I usually lacked energy and motivation. Seeking more clarity helped me tremendously because I started to plan out and envision what I wanted to do this year. I could see that this minor change helped me be more focused and fully engaged in my activities.
Conversely, it was helpful to understand how to develop influence by shaping how others people think and by doing it deliberately.
The book contains several useful tips to become more productive such as the “release-tension and set-intention exercise” or “the door trigger”.
I appreciated less Brendon’s lack of modesty as the book high performance habits was full of self-promotions and upsells to other products.
I love storytelling but observed how the book could’ve been shortened if only he used less anecdotes and stories.