Book Summaries

Book Summary: High-Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard.

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In High-Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way, high-performance coach Brendon Burchard (The Motivation Manifesto) shares the six deliberate habits of high-performing individuals and teams.

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do.Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.—Aristotle

Book’s Theme:

How people become extraordinary, and why others block themselves from that possibility. The book pulls together twenty years of research, ten years of insights gained from elite-level performance coaching, and a vast data set on high performers worldwide gathered through surveys, structured interviews, and professional assessment tools.

An escape plan from the soul-killing singular pursuit of external success for no other reason than achievement for achievement’s sake. It’s about realigning your thoughts and behaviors so that you can experience growth, well-being, and fulfillment as you strive.

The Baseline Moved

Fifty years ago, perhaps, it was easier to navigate the world and get ahead. The baseline for success was more straightforward: “Work hard. Play by the rules. Keep your head down. Don’t ask too many questions. Follow the leader. Take time to master something that will keep you around here.” Then, twenty years ago, the baseline began to shift.

“Work hard. Break the rules. Keep your head up—optimists win. Ask questions of the experts. You are a leader. Hurry up and figure it out.”

Systems and Habits

What you need is a reliable set of practices for unleashing your greatest abilities. Study high performers and you will see that they have systems built into their days that drive their success. Systems are what separate the pro from the novice, and science from armchair philosophy.

Without systems, you cannot test hypothesis, track progress, or repeatedly deliver exceptional results. In personal and professional development, these systems and procedures are, ultimately, habits.

With the right habits, anyone can dramatically increase results and become a high performer in almost any field of endeavor.

Technology won’t save us.

Tools cannot replace wisdom. You can have all the gadgets in the world and dive deep into the “quantified self” movement, where every step, second of sleep, beat of your heart, and moment of your day is tracked, scored, gamified. But a lot of people are connected and tracking and remain alone and troubled. Too many are checking in to all the apps and stats and still losing touch with their real ambitions and soul. Amid all the excitement about technology improving our lives, it turns out that what does the job better than anything else are simple human habits of high performance.

High Performance is not about getting ahead at all costs. It’s about forming habits that help you both excel in and enrich the full spectrum of your life.

What is high performance?

High performance refers to succeeding beyond standard norms, consistently over the long term. High performers break the norms. They’re consistently exceeding the standard expectations and results. They are not a one-hit wonder. 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.

“They don’t come crashing across the finish line of success. They’re steady. They regularly beat expectations. There is a consistency to their efforts that eludes their peers. That’s why, when you look at them post-success, you come to realize they are not surprise winners.”

The Habits of High Performance

HP6 – High-Performance Habits: Clarity, energy, necessity, productivity, influence, and courage

The habits that really matter in improving performance are not unconscious. They don’t necessarily become automatic or easier with time, because the world gets more complex as you seek greater success. Thus, you need to be mindful of your footing as you climb higher.

Deliberate habits usually won’t come easily. You have to practice them with real mental focus, especially in changing environments. Every time you feel stuck, every time you start a new project, every time you measure your progress, every time you try to lead others, you must deliberately think about the high performance habits. You’ll have to use them as a checklist, just as a pilot uses a pre-flight checklist before every takeoff.

“Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”—William Faulkner

Seek Clarity

Seek clarity on who you want to be, how you want to interact with others, what you want, and what will bring you the greatest meaning. As every project or major initiative begins, you ask questions such as “What kind of person do I want to be while I’m doing this?” “How should I treat others?” “What are my intentions and objectives?” “What can I focus on that will bring me a sense of connection and fulfillment?” High performers ask these types of questions not only at the beginning of an endeavor but consistently throughout.

They don’t just “get clarity” once and develop a mission statement that lasts the test of time; they consistently seek clarity again and again as times change and as they take on new projects or enter new social situations. This kind of routine self-monitoring is one of the hallmarks of their success.

Generate Energy

Generate energy so that you can maintain focus, effort, and wellbeing. To stay on your A game, you’ll need to actively care for your mental stamina, physical energy, and positive emotions in very specific ways.

Raise the Necessity

Raise the necessity for exceptional performance. This means actively tapping into the reasons you absolutely must perform well. This necessity is based on a mix of your internal standards (e.g., your identity, beliefs, values, or expectations for excellence) and external demands (e.g., social obligations, competition, public commitments, deadlines). It’s about always knowing your why and stoking that fire all the time so you feel the needed drive or pressure to get at it.

Increase Productivity

Increase productivity in your primary field of interest. Specifically, focus on prolific quality output (PQO) in the area in which you want to be known and to drive impact. You’ll also have to minimize distractions (including opportunities) that steal your attention from creating PQO.

Develop Influence

Develop influence with those around you. It will make you better at getting people to believe in and support your efforts and ambitions. Unless you consciously develop a positive support network, major achievements over the long haul are all but impossible.

Demonstrate Courage

Demonstrate courage by expressing your ideas, taking bold action, and standing up for yourself and others, even in the face of fear, uncertainty, threat, or changing conditions. Courage is not an occasional act, but a trait of choice and will.

High performance happens because of what you deliberately think and do on a routine basis in order to excel and serve at higher levels. It is this quest to challenge yourself to develop good habits that will make you feel enlivened and help you realize your full potential.

All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Lifelong Learner | Entrepreneur | Digital Strategist at Reputiva LLC | Marathoner | Bibliophile |

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