Book Reviews

High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard -Book Notes, Summary, and Review

43. High Performance Habits - Brendon Burchard

Get it on Amazon

Rating: 7/10

Date of reading: 7th of November – 15th of November, 2017

Description: High Performance Habits is a book for people who think, believe, and act successfully but still think that something is missing. Brendon Burchard goes into details on how to have it all and gives examples of people who do have it all. 


My notes:




“achiever but a high performer—someone who creates ever-increasing levels of both well-being and external success over the long term.” ( :8)

“It’s not that you’re incapable of performing better. You know that sometimes you crush it on one project at work, but struggle on another, similar one. You know that you can be a star in one social setting, but not in another. You know how to motivate yourself, but sometimes you hate yourself at the end of the day for having completed nothing but a three-season binge on Netflix.” ( :10)

“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.” Today, for many, the baseline feels distant, blurred, almost unknowable. Gone are the days when our work was predictable and the expectations of those around us were “fixed.” Change accelerated.” ( :10)

“Certainty is down, yet expectations are up. Instead of mantras about working hard, following the rules, keeping your head down or up, we have an unspoken but widely accepted” ( :10)

“norm: “Pretend you’re not working as hard, so your friends are impressed with your leisurely posts and photos at breakfast, but yes, work hard. Don’t wait for instruction, because there are no rules. Try to keep your head on, because it’s a madhouse here. Ask questions, but don’t expect anyone to know the answers. There are no leaders, because we all lead, so just find your groove for right now and add value. You’ll never figure anything out—just keep adapting, because tomorrow everything changes again.”” ( :11)

“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. But which ones work?” ( :11)

“grateful—is that so much of it is geared toward individual results and initial success. These things get you in the game and keep you in the game. But what happens after you’ve gotten those first wins?” ( :13)

“1. Why do some individuals and teams succeed more quickly than others and sustain that success over the long term? 2. Of those who pull it off, why are some miserable and others happy on their journey? 3. What motivates people to reach for higher levels of success in the first place, and what kinds of habits, training, and support help them improve faster?” ( :13)

“High performance is not strongly correlated with age, education, income, race, nationality, or gender. This means that many of the excuses we use to explain why we can’t succeed are simply wrong.” ( :14)

“It turns out that there are bad, good, better, and best habits for realizing your full potential in your life and career.” ( :14)

“We’ve also learned that there are habits for tactically getting ahead, and strategic habits for enjoying life. You’ll learn both.” ( :14)

“”How do I achieve” ( :14)

“more?” to “How would I like to live?”” ( :15)

“”quantified self” movement, where every step, second of sleep, beat of your heart, and moment of your day is tracked, scored, gamified.” ( :15)

“Mere improvement does not always result in high performance.” ( :15)

“A Super Bowl-winning quarterback doesn’t just know how to throw a ball. He has had to master mental toughness, nutrition, self-discipline, team leadership, strength and conditioning, contract negotiations, brand building, and so on. Someone who reaches high performance in any career must have competence in many of the areas that touch that career.” ( :16)

“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.” ( :16)

“They tend to be leaders who can adapt to challenging circumstances and guide others to their own successes and contributions. In this capacity, high performers can go from project to project and succeed, over and over. It’s as if you could put them in any context, any team, any company, any industry, and they would win—not because they’re geniuses or lone wolves, but because they positively influence others to rise. They don’t just develop skill; they develop people.” ( :19)

“little or no conscious thought. I want you fully aware as you fight big battles, strive for the mountaintops, and lead others. That’s because 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.” ( :20)

“Narrowing this book to practical habits was difficult. The first draft was 1,498 pages, and I had to make some hard choices on what to cut. To make the decisions, I followed the advice I shared earlier, which so many high performers have taught me:” ( :22)

“always remember that the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” ( :22)


BEYOND NATURAL: The Quest for High Performance


“But look, we know my supposed “strengths” and they’re still not helping me get ahead. My natural tendencies don’t do the job. As a leader, I have to be honest—sometimes it’s just not about who I am, what I prefer, or what I’m naturally good at. It’s about me rising to serve a mission, not the mission bowing down to match my limited strengths.” ( :25)

“I need to know what to do, Brendon. What practices work regardless of personality? Don’t say who high performers are. Tell me what they do at a granular level, across projects, that can be replicated. That level of detail. That’s the gold. Find it for me, and you have a client for life. Otherwise, it’s time to part ways.” ( :25)

“It often began with asking the client questions about what he or she wanted, and what “limiting beliefs” got in the way. You also interviewed them about the past, trying to spot any events that might be influencing current behaviors.” ( :26)

“be influencing current behaviors. Second, you used assessment tools to help determine personality styles, patterns, and preferences. The goal was to help people better understand themselves and any behaviors that might help them succeed. Popular tools included Myers-Briggs, the Clifton StrengthsFinder, the Kolbe A™ Index, and the DiSC® Test. Often, the life coach would hire experts or consultants certified in these tools, to help administer them. Third, the coach would sift through performance reviews from work and talk to the people around the client, using 360-degree assessments to figure out how others perceived them and what others wanted from them. You’d talk to the people they lived and worked with. Fourth, you’d evaluate their actual output. You’d look at their past results to see what stood out, what processes helped them create good work, how they most loved to make an impact.” ( :26)

“performance, we go to our lab for insights. Much of what we’ve learned from these large audiences and data sets sounds like common sense. In becoming successful, hard work, passion, practice, resilience, and people skills are often more important than IQ, raw talent, or where you’re from.” ( :26)

“”Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” —Jim Rohn” ( :27)

“Which habits get you quick wins, and which are longer-term practices that make you stand out?” ( :28)

“Knowing your label or strength and just trying to be “more of that” is like telling a bear that’s trying to get honey out of a nest high on an unexplored cliff, “Just try being more of a bear.”” ( :32)

“This means they tend to be fully immersed in what they are doing, they enjoy what they’re doing, and they have confidence in their ability to figure things out.” ( :34)


SECTION ONE: Personal Habits


“Clarity is not a personality trait that some are blessed to “have” and others are not. Just as a power plant doesn’t “have” energy—it transforms energy—you don’t “have” any specific reality. You generate your reality. In this same line of thinking, you don’t “have” clarity; you generate it.” ( :44)

“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? These questions may seem basic, but you would be surprised how much knowing the answers can affect your life.” ( :44)

“Trying to imagine ourselves in the future with great clarity is hard work for anyone. That’s why most people tend to do it only once per year—that’s right, on New Year’s Eve. But high performers spend a lot of time thinking about their best self and the ideal they’re trying to grow into.” ( :47)

“It’s a universal finding. When it comes to their interactions with others, they don’t just go on autopilot. They’re intentional, and that improves their performance.” ( :50)

“a. Write down each person’s name in your immediate family and team. b. Imagine that in twenty years each person is describing why they love and respect you. If each person could say just three words to summarize the interactions they had with you in life, what would you want those three words to be? c. Next time you’re with each of those people, approach your time with them as an opportunity to demonstrate those three qualities. Have those words as the goal and start living into those qualities. Challenge yourself to be that person now. This will bring life back into your relationships.” ( :50)

“ince by now you have some familiarity with my work, I’ll use my career as an example. I began as a change-management analyst for a global consulting company. I was right out of grad school. In my first six months on the job, I approached my work the way most of my peers did: as a generalist. I was trying to learn everything about the company, my clients, the world. That’s what you do when you’re a novice.” ( :51)

“leaders and their teams. Leadership was my PFI; curriculum-building was the skill. I requested or created relevant projects. My career skyrocketed. When I left corporate America to become a full-time writer and trainer, I made similar decisions. I made my PFI personal development. But so had many thousands of other writers, bloggers, speakers, and trainers. How would I stand out? I realized that the skill most of these folks lacked wasn’t related to their topic, but rather to their marketing of the topic. I was in the same boat.” ( :51)

“This was a monumental decision for me because I had absolutely no talent, skills, strengths, or background in marketing. But I recognized it as the key that would unlock the door to success in my new career. So I started drilling down into skill sets. I didn’t focus on every skill related to marketing, as a generalist would do, just as I hadn’t focused on everything related to leadership in general at my corporate gig. Instead, I zeroed in on e-mail marketing and video production. I took online courses on these topics, and I went to seminars. I hired a coach. My calendar was full of” ( :51)

“building those two skills. For eighteen months, I focused almost exclusively on learning and trying new things related to e-mail marketing and making videos. Specifically, I learned to capture e-mails and send those subscribers weekly newsletters that linked to a featured video training on my blog. I also learned how to put all my videos in an online members’ area and charge people money to access them.” ( :52)

“They have nothing to get excited about tomorrow, so they stop caring about the details today. That is why it’s so vital that leaders continually engage their people in conversations about tomorrow.” ( :53)

“”Don’t ask what the world needs.” ( :54)

“Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” —Howard Thurman” ( :55)

“In your everyday life, start asking, “What do I want to feel today? How could I define the meaning of the day so that I feel what I want to?” Next time you go on a date with someone, think about the feelings you want to create. Before you sit down with your child to work on math, ask, “What do I want to feel when I’m helping my kid? What feelings do I want them to have about me, about homework, about their life?” This kind of clarity and intention will change how you experience life.” ( :57)

“It is not want of strength that locks us into unlived lives. Rather, it is lack of a decisive cause, something worth striving for, an ambitious purpose that sets our hearts ablaze and our feet marching forward. Our striving for a meaningful life is one of the main factors associated with psychological 15 well-being.” ( :58)

“Passion + Growth + Contribution = Personal Satisfaction” ( :59)

“”The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe to it.” —Joseph Campbell” ( :60)

“”Well, that’s not true, Arjun. And that’s okay. The truth is, you won’t flame out. You’ll keep working hard at an insane pace, just as you’ve done for the past fifteen years. You won’t burn out. You’ll just become utterly, tragically miserable. You’ll wake up one day, even richer and more accomplished than you are now, and life just won’t feel the way you wanted it to. You won’t burn out then, either. But you will make a bad and abrupt decision. You’ll quit or you’ll fail. You’ll realize your mind and body didn’t let you down; your choices did. But I’m guessing you already know that.”” ( :65)

“So low energy not only hurts your ability to reach high performance overall, it pervades all aspects of your life. You feel less happy. You don’t take on the big challenges. You feel as if everyone is passing you by. Your confidence tanks. You eat worse. You get fatter. You struggle to get people to believe in you, buy from you, follow you, support you.” ( :67)

“Regarding job roles, CEOs and senior executives have the highest energy—significantly higher than those in other roles we’ve measured, such as managers, entry-level workers, students/interns, and caregivers. This holds true even when we control for age. In a stunning finding, CEOs and senior executives have energy equivalent to that of professional athletes. It turns out that to make it to CEO, you have to care about your energy as much as an NFL quarterback does, because it takes about the same level of energy.” ( :67)

“The good news is, you can dramatically increase your energy and overall performance with just a few simple practices. Your energy is not a fixed mental, physical, or emotional state. Again, you don’t “have” energy any more than a power plant does. A power plant transforms and transmits energy. In the same regard, you don’t “have” happiness. Rather, you transform your thoughts into feelings that are or are not happy. You don’t have to “have” sadness; you can transform it to something else.” ( :68)

“crease their energy is to teach them to master transitions. Every day, people lose tremendous amounts of focus, will, and emotional energy by managing transitions poorly. They also lose the benefit of greater mental and physical stamina throughout the day. 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.” ( :69)

“I do this RELEASE TENSION, SET INTENTION activity before and after workouts, before I pick up the phone to call someone, before I write an e-mail to my team, before I shoot a video, before I get out of the car and go to lunch with friends, before I walk out onto a stage in front of twenty thousand people. It has saved me many times from anxiety and a poor performance: before I walked into a” ( :70)

“room and got interviewed by Oprah, before I sat down to dinner with a US president, before I proposed to my wife. All I can say is, thank God for this practice!” ( :71)

“If you’d like to go to another level of mastery, try a twenty-minute practice called the Release Meditation Technique (RMT). I’ve trained over two million people on RMT, and all over the world I meet students who consider it one of the most life-changing habits they’ve ever adopted. Just close your eyes, sit up straight, and, breathing deeply, let the tension fall away from your body as you keep repeating the word release to yourself. As thoughts inevitably come up in your mind, don’t try to chase them away or ponder them—just let them go and return to the “release” mantra. The goal of the meditation is to release both physical and mental tension. It helps to have a voice guide you through it with some background music, so just visit YouTube and type in my name and “Release Meditation Technique.”” ( :71)

“Hey, man, I want to thank you again for flying out. I appreciated our conversation and your time especially under short notice. I look forward to working together. I also want to share a quick win with you. Tonight, when I pulled up to my house, I tried that release technique you taught me. I just sat in the car for a few minutes before going into the house. I closed my eyes and just repeated the word “release” to myself. I’m guessing I did this for five minutes tops. Then I asked myself, “How do I go into my house free from the work and business? How would I greet my wife if I were the best husband in the world? How would I be with my daughter tonight if I realized how precious this time in her life is? How would I show up if I were as energized as my best self?” I don’t remember all my thoughts, but I set an intention to go into the house and love my wife and give her my full energy. I walked in like a new man, as if I’d won the lottery of life. You should have prepared me for what happened next, because [my wife] thought I was crazy for a moment. But then she realized it was just me again. My daughter noticed, too. We just had the most wonderful night. I’m at a loss how to describe it. But you gave me my family back. They’re getting ready for bed now. I couldn’t wait to zap you a note of thanks. For the first time in a long time, I want you to know that I felt like I was alive again. [My wife] said you talk about people coming around to the power of intention. Count me as one more example. Thank you.” ( :71)

“This all sounds wonderful, but what if you lack positive emotion? What happens when life isn’t joyous? What if people are around you are negative? Well, then, you’d better change that.” ( :73)

“”defuse” difficult emotions or situations. For example, a person dealing with anxiety might be taught to give a name to their anxiety—say, “Downer Dave”—so that rather than being the issue personally, the patient has an external bad guy.” ( :75)

“because by now it’s common sense: Exercise—work out more. Nutrition—eat healthier food. Sleep—aim for seven to eight hours. Nothing to argue about there, right?” ( :78)

“But you don’t have to spend very long looking at before-andafter pictures on Instagram to get the reality that we can alter our health dramatically.” ( :79)

“Start doing what you already know you should be doing to optimize your health. You already know whether you should start exercising more, eating more plant-based foods, or getting more sleep. If you’re honest, you probably know exactly what to do. Now it’s just a matter of commitment and habit.” ( :82)

“Try this: Don’t look at any screens an hour before bed; drop the temperature in your home to sixty-eight degrees at night; black out the room from all light and sound. If you wake up in the middle of the night, don’t get up and don’t check your phone. Condition your body just to lie there. Start teaching your body that it has to lie in bed for eight hours no matter what. For other sleep tricks, read The Sleep Revolution by my good friend Arianna Huffington.” ( :83)

“”The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” —Vince Lombardi” ( :90)

“It’s also true whether or not they enjoy the task. It’s their 1 identity—not always the choice or enjoyment of the task—that drives them to do well. For example, an athlete may not particularly enjoy a workout their coach has given them, but they do it because they see themselves as an elite athlete willing to try anything to get better. Organizational researchers have also found that people don’t perform well just because they’re doing tasks they’re satisfied with, but 2 rather because they’re setting challenging goals that mean something to them personally. Satisfaction is not the cause of great performance; it’s the result. When we do what aligns with our future identity, we are more driven and likely to do a great job.” ( :90)

“Obsession with Understanding and Mastering a Topic “To have long-term success as a coach or in any position of leadership, you have to be obsessed in some way.” —Pat Riley” ( :92)

“Whe n you are passionate about what you do, people understand. When you are obsessed, they think you’re mad. That’s the difference.” ( :93)

“1. You have goals that are clear and challenging yet attainable. 2. Strong concentration and focused attention are required. 3. The thing you’re doing is intrinsically rewarding. 4. You lose self-consciousness a bit and feel serene. 5. Time stops—you feel so focused on the present that you lose track of time. 6. You’re getting immediate feedback on your performance. 7. There’s a balance between your skill level and the challenge presented. You know that what you’re doing is doable even if difficult. 8. You have a sense of personal control over the situation and the outcome. 9. You stop thinking about your physical needs. 10. You have the ability to focus completely on the activity at hand.” ( :102)

“Yes, they are confident in their purpose, but in interviews it is clear that most high performers question whether their approach is the best one available. It’s often by being open to better processes that they identify new ways of getting ahead. That is, high performers are confident about their why but open about how.” ( :104)

“”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” ( :106)

“even affect how much you sleep, the food that you eat, and how much money 26 you spend or save. This dynamic, which has been dubbed “social contagion,” has been shown to have both detriments and benefits. On the negative front, researchers have found that bad behaviors and outcomes such as smoking, 27 obesity, loneliness, depression, divorce, and drug use tend to grow in social clusters. If your friends smoke, you probably will, too. The more of your friends who are overweight or divorced, the higher the odds you’ll get there, too.” ( :106)

“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. With each degree of separation, the effect of your 30 environment becomes less, with nonsignificant effects beyond three degrees of separation. This is why it’s so important to carefully curate who is in your social circle.” ( :107)

“The answer is an unequivocal and resounding no. It turns out that high performance is not tied to your culture or social environment. That’s because high performance, as you’ll remember, is about the long game. And over time, you can take back your life from negative influences and direct your mind habits and social environment toward high performance. This isn’t just rah-rah stuff. Research has consistently shown that people can rise above their cultural programming and influence if they have the right beliefs and strategy. Simply adopting the belief that you can improve with effort, for example, has helped kids in disadvantaged neighborhoods go from terrible scores to the top of their 34 class in study after study.” ( :107)

“were largely erased in children who believed they could improve with effort.” ( :107)

“1. Add one more awesome friend. To make a difference in your life, you don’t need dozens of new friends. You need one more positive person who brings out the best in you. So find your most positive and successful friend and ask him to bring one or two of his friends to your next night out. Then start hanging with them a little more often, just a half hour more per week. One more positive person leads you one more step toward the good life.” ( :109)

“”First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” —Epictetus” ( :111)


SECTION TWO Social Habits


“One of the worst feelings in the world is to be incredibly busy but feel that you’re not making any progress. You’re fighting the good fight, but your approach is wrecking your health or compromising your well-being. Projects seem to take forever. Progress comes too slow. Happiness is always a distant horizon never reached. Athena felt that. Most of us have at some point.” ( :116)

“And not just your productivity—the productive output of entire economies can be tied, for example, to their citizens’ nutrition habits.” ( :117)

“Information overload causes demoralization and lower work 10 quality. Dealing with an endless stream of inputs, or having to spend a large chunk of our day poring over data or searching for it makes us miserable. That’s why we have the term analysis paralysis— we’re paralyzed by too much data and too much time spent gathering and analyzing that data. This is just one reason why you should never check your e-mail first thing in the morning.” ( :118)

“I’ve found that it is useful to organize life into ten distinct categories: health, family, friends, intimate relationship (partner or marriage), mission/work, finances, adventure, hobby, spirituality, and emotion. When I’m working with clients, I often make them rate their happiness on a scale of 1 through 10 and also write their goals in each of these ten arenas every Sunday night. Most of them have never done that before. But doesn’t it stand to reason that only from measuring something in the first place can we determine whether it’s in “balance”?” ( :119)

“”There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.” —Alan Cohen” ( :120)

“”Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.” —Peter Drucker” ( :122)

“I chose to quit and begin my career as a writer, speaker, and online trainer. I saw the outputs of those efforts—creating content for inspiring and empowering others—as something that would be meaningful to me. The issue was, I had no idea how to start or what, specifically, to do. Like a lot of people new to the expert industry, I thought I had to figure out the writing industry, the speaking industry, the online training industry. I made the mistake of going to dozens of conferences to try to figure out each of the industries, without realizing that they all were the same career of being a thought leader and had similar outputs that mattered most.” ( :124)

“Wayne Dyer, a mentor and dearly missed friend, wrote and published more than thirty books. I’m just a beginner, but I know my PQO, and that gives me what Wayne would have called the power of intention.” ( :124)

“and social media posts I’ve written. But my main effort is books. Wayne Dyer, a mentor and dearly missed friend, wrote and published more than thirty books. I’m just a beginner, but I know my PQO, and that gives me what Wayne would have called the power of intention. I decided that if I was going to be a professional speaker, my PQO would be the number of paid speaking gigs at a certain booking fee. I stopped all wasteful conversations asking people to give me a chance to speak and started building marketing materials and videos like those of other speakers who were getting booked at the levels I wanted to reach. I knew that if I was going to be an online course trainer—a relatively new career back in 2006— then my PQO would be curriculum, training videos, and full online courses.” ( :124)

“But with success comes new opportunities. Soon, she’s advising other start-ups. She’s dabbling in other opportunities. She hasn’t reached her primary goal of a world-class cupcake shop, but she’s” ( :126)

“comfortable. She’d tell you that her cupcake business is still a priority, but dig into her calendar and you can see that “priority” no longer equates to work. Look closer and you’ll see that most of her efforts are unaligned. She’s busy, but she’s not progressing with purpose.” ( :127)

“What I learned wasn’t what I expected: Best-selling authors didn’t talk about the romantic idealism of “being a writer.” They talked about the hard work and discipline of cranking out pages even when they didn’t feel like it. No one credited attending writers’ conferences as a determining factor in their success. They didn’t talk about focus groups or audience demographics. They didn’t talk about conducting years of research before writing their books as a determining factor in their sales (though some had done that).” ( :128)

“Few mentioned major media coverage or traditional book tours. No one mentioned book clubs. No one mentioned famous people writing a foreword to their book as a determining factor.” ( :129)

“1. Finish writing a good book. Until that’s done, nothing else matters. 2. If you want a major publishing deal, get an agent. Or just self-publish. 3. Start blogging and posting to social media, and use these to get an e-mail list of subscribers. E-mail is everything. 4. Create a book promotion web page and offer some awesome bonuses to get people to buy the book. Bonuses are crucial. 5. Get five to ten people who have big e-mail lists to promote your book. You’ll owe them a reciprocal e-mail—meaning you agree to promote for them later, too—and a portion of any sales they might make for you on other products you may be offering during your book promotion.” ( :129)

“So I stopped everything else, and I wrote. Then I swiftly followed the next four moves. I chose to publish with a company that basically helped me self-publish it—they didn’t have to “accept me”; rather, I gave them the manuscript and they formatted it for a book. I designed the cover in PowerPoint. I had already started building an e-mail list and had about ten friends with e-mail lists who agreed to promote some of my videos. Lining them all up took two weeks of begging and prodding. I spent three days shooting videos, and four days uploading them to a blog and creating an e-mail sequence. In sixty days total, I took The Millionaire Messenger from idea to number one New York Times bestseller, number one USA Today bestseller, number one Barnes and Noble bestseller, and number one Wall Street Journal bestseller. That includes thirty days of writing the book, then thirty days getting it ready for printing; creating the social media, web pages, bonuses, and videos; and getting people to agree to e-mail links to the videos to everyone on their lists. Five moves. Sixty days. Number one bestseller.” ( :130)

“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.” ( :131)

“So test yourself. If I showed up at your house, could you open your calendar and show me the blocks of time on your calendar that you saved and structured specifically to complete a major activity leading to a specific big goal? If not, you know your next move. I know that at this point many people will say, “But I know someone extremely successful who doesn’t ‘do’ plans.” ( :131)

“One principle lies at the heart of this effort: 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. If you don’t believe this, your journey to high performance stops here.” ( :133)

“As I read more on these topics, I discovered that many of the authors’ journeys were much like mine: Something had happened to them that inspired them to improve their life, explore how to become a better person, and want to help others on that journey. Reading their stories, I felt more compelled to share my own.” ( :133)

“This, it turns out, is one of the least effective ways to master a skill. Repetition rarely leads to high performance. And that’s why it’s important to understand “progressive mastery.” These are the steps to progressive mastery:” ( :134)

“1. Determine a skill that you want to master. 2. Set specific stretch goals on your path to developing that skill. 3. Attach high levels of emotion and meaning to your journey and your results. 4. Identify the factors critical to success, and develop your strengths in those areas (and fix your weaknesses with equal fervor). 5. Develop visualizations that clearly imagine what success and failure look like. 6. Schedule challenging practices developed by experts or through careful thought. 7. Measure your progress and get outside feedback. 8. Socialize your learning and efforts by practicing or competing with others. 9. Continue setting higher-level goals so that you keep improving. 10. Teach others what you are learning.” ( :134)

“I teach fourand five-day seminars with thousands of attendees where I’m often the only trainer on stage for eight to ten hours per day.” ( :136)

“Life is short. We’re only allotted so much time to make our mark. I say that’s all the more reason to get focused. Stop producing outputs that don’t make your soul sing. Avoid trying to be effective or efficient doing things that you’re not proud of and make no impact. Determine what outputs really matter to you at this stage in your life, chart your five moves to accomplish your big dreams, and go make it happen while getting insanely good at what you do. From there, the world is yours.” ( :137)

“”Power is of two kinds: One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love.” —Mahatma Gandhi” ( :138)

“”I doubt it’s about age, Juan,” I reply calmly. “It’s about influence strategy. And it probably begins with something the legendary basketball coach John Wooden said: ‘You handle things. You collaborate with people.'”” ( :139)

“Aaron senses my disconnection and says, “Brendon, I asked you here to give Juan some perspective. He knows you have no skin in the game, and despite his passionate feelings, I assure you he’s open to your coaching. I say just give it to him straight.” He looks at Juan for verification. Juan says, “Don’t be shy.”” ( :139)

“”Thanks, Aaron,” I say. “Well, Juan, it seems you have a strong point of view on this one. It’s hard to give feedback without knowing your endgame or what Daniela is thinking. Am I correct in surmising that you want Daniela to fight you until you’re both bleeding and she quits in a massive media storm that will tarnish your brand forever?” Aaron, surprised, sits back in his chair and laughs uncomfortably. Juan remains stoic and replies, “Not exactly what I’m after, no.” I laugh along. “So you’re not trying to get her to quit?” “No,” he says, shaking his head. “I’d probably lose half the team with her.” “Okay. Then what do you want?” “I want her to play nicer.” “You mean agree with you and execute your plan?” Juan thinks for a moment, looks to Aaron, and shrugs. “Is that such a bad thing?” It feels a little smug.” ( :139)

“”For Daniela, yes, I’m sure it’s a bad thing. I don’t know her, but no one wants to work with a boss who can’t see beyond himself. If your only goal for her is to play along with you, then there’s nothing in it for her. Don’t you want something good for her? I mean, why did you hire her in the first place? She must have had some qualities or vision you admired. What did you promise her that persuaded her to take the job?”” ( :139)

“”Raising ambition. The only way to influence another person is to first relate with them and then help raise their ambition to think better, do better, or give more. The first part happens when you ask rather than accuse. The second happens when you work to shape their thoughts and challenge them to rise. The problem I see is, you know Daniela’s ambition and, instead of trying to help her rise to it, you’re blocking her.”” ( :140)

“”Not at all. I’m saying you can’t influence a person in any useful way by diminishing them or putting out the fire in their belly. People only like to work with leaders who make them think bigger and grow more. If you want to influence Daniela, you’ll have to reconnect with her and surprise her by helping her think even bigger. Then you’ll surprise her even more by challenging her to rise and meet a higher ambition with you. That ambition might not be to have her take the company over, but I doubt that’s what she wants as much as what you fear. Regardless, the two of you need a new ambition to work toward. No new ambition together, same old problems.”” ( :140)

“I cross mine. “No, you probably do get it. You just don’t like it. I’m suggesting something simple here. I’m doing the same thing to you that you should do to her: I’m asking you to think differently, and challenging you to engage her differently. Think about her as a collaborator again. Help her think bigger about her role, her team, the company. That gets you influence. Challenge her to be even better than she is, doing what she loves. That gets you influence. Raise her bar; don’t block her. That gets you influence. And it sounds like that’s something you don’t have with her now.”” ( :140)

“One reason people struggle to gain influence in their personal and professional lives is that they simply don’t ask for what they want. This is, in part, because people drastically underestimate the willingness of others to engage and help. Several replicated studies show that people tend to say yes 6 over three times as often as people thought they would. This means that people are terrible at predicting whether someone will agree to any given request. Another reason people fail to ask is because they think the other person will judge them harshly. But it turns out that here, too, people are” ( :142)

“lousy fortune-tellers. Studies show that people overestimate how often or to what degree others will 7 judge them.” ( :143)

“Give thanks in meetings; write thankyou notes; spend more time noticing positive actions by your people. If you’re the one who appreciates people the most, you’re the most appreciated.” ( :144)

“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.” ( :146)

“”He who influences the thought of his times influences the times that follow.” —Elbert Hubbard” ( :146)

“While there’s no universal rule, no “right” or “wrong” approach, what if you thought of talking to her—not to get her to do her tasks, but to shape the way she thinks about homework? When people complain, be they children or our peers at work, we have an extraordinary opportunity to direct their thinking. What if you shared with your child how you used to think about homework, and how a simple change in the way you thought about it helped you do better in school and even enjoy the process?” ( :147)

“How do you want them to think about themselves? How do you want them to think about other people? How do you want them to think about the world at large?” ( :147)

“”The words that a father speaks to his children in the privacy of home are not heard by the world, but, as in whispering galleries, they are clearly heard at the end, and by posterity.” —Jean Paul Richter” ( :148)

“Looking back, the situation could have been terribly stressful for us kids, let alone for our parents. But they were resourceful people, and they both sought to bring joy into everyday life. So instead of panicking, my mom went into the garage, found our camping tent, and set it up in the living room. She threw in our sleeping bags and coats and electric blankets. We kids, oblivious of the dire situation, just thought we were camping. We’d walk to school and ask the other kids, “Where did you sleep last night?” When they said in their bedrooms, we’d brag that we were camping out in our living room. My parents made a difficult situation fun. Turning adversity into a good time is one of life’s highest arts, and Mom and Dad were good at it.” ( :148)

“I had great respect for my dad, so you can imagine how it felt watching person after person literally scream at him because they forgot their paperwork or failed a test. I heard people insult his intelligence, his team, his office, his face, his very existence. I saw people fling their test papers at him. People spat at him.” ( :149)

“US-Vietnam war. After her dad died, Mom was sent to France under the Children of War program. She was separated from her brother and sent to live in abusive boarding schools. When she turned twenty-one, she immigrated to the United States. Eventually, she met my father in a Washington, DC, apartment building where they both lived. They fell in love and soon moved to Montana—where my dad had grown up—to raise us kids.” ( :149)

“”The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.” —Kobe Bryant” ( :151)

“But this isn’t about confrontation. It’s about issuing subtle or direct positively framed challenges to motivate others to excel.” ( :151)

“We are in a precarious time in history, when people are shying away from setting standards with others. “Setting standards” is really just another way to say “issuing positive challenges.” People think that challenging others will lead to conflict. But that’s rarely true, especially when dealing with high performers—they like it. They’re driven by it. Not only can they handle it, but if you are in a position of influence with them, they also expect it of you.” ( :151)

“Influencers challenge others in three realms. First, they challenge their character. This means they give people feedback, direction, and high expectations for living up to universal values such as honesty, integrity, responsibility, self-control, patience, hard work, and persistence.” ( :152)

“”Looking back, do you feel you gave it your all?” “Are you bringing the best of you to this situation?” “What values were you trying to embody when you did that?”” ( :152)

“The second area where you can challenge others concerns their connections with others—their relationships. You set expectations, ask questions, give examples, or directly ask them to improve how they treat and add value to other people.” ( :152)

“The third area where you can challenge others is in their contributions. You push them to add more value or to be more generous.” ( :153)

“Though I initially thought that high performers were doing this on a large scale, telling their entire team to create a bigger future, I was wrong. Instead, high performers challenge individuals specifically. They go desk to desk and challenge each person on their team. They adjust the level of challenge they issue to each person they are leading. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to pushing people to contribute. That’s how you know you’re working with a high performing leader: They’ll meet you where you are, speak your language, ask you to help move the entire team toward a better future, in your own unique way.” ( :153)

“That’s too bad. You could have been good. A lot of students here need someone like you— someone willing to stand up for what they believe in. You could do a lot of good at the school, and you could learn to create good art and writing here. You have too much talent and potential not to use them in a creative endeavor. Just think about that. And if you ever think it’s a good idea to come back, let me know and I’ll be here for you. You don’t seem the type to quit anything.”” ( :155)

“even with our few resources and limited experience. She created an expectation of excellence, not so we could win awards but so we could look in the mirror and at each other and feel a sense of pride and camaraderie for giving our best effort. She wanted us to become leaders who led with integrity.” ( :155)

“That year at the national Journalism Education Association convention, our paper won “Best of Show.” We were number one in the country. A small school from Montana, beating big schools that often had ten to twenty times our budget and resources. Under Linda Ballew’s leadership, I won national and regional firstand second-place awards for photography, layout and design, newswriting, and investigative reporting. I eventually became a managing editor. After I graduated, the paper went on to another decade of top awards.” ( :155)

“What made her so remarkable? It comes down to three things: She taught us how to think. She challenged us. And she role modeled the way to influence a team to perform with excellence. In one conversation, on that precious, pivotal day when I was about to drop out of high school, Linda Ballew changed my life forever. If not for her, you would not be reading this book.” ( :156)

“It’s less “I’m trying to be Mother Teresa” and more “I’m going to demonstrate a specific behavior so that others will emulate that exact behavior, which will help us move toward a specific result.”” ( :157)

“This conversation clearly shook him. Most people don’t think about that kind of thing. Then I said, “Now let’s get back to the issue at hand. Why do you think so many people in your company see Daniela as a role model?” Although he hadn’t a good word to say about her only minutes earlier, he found a few points of grudging admiration. He respected how outspoken she was —even though he didn’t like it—because he was never so gutsy at her age.” ( :158)

“”Juan, I’m just wondering if you could perhaps one day be just as good a role model to her as she is being to others and as your role models were to you. What would that look like?”” ( :158)

“At the end of the training, he asked Daniela, the head designer, to the front of the room. He admitted his erroneous thinking about her, the team, and the brand. He shared what challenges he felt he faced in his own character, connections, and contributions. He asked her to share her own version of the UIM, and then he sat down. She was surprised at first, and treaded carefully. But he kept cheering her on and asking her to share more. Two hours went by. All the while, he sat, listened, asked for more insight, and took notes. As she finished, he led the group in a standing ovation for her. That night at their team dinner, she toasted him with one of the most heartfelt and emotional toasts I’ve seen in my career. On the flight back, Juan said something I’ll remember for a long time: “What if our real ability to be truly influential is our ability to be influenced?”” ( :159)

“”There are two ways of meeting difficulties: You alter the difficulties or you alter yourself to meet them.” —Phyllis Bottome” ( :161)

“I hear myself saying these things in my mind, and I know I’m getting snippy. Yet my mind continues. When Washington crossed the ice-clogged Delaware River to attack a superior force, that was courage. When astronauts piloted a capsule into the great darkness between Earth and the moon, that was courage. When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and sparked the Civil Rights movement, that was courage!” ( :163)

“”Hey,” I say, “are you okay? What’s this really about? What’s going on?” Sandra takes a sip of coffee, then casually removes her sunglasses. She has a black eye. “Oh, my God, Sandy!” I gasp. “What happened?” She sobs for few moments, then tells me. “It’s my husband. I should have told you a long time ago. I’ve been . . . He’s been abusive for a long time. I’ve been so scared for so long. Then yesterday I decided I had enough. I posted that video. I just felt like it was my first step to . . .” Her words melt into tears.” ( :163)

“A wave of regret washes over me. I made stupid assumptions. I know better, and I immediately start kicking myself. Sometimes, a person’s first step is courageous no matter what you think of it. “He saw the video and went berserk. I should have thought it through. I just wanted to do something, you know?” Sandra and I sit for three hours and plan her escape, where she’ll stay, her future. She never returns home that day. Her friends go and collect her belongings. She leaves him and never looks back. She crossed her own Delaware. She revolutionized her life. She taught me about courage.” ( :164)

“love mastering challenges, perceive themselves as assertive, perceive themselves as confident, perceive themselves as high performers, perceive themselves as more successful than their peers, and 2 are happy with their life overall.” ( :165)

“”Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” —Mark Twain” ( :165)

“Still, it’s useful to have a look at the different kinds of courage so we can think through them. There’s physical courage, when you put yourself in harm’s way to meet a noble goal—for example, jumping into an intersection to save someone from being hit by a car. It might also include fighting for your life when you’re sick. Moral courage is speaking up for others or enduring hardship for what you believe is right, to serve the greater good. Stopping someone from bullying a stranger, refusing to sit in the back of the bus despite an unfair law, posting a video about your beliefs on a controversial topic—these are all expressions of moral courage. Moral courage shows in selfless acts that protect values or advance principles to benefit the common good. It’s about social responsibility, altruism, “doing what’s right.” Psychological courage is the act of facing or overcoming your own anxieties, insecurities, and mental fears to (a) assert your authentic self instead of conforming—showing the world who you really are even if someone might not like it—or (b) experience personal growth even if it’s only a private victory. Everyday courage could mean keeping a positive attitude or taking action despite great uncertainty (such as moving to a new city), bad health, or hardship (such as sharing unpopular ideas or showing up every day for work even when things are tough at the office).” ( :166)

“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?” ( :168)

“Here’s what I mean. We’re at a unique time in history, when more countries and communities have greater abundance than ever before. But in such blessings, there can be a curse—people can become resistant to struggle. Today, making any recommendations that would require real effort, trial, difficulty, or patient persistence is out of fashion. Ease and convenience reign. People often quit marriages and school and jobs and friendships at the first sign of difficulty. If you quit at the first sign of difficulty in your everyday life, what are the odds you’ll persist in the face of real fear or threat? If we’re ever going to develop the strength that courage requires, we’ll have to get better at dealing with life’s basic challenges. We’ll have to stop getting so annoyed and start seeing the struggle as part of growing our character. We must learn to honor the struggle.” ( :169)

“There are only two narratives in the human story: struggle and progress. And you can’t have the latter without the former. All those ups and downs are what make us most human. There are supposed to be lows, and there are supposed to be highs, so that we may experience the full range of what it is to be human, knowing both joy and despair, loss and triumph. We know that, but we often forget it when things get tough. It’s easy to hate the struggle, but we mustn’t, because over time hate only magnifies its object into a phantom far greater and more ominous than the actual thing.” ( :171)

“But I say the only time you should try to measure up to someone else’s idea of who you are or what you’re capable of is when that person is a role model cheering you on. If someone believes in you and sees greatness in you, sure, try to live up to that.” ( :173)

“Many people wrote in and said they weren’t worried that others would judge them as insufficient; they were worried that by 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. They felt they had to minimize their” ( :173)

“You may think, People will be threatened by my drive and desire. They might not like my ambitions. They might make fun of me. So I’d best keep quiet. It’s better to downgrade my ambition or work ethic, anyway. I’ve heard every version and permutation of that misbegotten idea. But I want to say it again and etch it on your mind: This kind of thinking is not humility, my friend. It’s fear. It’s lying. It’s suppressing. It’s adolescent concern. And it will destroy any real aliveness and authenticity in your relationships. I know, it may feel better in the short term to minimize yourself so someone else can feel good about themselves, but consider this: No one wants to be in connection with a fake person.” ( :174)

“You can always blame “them” for your failure to be real and vulnerable. Or you can choose this very day to start speaking up and living in full, even though some may not like it. Will some people make fun of you? Might a person you love doubt you or leave you? Could your teammates call you crazy and marginalize you? Can your neighbors or fans turn on you for wanting “more than you deserve”? To each of these questions, yes. But which is nobler: falling dutifully in line with what everyone wants, or speaking up for what’s right for you? Ultimately, you must ask which your life is about: fear or freedom? One choice is the cage. The other—that’s courage.” ( :175)

“I learned that if you open your mouth and shout from the rooftops what you want to do with your life, sure, some village idiots will show up and shout back all the reasons why you can’t. But all the village leaders come over and want to help. Life’s great that way.”” ( :175)

“The most important thing in connecting authentically with others is to share your true desires with them. They don’t have to approve or help or even brainstorm with you. This isn’t about them.” ( :176)

“You know when it’s courage, because somehow there is an all-in decision. Often, it doesn’t come from you. It comes from wanting to serve another, to love another, to fight for another.” ( :178)

“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.” ( :178)


SECTION THREE: Sustaining Success


“”Hey, man, you can tell me what you’re thinking. Say it straight. I don’t have a lot of time today. I can handle you, I promise,” he says, laughing. “Nothing you’ll say will hurt my feelings. Promise.” “Okay, good. I think you have six months, tops, before you destroy your career.” #” ( :186)

“This chapter is, in effect, the “antipractices” of high performance. It’s about how people like Don start thinking they are separate from others, better than others, more capable than others, and more important than others—and how those attitudes destroy performance (and careers). It’s also about the problems that come from the never-be-satisfied, hustle-and-grind approach that sucks passion and leads to overcommitment. This is a chapter about the warning signs—the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that knock high performers out of the sky.” ( :186)

“The traps are superiority, dissatisfaction, and neglect. If you’re going to maintain high performance, you need to maintain your high performance habits and avoid these three traps.” ( :187)

“1. You think you are better than another person or group. 2. You’re so amazingly good at what you do that you don’t feel you need feedback, guidance, diverse viewpoints, or support. 3. You feel that you automatically deserve people’s admiration or compliance because of who you are, what position you hold, or what you’ve accomplished. 4. You feel that people don’t understand you, so all those fights and failures are surely not your fault—it’s that “they” just can’t appreciate your situation or the demands,” ( :188)

“obligations, or opportunities you have to sort through daily.” ( :189)

“You are not the first entrepreneur to face financial ruin. You are not the first parent to lose a child. You are not the first manager to be cheated by an employee. You are not the first lover to be cheated on. You are not the first striver to lose your dream. You are not the first CEO to run a large global company. You are not the first healthy person to find yourself suddenly battling cancer. You are not the first person to deal with depression or addiction in yourself or a loved one.” ( :189)

“The ir lack of understanding only grows in your silence.” ( :189)

“First, I’ve rarely met a high performer who thinks they’re “at the top.” Most feel like they’re just getting started.” ( :190)

“performance at your level comes down to the habits we’ve discussed—which anyone can begin implementing—augmented by exposure, training, practice, and access to excellence-driven mentors, coaches, or role models. That’s why I often have to remind the superior minded: You are not better than anyone. You likely just got more exposure to your topic; you had more information or opportunity available to you; you got trained better; you had the opportunity to put in more passion or deliberate practice over more time; you had the opportunity to receive good feedback and guidance. These things are not inherent to who you are.” ( :190)

“My guess is, you wouldn’t exactly be inspired by working with a person like this. People like this aren’t only separate from others and, thus, dismissive of their ability to understand or help; they also become condescending toward others. You know that your mind has tipped into condescension the moment you start hearing yourself say, “What’s wrong with these idiots?” When someone makes a mistake and you think, What a moron! before asking whether they had sufficient clarity, information, or support. When someone doesn’t work as hard as you and you think, Why are they so lazy? What is wrong with them? 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.” ( :191)

“To avoid thinking you’re superior to others, deliberately seek others’ ideas for improving anything you do: If you could improve on my idea, how would you go about it? Ask this question enough, and you’ll discover so many holes in your thinking, any sense of superiority begins to melt away in the harsh light of truth. Learning is the anvil on which humility is forged.” ( :192)

“If dissatisfaction is so detrimental to performance, why do so many people think you have to be dissatisfied to succeed? Because it feels natural and automatic. It’s easy to be dissatisfied, because noticing what’s wrong in a situation is a habit of evolution. Often called the negativity bias, this 11 never-ending scouting for errors and anomalies helps our species survive. When our distant ancestors heard a rustling in the thicket and the crickets stop chirping, an alarm went up telling them something was off. That’s a good thing. But if overapplied in modern daily life, this same impulse doesn’t help us survive—it causes suffering.” ( :194)

“It’s pointing in a statement rather than a positive direction. When you speak to people who are fond of that instruction, and ask them to turn it into a positive takeaway, they say such things as “Stay motivated”; “Notice what’s not working and improve it”; “Care about perfecting the details”; “Set your sights on bigger goals as you grow”; “Keep moving forward.” The truth is, you can do all these things and still be satisfied. Seeking excellence and experiencing satisfaction are not mutually exclusive” ( :195)

“to overreaching. Broaden your ambitions too widely, and your appetite soon outstrips your abilities. Hence the importance of reminding yourself that the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” ( :200)

“DON’T FORGET WHAT GOT YOU HERE “Sometimes, we’re so concerned about giving our children what we never had growing up, we neglect to give them what we did have growing up.” —James Dobson” ( :201)

“”I just want to share my story with them and maybe inspire someone.” “Beautiful. Well, you know your story, right? You’ve only told it during interviews, like, a million times, right?” Before she can answer, Lisa shares that she heard Aurora’s story on ESPN.” ( :204)

“”We all know your story, Aurora,” I tell her, “and so do you. You already know what to say, so now it’s just about who you want to be out there and how you want to connect. When you’re at your best on the gym mat, how would you describe yourself?” “Happy. Confident. I’m excited.” “When you were competing, did nerves accompany any of those emotions?” “Sure.”” ( :205)

“”As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” —Johann von Goethe” ( :212)

Check out more book notes at How I Read 90 Books In The Past 2 Years By Reading 20 Pages A Day

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