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High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way Hardcover – September 19, 2017
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About the Author
BRENDON BURCHARD is the world’s leading high performance coach and one of the most watched, quoted, and followed personal development trainers in history. SUCCESS magazine and O, The Oprah Magazine have both named him one of the most influential leaders in personal growth and achievement. He has trained and certified more people on the topic of high performance than anyone in the world.
Brendon is a #1 New York Times, #1 USA TODAY, and #1 Wall Street Journal best-selling author, whose books include The Motivation Manifesto, The Charge, The Millionaire Messenger, and Life’s Golden Ticket.
An early pioneer in online education, Brendon’s personal development videos have now been viewed over 100,000,000 times. More than 1.6 million people have taken his online courses or video series. He is also a Top 100 Most Followed Public Figure on Facebook and the star of the most watched self-help show on YouTube. For these results, Oprah.com named him “one of the most successful online trainers in history.”
As CEO of the High Performance Institute, Brendon leads a team of coaches, creators, and researchers whose mission is to help people create and enjoy extraordinary lives. He travels the globe speaking, and serves as the lead trainer at High Performance Academy and an Innovation Board member at XPRIZE.
Meet him at Brendon.com.
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Too many books of this genre are written by people who have been drinking the Kool-Aid and come to believe they have discovered the true essence of water. Burchard, thankfully, is not that author. You may not agree with everything he writes, but you will ultimately conclude that he is authentic, and that’s about the highest compliment I can pay a person.
Every good consultant will start their session with their objective. Brendon is no exception. “This book is about how people become extraordinary, and why others block themselves from that possibility. It will show clearly and unmistakably why some excel, others fail, and far too many never even try.” A few pages later he adds, “It will reveal what it takes to become not just an achiever but a high performer—someone who creates ever-increasing levels of both well-being and external success over the long term.”
Then comes the hook. Every consultant knows the old saying, “Them that can, do; those that can’t, teach.” That’s why they always give you the pièce de résistance, the handful of words that describes why their idea is different. It can normally be shown as a geometric shape or simple graph. In this case, it is, “High performance is not achieved by a specific kind of person, but rather a specific set of practices, which I call high performance habits.”
At this point, I admit, my expectations were being met. And then things went from bad to worse. “Taken together, the six habits you’ll learn here won’t just get you to excellence, they’ll make you happier—and the data proves it. The positive emotions of engagement, joy, and confidence that define the high performer’s emotional state can be yours.”
Happier? I am a sexagenarian who has known modest success and far less modest failure. If there is one thing I’ve learned it is that happiness will not give your life meaning or you contentment. Having the world by the tail is not the path to a purposeful life.
But I persevered through the book. I am a curious person and do not give up easily. And the author has achieved more success in high performance coaching than most of us will ever achieve in much of anything. He has a Rolodex (an outdated term, for sure) of the most powerful and influential people on the planet, from Oprah to past presidents and Olympians.
I read the book pretty much straight through although I have long practiced one of the tidbits of advice the author offers. I refuse to multi-task and believe it is the scourge of inefficiency and incomprehension. But I do believe in taking breaks, in changing the scene, and augmenting the primary objective (in this case, reading) with the indulgence of a good coffee or a piece of chocolate.
I won’t share the six habits of high performance (HP6) that are the heart of the book. And the reason is that we don’t learn if we don’t learn in context. And that task is up to the author, not me, a reader.
I will tell you that one thing all six habits have in common is that they are deliberate. They require conscious effort. There are no little green pills. The book, in fact, might have been called The Power of Being Deliberate.
Burchard is also not a therapist. “I’ll remind you, I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist, neuroscientist, biologist, or any other title I’m aware of that ends in ‘-ist.’ I am a professional high performance coach and trainer who is paid for results, not discussion or theory.” Fair enough. That’s probably what most people who will consider this book are looking for. Otherwise you’d be in the religion or philosophy sections.
There is some jargon but it’s admittedly modest for a book of the genre. There is talk of prolific quality output (PQO, of course), and “performance necessity,” and you will have to get your head around, “They [high performers] remember that the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” It’s a central theme.
The HP6, as I was reading the book, did remind me of a variant of cognitive behavioral therapy but that’s not a criticism. It’s a function of the very deliberate nature of the process and practices described. In the end, high performance, as Brendon describes it, is a verb, not an achievement. “Connection [for example] is less about comfort than about challenge.” (I personally think it’s about trust.) And, “…it’s so thoroughly obvious that high performers are generating the feelings they want more often that taking the emotions that land on them.”
My biggest pause came with the quote: “The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe to it.” It’s a quote from Joseph Campbell, an American writer known for his work in comparative mythology. He’s probably most often remembered for the counsel, “Follow your bliss.” It’s a quote that is often misinterpreted but is a little too nihilistic for my taste.
And when he writes, “There are only two narratives in the human story: struggle and progress,” my first thought was that Camus would disagree. But that’s too much of a digression to get into here.
The money line for me was, “Superiority draws us off track a quarter inch at a time.” This is a man who believes in his mission. It is a quality that resonates throughout the book and is, perhaps, the book’s greatest contribution. Too many “successful” people, in my experience, talk humility, but walk superiority. Humility is not an attitude. It is a way of living.
It was here that the author earned my 4 rating. The book is probably longer than it needs to be but, in the end, I found it worth the journey. It’s an ambitious work by a man that obviously believes in what he does. And that is undoubtedly why he has known such success.
I took the free assessment (normally a $97 value!!) and on average got about 3-4 out of 5. Bad news, I need to be at around 4.6 to be effective. The good news is after each category there is a link that tells me how to improve my score! Surely the link will direct me back to this book that has all the answers, right? No, there is an online course, this book isn't mentioned. But more good news! Today you can get the course half off, for only $297!!!
Despite all of this I remain slightly optimistic. The book promises to show exact steps to take to improve performance and get more out of life. If it delivers I will gladly delete or amend this review.
On the not so optimistic side, a lot of this seems to be rehashed from other material. Seeking clarity is sounding suspiciously like Begin With the End in Mind. Also, I took the assessment about 2 hours ago and have already gotten 3 emails from the author trying to sell the course mentioned above. And again, it bothers me that the assessment results prompt me to the seminar, not to the book that promises to have all the answers.