Book Summary

High Performance Habits – Brendon Burchard


  • Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. (Aristotle)
  • This book is about how people become extraordinary, and why others block themselves for possibility.
  • Achievers fight long and hard to succeed, propelling themselves forward by grit and hustle. And then, at some point they could never have anticipated, they plateau, lose passion, or burn out.
  • With the right training and habits, anyone can become a high performer.
  • High performers have systems built into their days that drive their success. Systems are what separate the pro from the novice.


  • Work hard
  • Be passionate
  • Focus on your strengths
  • Practice a lot
  • Stick to it
  • Be grateful
  • Life is precious beyond words, and when you get a second chance – and every morning, every decision, can be that second chance – take a moment to define who you really are and what you really want.
  • Live. Love. Matter. That is my mantra.
  • With the right habits, anyone can dramatically increase results and become a high performer in almost any field of endeavour.
  • High performance is not achieved by a specific kind of person, but rather by a specific set of practices, which I call high performance habits.

Not all habits are created equal

  • It turns out that there are bad, good, better, and best habits for realizing your full potential in your life and career.
  • Achievement is not your problem – alignment is.
  • What’s achievable is not always what’s important.

Certainty is the enemy of growth and high performance.

  • Certainty ultimately blinds you, sets false or fixed limits, and creates “automatic” habits that become predictable bad thinking and openings for your competitors to surpass you.
  • High performers outgrow their youthful need for certainty and replace it with curiosity and genuine self-confidence.

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.
  • You simply can’t beat the norms if you’ve driven yourself into the ground. As it turns out, high performers’ sustained success is due in large part to their healthy approach to living.

What we Know about High Performers

  • High performers are more successful than their peers, yet they are less stressed.
  • High performers love challenges and are more confident that they will achieve their goals despite adversity.
  • High performers are healthier than their peers.
  • High performers are happy.
  • High performers are admired.
  • High performers get better grades and reach higher positions of success.
  • High performers work passionately regardless of traditional rewards.
  • High performers are assertive (for the right reasons).
  • High performers see and serve beyond their strengths.
  • High performers are uniquely productive – they’ve mastered prolific quality output.
  • High performers are adaptive servant leaders.
  • Habits are created when we do something so many times that it becomes almost automatic.
  • For example, after doing it a few times, it’s easy to tie your shoes, drive a car, type on a keyboard. You can now do those things without much thought. You’ve done them so many times, they became automatic routines.
  • Deliberate habits. These must be consciously chosen, willed into existence, and continually revisited to strengthen your character and increase your odds of success.
  • Deliberate habits usually won’t come easily.
  • When you knock on the door of opportunity do not be surprised that is Work who answers.
  • Just as athletes never quit training, high performers never stop consciously conditioning and strengthening their habits.
  • To succeed, always remember that the main things is to keep the main thing the main thing.


  • Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. (William Faulkner)
  • Success in general, in almost any endeavour, is made possible by malleable factors – things you can change and improve with effort. For example:
  • The mindset you choose to adopt
  • The focus you give to your passions, and the persistence you pursue them with
  • The amount of practice you dedicate yourself to
  • The way you understand and treat others
  • The discipline and constancy with which you strive for your goals
  • The way you bounce back from losses
  • The amount of physical exercise you do keep your brain and body fit and your overall well-being cared for
  • 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.


  • Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. (Jim Rohn)
  • High performers do things differently from the way others do, and their practices can be replicated across projects (and almost any situation) regardless of your personality, past, or preferences.


  1. 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.
  2. Generate energy so that you can maintain focus, effort, and well-being.
  3. Raise the necessity for exceptional performance. This means actively tapping into the reasons you absolutely must perform well.
  4. 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.
  5. Develop influence with those around.
  6. Demonstrate courage by expressing your ideas, taking bold action, and standing up for yourself and others.
  • Seek clarity. Generate energy. Raise necessity. Increase productivity. Develop Influence. Demonstrate Courage. These are the six habits that you need to adopt if you are to reach high performance in any situation.
  • Effectiveness in life does not come from focusing on what is automatic, easy, or natural for us. Rather, it is the result of how we consciously strive to meet life’s harder challengers, grow beyond out comforts, and deliberately work to overcome our biases and preferences, so that we may understand, love, serve, and lead others.
  • It’s about rising to serve a mission, not the mission bowing down to match limited strengths.
  • If you have great ambitions to contribute extraordinary things, you’ll have to grow and stretch far beyond what’s natural to you. To rise to high performance, you’ll have to work on the weaknesses, develop entirely new skill sets beyond what you find easy or what you “like to do”.


  • We like to think of the HP6 as “meta-habits” because they make all other good habits in life fall into place.
  • Each improvement in any one area improves the others.
  • Start with the end in mind. Start bringing your full attention to the moments of your life. Start bringing more joy. Start bringing more confidence. These things will not only make your feel better, they’ll also help you perform better.

Section One: Personal Habits


If you don’t have clarity of ideas, you’re just communicating sheer sound. (Yo-Yo Ma)


  • The essential habit of seeking clarity helps high performers keep engaged, growing, and fulfilled over the long haul.
  • Compared with their peers, high performers have more clarity on who they are, what they want, how to get it, and what they find meaningful and fulfilling.
  • You generate your reality. In this same line of thinking, you don’t “have” clarity; you generate it.
  • Clarity is the child of careful thought and mindful experimentation. It comes from asking yourself questions continually and further refining your perspective on life.
  • Clarity research tells us that successful people know the answers to certain fundamental questions: Who am I? (What do I value? What are my strengths and weaknesses?) What are my goals? What’s my plan?
  • Self-awareness is so key to initial success. You have to know who you are, what you value, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and where you want to go. This kind of knowledge makes you feel better about yourself and about life.
  • You should also give yourself deadlines for your goals, or you won’t follow through. Studies show that having a specific plan attached to your goals – knowing when and where you will do something – can more than double the likelihood of achieving a challenging goal.
  • Highest performers had a great ability to focus on the future and define how they would achieve excellence. They didn’t just know who they were; indeed, they rarely focused on their present personality or preferences. Instead, they consistently thought about who they wanted to be and how to become that.


  • High performers are clear on their intentions for themselves, their social world, their skills, and their service to others. I call these areas self, social, skills, and service, or the Future Four.
  • Simple things you can do: Be more intentional about who you want to become. Have vision beyond your current circumstances. Imagine your best future self, and start acting like that person today.
  • What is apparent across all high performers is that they anticipate positive social interactions and they strive consciously and consistently to create them.
  • High performers are also working on skills that focus on what I call their primary field of interest (PFI). If they love music, they laser in on what kind of music they want to learn, and then study it. Their PFI is specific.
  • High performers approach their learning not as generalists but as specialists.
  • Look to the future. Identify key skills. Obsessively develop those skills.
  • If you leave your growth to randomness, you’ll always live in the land of mediocrity.
  • Clarifying your PFI and the skills you need to master for your next level of success must be a priority.
  • How can I serve people with excellence and make an extraordinary contribution to the world?


  • The second practice that will help you heighten and sustain clarity in your life is to ask yourself frequently, “What is the primary feeling I want to bring to this situation, and what is the primary feeling I want to get from this situation?”
  • My automatic emotions don’t have to be in charge. My feelings are my own.
  • High performers are generating the feelings they want more often than taking the emotions that land on them.


  • High performers can do almost anything they set their heart and mind to. But not every mountain is worth the climb. What differentiates high performers from others is their critical eye in figuring out what is going to be meaningful to their life experience. They spend more of their time doing things that they find meaningful, and this makes them happy.
  • High performers tended to equate four factors with meaning.
  • First, they linked enthusiasm with meaning.
  • The second link to meaning was connection.
  • Third, high performers relate satisfaction with meaning.
  • Passion + Growth + Contribution = Personal Satisfaction
  • The fourth way that high performers say their efforts have meaning is by making them feel that their life “makes sense.”
  • Enthusiasm + Connection + Satisfaction + Coherence = Meaning
  • You need to bring more conscious and consistent thought to what you will find meaningful in life.
  • Focus on these things more consistently than you ever have before. That’s what moves the needle. With greater focus will come greater clarity, and with greater clarity will come more consistent action and, ultimately, high performance.


  • It takes a lot of energy to succeed over the long haul. High performers have the magical trifecta of capital “E” Energy – that holistic kind that includes positive and enduring mental, physical, and emotional vibrancy. It’s the key to force that helps them perform better in many areas of their life. It’s why high performers have so much more passion, stamina, and motivation. If you can tap into the capital “E” Energy stored within, the world is yours.
  • Low energy correlates with lower overall high performance scores.
  • Energy is also positively related to educational attainment, creativity, and assertiveness.
  • The more energy someone has, the more likely they are to be happy and climb to the top of their primary field of interest.
  • Stress is the ultimate energy and well-being killer.


  • The easiest fastest, and most effective way to help them increase their energy is to teach them to master transitions.
  • What do I mean by transitions? Well, every morning when you wake up and start your day, you experience a transition from rest to activation. The start of your day is a transition.
  • Our days comprise a series of transitions.
  • Release Tension, Set Intention.


  • Bring more joy into your daily life.
  • Positive emotion, in general, is one of the greatest predictors of the good life – high energy and high performance. People with more positive emotion have more satisfying marriages, make more money, and have better health.
  • You’ve heard it said that showing up is 80 percent of success? Well, if you want to be a high performer, show up and bring the joy.
  • Only you are in charge of your enduring emotional experience.
  • High performers will themselves into positive states. Just as athletes do specific things to get themselves into “the zone,” high performers consciously cultivate joy.


  • The first trigger to set is, put an alarm on your phone that reads BRING THE JOY! Bring joy to every moment.
  • The second trigger to set is the Door frame trigger. Every time you walk through a doorway, say to yourself, “I will find the good in this room. I’m entering this space happy man ready to serve.”
  • The third trigger to set up is the “waiting trigger”. Whenever you are waiting in line to buy something, ask yourself, “What level of presence and vibration do I feel right now, on scale of 1 through 10?”
  • The fourth trigger is the “gift trigger.” Whenever something positive happens around me, I say “What a gift!”
  • To complement the triggers, begin an evening journaling activity in which you write down three things that made you feel good during the day. Then take just a few moments to close your eyes and actually relive them.
  • Gratitude is the granddaddy of all positive emotion. There’s perhaps no better way to increase ongoing happiness than to start a gratitude practice.
  • Gratitude is the golden frame through which we see the meaning of life.
  • High performers cultivate joy by how they think, what they focus on, and how they engage in and reflect on their days. It’s a choice. They bend their will and behaviors to generate joy.


  • We all know what to do to increase our physical energy, because by now it’s common sense. Exercise – work out more. Nutrition – eat healthier food. Sleep – aim for seven to eight hours.


  • The most powerful drives of human motivation and excellence: performance necessity
  • Necessity is the emotional drive that makes great performance a must instead of a preference.
  • Necessity inspires a higher sense of motivation than usual because personal identity is engaged, creating a sense of urgency to act.
  • When this emotional drive of necessity doesn’t exist, no tactic, tool, or strategy can help you.
  • You cannot become extraordinary without a sense that it’s absolutely necessary to excel.
  • The Four Forces of Necessity: identity, obsession, duty, and urgency.


  • We humans have a lot of internal forces shaping our behaviour: your values; expectations; dreams; goals; and need for safety, belonging, congruence, and growth, to name but a few. Think of these internal forces as an internal guidance system that urges you to stay “who you are” and grow into your best self. They are forces that continually shape and reshape your identity and behaviors throughout your life.
  • High Personal Standard and Commitment to Excellence.
  • “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavour.” Vince Lombardi
  • When we do what aligns with our future identity, we are more driven and likely to do a great job.
  • People who set goals and regularly self-monitor are almost two and a half times more likely to attain their goals.
  • High performers care even more about excellence and thus put more effort into their activates than others do.
  • Self-monitoring is what high performers do vs underperformers, on the other hand, are often less selfaware aware and sometimes oblivious to their behaviour and their results.
  • People who set goals and regularly self-monitor are almost two and a half times more likely to attain their goals.
  • They also develop more accurate plans and feel more motivated to follow through on them.
  • If you set a goal and don’t track your progress, you’re almost sure to fail.
  • High performers are happier than their peers, perceive that they have less stress than their peers, and feel that they’re making a greater difference and are being well rewarded for those efforts. They feel this way because they feel that they’re on the right path. And they feel that they’re on the right path because they frequently check in with themselves.
  • 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.
  • Decades of research has shown that people who set difficult and specific goals outperform people who set vague and non-challenging goals.
  • High performers’ dreams of living extraordinary lives aren’t mere wishes and hopes. They make their dream a necessity. Their future identity is tied to it, and they expect themselves to make it happen. And so they do.
  • High performers have Grit, which is a combination of passion and perseverance.
  • People who become world-class at anything focus longer and harder on their craft.
  • If you can stay highly emotionally engaged and laser focused over the long term, you get into the territory of obsession.
  • To win, one must first begin.
  • Plunge into the unknown and be reckless, that’s where the treasure lies.
  • High performers spend an enormous amount of time thinking about and doing their obsession(s).


  • There are three primary positive external forces that exert the kind of motivation or pressure that improves performance. Social Duty, Obligation and Purpose.
  • Nothing motivates like a hard deadline.
  • “Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value” (Jim Rohn)
  • High performers are more focuses on doing what really matters when it matters.
  • Having a deadline helps people focus on activity.
  • To keep the fire going you need to add necessity to identity, obsession, duty, deadline.
  • We change and improve over time only when we must. When the internal and external forces on us are strong enough, we make it happen.
  • Three practices that can fire up a greater sense of necessity.


  • Choose a high-performance identity. Immerse yourself fully in activities that force you to stretch.
  • Bring you’re a game for some else. Look beyond your individual performance or feelings and connect with a reason to be your best for others. Find somebody or something worth fighting for.


  • The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves, too. (Goethe)
  • Affirm your goals to yourself and 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.
  • Affirm your why to yourself, by literally talking to yourself using affirmations.
  • When we verbalize something, it becomes more real and important to us. It becomes more necessary for us to live in alignment with that truth. So the next time you want to increase your performance necessity, declare – to yourself and to others – what you want and why you want it.


  • “Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” (Amy Poehler)
  • Spend more time with the best people in your peer group, and less with the more negative members.
  • Get around new people who expect and value high performance.
  • Expand your peer group to include more people who have greater expertise or success than you, and spend more time with them.
  • There is power in your peer group.
  • None of us is shackled to our past or environment. We have tremendous personal control over the factors that improve our lives and performance.
  • Make a conscious effort to surround yourself with positive, nourishing, and uplifting people – people who believe in you, encourage you to go after your dreams, and applaud your victories. (Jack Canfield)
  1. Add one more awesome friend.
  2. Volunteer
  3. Play sports
  4. Seek mentorship
  5. Earn it

Section Two: Social Habits


“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” (Andy Warhol)

  • One of the worst feelings in the world is to be incredibly busy but feel that you’re not making any progress.
  • Busywork isn’t your life work.
  • “The day is always his who works with serenity and great aims.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
  • The fundamentals of becoming more productive are setting goals and maintaining energy and focus. No goals, no focus, no energy – and you’re dead in the water.
  • Almost everything you do to take good care of yourself matters in increasing your high performance. Good sleep, nutrition, and exercise are huge enhancers of productivity.
  • Happier people are more productive.
  • If you’re going to be productive, you’ve got to maintain focus.
  • Multitasking itself is a distraction.
  • Interruptions is another big culprit.
  • The great mistake most people make is to think of balance in terms of evenly distributed hours.
  • Their expectation is a quality expectation versus a quantity expectation, and anytime we confuse the two, we get into trouble.
  • Instead of trying to balance hours, try to balance happiness or progress in your major life areas.
  • Organize your life into ten distinct categories: health, family, friends, intimate relationship (partner or marriage), mission/work, finances, adventure, hobby, spirituality, and emotion.
  • Rate your happiness on a scale of 1 through 10 and write your goals in each of these ten areas every Sunday night.
  • If you aren’t consistently measuring the major areas of your life, then you couldn’t possibly know what the balance you seek is or is not.
  • It’s not about the hours you spend but about the harmony you feel.
  • You’ll always feel out of balance if you’re doing work that you don’t find engaging and meaningful.
  • For optimal productivity, you should not only take longer breaks – claim your vacation time – but also give yourself intermittent breaks throughout the day.
  • Stop your work and give your mind and body a break every 45 to 60 minutes.
  • A break of just 2 to 5 minutes every hour can help you feel much more mentally alert and energized for your work and life overall.
  • By slowing down or taking a break once in a while, you work faster, leaving more time for other areas of life.


  • “Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.” (Peter Drucker)
  • If you want to become extraordinary, you need to figure out the productive outputs that matter in your field or industry.
  • High performers have mastered the art of prolific quality output (PQO).
  • Real work is producing quality output that matters.
  • 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.
  • Spend 60 percent of your workweek oriented to your PQO.


  • “I believe half the unhappiness in life comes from people being afraid to go straight at things.” (William Locke)
  • To become a high performer requires thinking more before acting.
  • Think of the most ambitious dream you’d like to take on, identify what you really want, then ask yourself: “If there were only five major moves to make that goal happen, what would they be?”
  • Know the big five moves that will take you to your goal, break those moves down into tasks and deadlines, then put then in a calendar.
  • The magic of knowing your Five Moves. By knowing the first major activity, then the second, then the third, then the fourth, then the fifth, you have a map, a plan, a clear path forward. You don’t get distracted.
  • It doesn’t matter whether you know how to achieve your Five Moves at first. The important thing is that for
    every major goal you have, you figure out the Five Moves. If you don’t know the moves, you lose.


  • To become more productive, become more competent. You have to master the primary skills needed to win in your primary field of interest.
  • 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. No matter what skill you want to learn, with enough training and practice and intention, you can become more proficient at it.
  • You can get better at practically anything if you keep a growth mindset (the belief that you can improve with effort), focus on your goals with passion and perseverance, and practice with excellence.
  • “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” (Pablo Picasso)


  • “We’re not who we say we are, we’re not who we want to be. We are the sum of the influence and impact that we have, in our lives, on others.” (Cal Sagan)
  • Having influence is the ability to shape other people’s beliefs and behaviours as you desire.
  • It means you can get people to believe in you or your ideas, but from you, follow you, to take actions that you request of them.
  • One reason people struggle to gain influence in their personal and professional lives is that they simply don’t ask for what they want. People drastically underestimate the willingness of others to engage and help.
  • You never know until you ask.
  • Underperformers fail to ask all the time.
  • If you want more influence, ask and ask often.
  • In all the asking, don’t forget to give. In just about any area of endeavour, giving to others with no expectation of return increases your overall success.
  • You can double your ability to influence others by giving before you ask for something.
  • High performers have a giving mindset. The enter almost every situation looking for way to help others.
  • “Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.” (George Eliot)
  • 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.


  • There are three things you want your people thinking about: themselves, other people, and the greater world (meaning, how the world works, what it needs, where it’s headed, and how certain actions might affect it).


  • Influencers challenge others in three realms. First, they challenge their character. The second area where you can challenge others concerns their connections with others – their relationships. High performers are explicit in their expectations for how people should treat each other. The third area where you can challenge others is in their contributions. You push them to add more value or to be generous.


  • “Example is leadership.” (Albert Schweitzer)
  • High performers think about how to act so that others might follow them or help them achieve a specific outcome.
  • High performers have a laser-focused intention on how they can act in a way that gets someone to improve who they are or achieve a specific result.
  • If you want to be respected, you have to give the same respect.
  • What if our real ability to be truly influential is our ability to be influenced?
  • “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” (Zig Ziglar)


  • High performers are courageous people.
  • Individuals who have developed greater courage in life also tend to have more clarity, energy, necessity, productivity, and influence.
  • Courage sometimes is taking the first step toward a real change in an unpredictable world.
  • High performers report taking action despite fear much more than others do.
  • People think of courage as a human virtue that some have others don’t. But that’s incorrect. Courage is more like a skill, since anyone can learn it.
  • “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” (Mark Twain)
  • Courage is not fearlessness; it is taking action and persisting despite that fear.
  • But courage can lead to fearlessness in many domains.
  • The more experience you have in facing your fear, the less fear and stress you will feel.
  • You are capable of remarkable things that you could never foretell and will never discover without taking action.


  • “Success is giving 100 percent of your effort, body, mind, and soul to the struggle. (John Wooden)
  • We’re surrounded by memes and media and influencers telling us we’re not supposed to struggle, that life should just be an easy flow or we’re on the wrong track.
  • To achieve excellence requires hard work, discipline, routines that can become boring, the continual frustrations that accompany learning, adversities that test every measure of our heart and soul, and, above all, courage.
  • No one who achieved greatness avoided struggle.
  • When we learn to see struggle as a necessary, important, and positive part of our journey, then we can find true peace and personal power.
  • Those with a fixed mindset are five times more likely to avoid challenges than those with a growth mindset.
  • There are only two narratives in the human story: struggle and progress. And you can’t have the latter without the former.
  • To excel, you must teach yourself to view struggle as a stepping – stone to strength and higher performance.
  • Embrace the suck
  • Know you will make it through. Trust that things turn out.


  • Express your own truth and pursue your own dreams.
  • Judgement will always be there, just as there will always be cloudy days. Don’t let their criticisms sway you from your convictions. If you believe in your dream, stay on your path. You need no permission beyond that tingling hope in your soul.
  • “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one will go.” (T.S. Eliot)
  • Some people worry that being their best, they would make others feel insufficient. They were fearful of expressing their true ambitions, joy, and powers, because the people around them could feel bad about themselves.
  • Do not dare play small, do not feel guilt because you have high aims. Those dreams were seeded in your soul for a reason, and it is your duty to honour them. Do not hold back in life.
  • 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.
  • Ultimately, you must ask which your life is about: fear or freedom? One choice is the cage. The other – that’s courage.
  • A successful person fails to achieve the next level of success because they chose to strive in silence.
  • If you don’t ask for help, the right people can’t come into your life.
  • Make it a daily practice to share your thoughts and goals and feelings with others. Every day share something with someone about what you really think and want in life.
  • What do you want to share? Whatever it is, share it. Then take bold action each day to bring it to reality.


  • “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” (Albert Schweitzer)
  • High performers will do more for others than for themselves. And in doing something for others, they find their reason for courage, and their cause for focus and excellence.
  • In general 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.
  • “Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear, and obstacles vanish into air.” (John Quincy Adams)
  • The kinds of courageous acts that you are proud of at the end of your life are those in which you faced uncertainty and real risk, with real stakes, when doing something for a cause or person beyond yourself, without any assurance of safety, reward, or success.

Section Three: Sustaining Success


The real traps are internal – negative patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that slowly kill our humanity, zest, and well-being. The traps are superiority, dissatisfaction, and neglect.


  • Superiority has no positive connotation in a healthy mind.
  • Superiority draws us off track a quarter inch at a time.
  • All isolation is ultimately self-imposed.
  • Most high performers think they are not “at the top”. Most feel like they’re just getting started.
  • You can’t maximize your potential while minimizing others.
  • A large part of the differentiation in performance come down to habits.
  • The major thing that made the difference was not a person’s innate talents, but the hours of exposure and deliberate practice.
  • Don’t judge others as below you or separate from you.
  • Everything is trainable.
  • You were once a mess, too, or did you forget already?
  • When you start seeing others as wrong or inadequate for life, then you’ve fallen so far into the trap of superiority that you are in danger of destroying your connection with others, and your ability to lead.
  • Superior-minded people are certain they are better, more capable, more deserving. And it’s that certainty that closes their minds to learning, connection with others, and ultimately, growth. The more you absolutely believe anything, the more likely you are to become blinded to new perspectives and opportunities.
  • First step is awareness and staying humble.
  • Humility is a foundational virtue that enables many other virtues to grow.
  • Never forget, people can perceive you to be superior minded when you don’t engage with them, even if it’s not your true intent or spirit.


  • Satisfaction must accompany striving for optimal performance. Those who are never satisfied are never at peace.
  • Ultimately, the dark, exhausting, negative emotional prison that is constant dissatisfaction saps performance. Perennial dissatisfaction is the first step on the path to misery.
  • People who feel a sense of play, not dissatisfaction, perform better in almost every field of Endeavor. Play is not
    indulgent; it’s crucial to creativity, health, healing, and happiness.
  • Make peace with yourself. You’ve been through enough. Yesterday did not make it through last night, and this morning’s sunlight belongs to a fresh new day.
  • If you love what you’re doing and you feel you’re on your right path, when do you get to just feel good about that for a moment?
  • If your aim is to maintain high performance, please, allow yourself to feel the wins again. Don’t just hope to arrive somewhere someday and finally feel satisfied. Strive satisfied.


  • Neglect is a trap that sneaks up on you. It’s more that passion or busyness blinds you to what’s important, just long enough for things to fall apart.
  • In single-minded pursuit of achievement and mastery in one area of life, you take your eyes off the other areas. Soon, those areas fight back for more attention.
  • Obsession in one area of life hurts another area, setting off a negative cascade of events and feelings that eventually unseats the high performer.
  • One cause is Obliviousness. It means you are so focused in one area that you are completely unaware of the growing problems in another.
  • Intense hard work sustained for too long becomes workaholism, creating work-home conflict, which hurts the well-bring of the workaholic and the family members.
  • There are always warning signs along the road to disaster. We just have to pay attention.
  • The second cause of neglect is Overreaching. It’s an issue of going for too much, too fast, in too many domains.
  • According to the high performers who failed to maintain their success, overreaching was a problem that stemmed from an insatiable desire for more, couple with an unrealistic sense of what is possible in a short time frame, which led to over commitment. In other words, it was an issue of going for too much, too fast, in too many domains.
  • Focus on just a few things and the people and priorities you really care about, and you won’t fall prey to overreaching.
  • Broaden your ambitions too widely, and your appetite soon outstrips your abilities.
  • The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
  • Slow down, be more strategic, and say no more often.
  • It’s a short hop from badass to burnout.
  • Rather than live a reactive lifestyle, you take ownership of your day.
  • Slowing down means taking the time to care about your schedule.
  • Cramming your day so full that you have no time for thought or rejuvenation just makes you tired and irritable. And no one credits fatigue and a bad mood for their world-class performance.
  • Say no to almost every opportunity in your mind first, then force yourself to justify it before ever giving a yes.
  • More yeses can start hurting you. No keeps you focused.
  • Don’t forget the positive habits that brought you to this level of success, and do not neglect the habits that you now know will take you to the next level.


  • “They are able who think they are able.” (Virgil)
  • Confidence is the secret ingredient that makes you rise to the challenge.
  • High performers worldwide strongly agree with this statement more than their peers: I’m confident I can achieve my goals despite challenges or resistance.
  • When someone is more confident , they consistently have greater clarity, energy, productivity, influence, necessity, and courage.
  • Confidence is a powerful gateway to so much of we want in life.
  • Confidence often called self-efficacy predicts exceptional performance and happiness.
  • The more confident you are, the less likely you are to feel burnout from work.
  • The more you believe in your ability to perform well, the more likely you are to do things that protect, restore, and improve your health.

“Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.” (Samuel Johnson)


  • “As is our confidence, so is our capacity.” (William Hazlitt)
  • The more knowledge, skill, ability, or talent – that is, competence, you have at a given task, the more likely you are to be confident and perform well.
  • The more competence you get at any given task, the more confident you’ll become in trying it more often – and the more you’ll stretch yourself. That repetition and stretching leads to more learning, which gives you more competence.
  • Confidence is not a fixed personality trait. It’s a muscle you build through exertion.
  • High performers are learners, and their belief that they can learn what is necessary to win in the future gives them as much confidence as their current skill sets.
  • The competency that matters is the ability to become competent.
  • High performers ponder the lessons from their wins. They give credit to themselves, and they allow those wins to integrate into their psyche and give them greater strength.


  • “Self-trust is the first secret of success.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
  • They shaped their identity by conscious will and have aligned their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours to support that identity.
  • Confidence comes from being truthful with yourself and others. You have to avoid the little lies that can easily tear at the fabric of your character.


  • “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. (Dale Carnegie)
  • High performers have learned the tremendous value in relating with others. They’ve discovered that it is by connecting with others that they learn more about themselves and the world. It’s their connection with others that inspires greater congruence and competence.
  • If you can summon that curiosity and talk to enough people with that intention, you will gain confidence.


  • “As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” (Johann von Goethe)
  • Curiosity x (Competence + Congruence + Connection) = Confidence
  • Curiosity itself can improve your well-being.


  1. Seek Clarity
  2. Generate Energy
  3. Raise the necessity
  4. Increase productivity
  5. Develop influence
  6. Demonstrate courage

These are the six habits that you need to adopt to reach high performance and stay there. These are the habits that will make you more confident in life and even more extraordinary.

You became extraordinary because you chose to.