High Performance Habits Summary (Brendon Burchard)

This book investigates the six habits that will transform you from an ordinary individual to high performance person.

If you want to get healthier, enjoy work and improve overall wellbeing, this High Performance Habits summary is a good start.

Based on of the biggest studies into productive folk ever performed, you know that you’re using tried and tested techniques.

High Performance Habits summary

Even though you work hard and aim high, you might still be average. But it needn’t be the case.

Research shows that the key to success is rooted in six core habits:

  • Seeking clarity
  • Generating energy
  • Raising necessity
  • Increasing productivity
  • Developing influence
  • Demonstrating courage

Habits and confidence

Burchard has conducted one of the largest high performance studies in history, including people from 190+ countries.

Rather than fixed traits like age, gender and race, he found that habits were the main predictor of success.

It’s not who you are but what you do. Top performers cultivate the necessary actions deliberately.

These aren’t life hacks, but rather require persistence and patience to implement.

Confidence is also marker of success, especially when learning new skills or addressing challenges.

Importantly, this confidence is earned, not gifted.

Confidence develops through continued practice, as we slowly expand our comfort zone to tackle more difficult areas of work and life.

It becomes a virtuous cycle, where the right habits create the success responsible for growing our confidence.


Most people only question their direction in life when setting their new year’s resolutions.

For high performers, it’s an ongoing process, providing a template for all our subsequent decisions and actions.

Clarity such clarity provides benefits:

Clarity is comprised of four main areas:

  • The self – do you know exactly the type of person you want to become. High performers want to be the best version of themselves and align their actions accordingly.
  • Social sphere – developing intention around your interaction with others in order to yield the outcomes you desire
  • Field of skills – developing the base of skills needed for success. Most high performers dedicate themselves to one area and avoid distraction, diligently working to enhance their abilities.
  • Service – as opposed to a selfish endeavour, high performers give back to others wherever they can, providing more meaning in their pursuit of mastery.

Generating energy

Research shows that CEO’s are incredibly fit and often possess the same energy levels as elite athletes.

It’s unsurprising, when exercise has been shown to regulate stress, enhance memory and improve learning.

High performers create non-negotiable exercises habits, while underperformers create excuses.

Studies also show that high performers generally possess a more positive outlook on life, despite facing the same hardships as their counterparts, playing directly into their success.

They continually and intentionally focus on the good in their lives, which is something we can all practice.

Research shows that just as much dopamine (the reward chemical) is released in our brains when we anticipate an event as when we actually experience it.

So regularly ask yourself…what do you have to look forward to today?

Raising necessity

Raising the stakes of any goal we’re pursuing increasing the likelihood of its achievement.

Underperformers tend to solely rely on their own desires.

However, combining intrinsic motivation with extrinsic expectations is more effective and fuel for performance.

This provides more motivation to do the work.

Try the following to raise necessity:

  • To master your craft, set high standards and don’t settle for easily achievable aims.
  • Attach your goal to an external result, ideally one that benefits another person or entity.
  • Share your goal with others, thereby raising expectations, accountability and commitment.

Increasing productivity

If you’re always feeling busy and run down, but with little to show for your results, you may have a productivity problem.

How to be increase your productivity?

  • Learn to separate important tasks from unimportant – this liberates more energy as we make progress in what matters. Many underperformers focus on tasks that make them feel good but don’t deliver results (like email).
  • Timing – High achievers know that setting strictly enforced deadlines are key to success, while for underperformers, they’re merely preferable.
  • Planning – Overachievers know that effective planning helps them to hit their deadlines, overcome challenges and achieve their goals. Planning allows us to fend off distraction and maintain our energy levels.
  • Utilise sub goals – Many of our ambitions and goals will likely be years in the making. Breaking them down into more manageable pieces (4-5 steps) allows us to maintain focus and momentum over extended periods of time.

Developing influence

There’s a myth that it’s lonely at the top, but high performers are extremely capable to working with their peers.

They possess a giving mind set and routinely invest in the growth of their contacts.

They do this by promoting autonomy, providing the freedom for others to make their own decisions and assigning the right tasks to the right people, enabling them to reach the next level.

They’re also unafraid to ask for help when needed, in contrast to low performers, who allow the fear of rejection to prevail.

Demonstrating courage

Many of us prefer to stay within our comfort zone, while high performers embrace risk and making bold decisions.

While risk increases the odds of failure, they have learned to overcome their fear and take action.

With practice, embracing a positive perspective gets easier.

Over time, rather than perceiving difficulties as obstacles, high performers regard challenges as growth opportunities.

Many of us don’t have the courage to be open about our ambitions, but to excel, we must risk being called crazy or delusional.

By doing so, we attract those who support us in our aims.


As Burchard demonstrates, the majority of high performers exhibit similar traits.

Although these principles may not be sexy, nor is the road to success.

It boils down to embracing the right mindset and applying the fundamentals through persistence and practice.

By emulating these behaviours, we too can become more effective life practitioners.

Like this? Then browse more book summaries. Alternatively, check out my recommendations for books on habit formation.