High Performance Habits Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: High Performance Habits is your guide to building the six systems that science and the lives of the most successful people in the world prove will turn you into a productive, fulfilled, and extraordinary person.

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High Performance Habits Summary

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Do you know someone that seems to excel at everything they do, balance life, and make it all look easy? Whether you resent or look up to these high performers, they are all around.

Meanwhile, you get stuck on emails, to-do lists, and other meaningless tasks. Luckily, the research shows there’s nothing they have that you don’t. Or, at least, nothing that you can’t develop.

The real key to their success, as Brendon Burchard learned conducting one of the biggest studies on high performers in over 190 different countries, is their habits. And for the people around you that seem to have the Midas touch, they all have similar habits. These are the six common ones that Burchard discovered in his research:

  1. Seeking clarity
  2. Generating energy
  3. Raising necessity
  4. Increasing productivity
  5. Developing influence
  6. Demonstrating courage

If you’re wondering what these are all about and hoping to develop a few of them yourself, you’re in luck. Burchard has compiled the data on each of these in his book High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way so you can become excellent too.

Here’s the book summarized in just 3 lessons:

  1. Become aware of yourself, your purpose, and what it takes to be mentally and physically fit. 
  2. Raise the stakes and increase your productivity to improve your performance.
  3. Give to others and demonstrate courage to make success inevitable.

Let’s jump right into these High Performance Habits!

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Lesson 1: Know your purpose and keep your energy levels high.

The first habit is seeking clarity, which means finding and following your purpose. This gives high performers focus and direction in everything that they do. 

There are four areas that you need to work on to develop this habit:

  • The self, or becoming the best you can be. To do this, ask if you’re currently acting how you want to be and what you need to change to get there.
  • The social sphere, which involves being intentional in how you treat others. Constantly ask yourself how you can improve every social situation you’re in.
  • Skills, for which you need to set aside time to develop by practice, feedback, and improvement.
  • Service, or giving of yourself to help others. This keeps high achievers motivated and provides meaning.

Habit number two is to generate physical by exercising and mental energy by developing a positive attitude. 

For exercise, stop making excuses and make it happen. If you want to reap the benefits it brings of improved focus, memory, and stress-management abilities, you need to set up a routine and stick to it.

Extraordinary people, the data reveals, are more positive than others even though they don’t have any fewer difficulties. If you want to develop this habit, ask yourself every day what you have to look forward to, and believe that good things are coming.

Lesson 2: Finding reasons you have to perform well makes you more productive.

Pretend you’re watching two runners walking up to the starting line before a big race. One is thinking about the fame they’ll get by winning, and the other considers their children that they have to win the race for. 

Who do you think is more likely to win?

If you chose the latter, you’d be correct. This brings us to habit three, which is raising necessity. This means having an external reason for your work, which increases motivation by directing your thoughts away from your selfish desires for success.

To practice this habit, set ambitious goals and make sure that they are necessary and not just preferable outcomes.

Next comes habit number four, which is increasing productivity. Do this by separating the important work from the unimportant, and only put your energy into that which is vital. 

Most people waste time on menial tasks like email because they feel like you’re accomplishing something. When in reality you’re putting off other, more impactful work.

Also watch out for the deadline trap, which is when people don’t hold themselves to the deadlines they set. Set and commit to a clear due date and use a Ulysses Contract to hold yourself to it if necessary.

Lesson 3: Be generous with others and confident in yourself.

You’ve heard the phrase “it’s lonely at the top” but is this actually true? Do the best people out there actually get to and work in their positions alone? According to Burchard’s research, the answer is a resounding no.

Instead, excellent people follow habit five, which is to have a giving mindset. They value the relationships they have with others and work hard to establish deep connections wherever they go. 

If you want to follow this same pattern, get to know people, including their struggles. Use the knowledge you have to help them get through difficulties and reach their full potential. And if you’re in charge, trust them to make their own decisions.

The last habit is demonstrating courage. Extraordinary people know that reaping great rewards requires taking risks, and they’ve developed the ability to handle those risks with confidence. 

The good news for you is that it’s not some genetic trait that sets them apart. Instead, their practice has given them the courage to beat fear and work toward their biggest goals. 

It might be scary at first, but each new opportunity you take will increase your confidence. Some high achievers have even gotten to the point that they enjoy the thrill of taking risks!

It’s also necessary to be open about your boldest goals if you want to become extraordinary. Most people just work in silence and make it easy to let their faith die in the process. 

High achievers, on the other hand, aren’t afraid of being called “idealistic” or “delusional” when they share their big goals that can change the world.

High Performance Habits Review

I think we could all use some High Performance Habits in our lives. This book is inspiring, actionable, and interesting to read! I really appreciate that there is science and experiences to back up that these habits work, and I can’t wait to get started developing them!

Who would I recommend the High Performance Habits summary to?

The 19-year-old college student that wants to achieve great things throughout school and life, the 45-year-old office worker that would like to boost their motivation and productivity, and anyone that wants to become happier and healthier.

Last Updated on July 23, 2023

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.