Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success

Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success

by Brad Stulberg, Steve Magness

Peak Performance focuses on the mindset and habits of top performers in a range of fields and shows you how to implement them in your own life. From athletes to top business leaders, Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness break down the key concepts that help these people reach the top of their game. In particular, they focus on the relationship between stress and rest, showing you how to seek out stress when it helps you grow and find rest when you need it. Mastering this is the key to unlocking your full potential.

Summary Notes

Seek Out Stress

“The key to strengthening your biceps—and, as we’ll learn, any muscle, be it physical, cognitive, or emotional—is balancing the right amount of stress with the right amount of rest.”

Pushing yourself and seeking out stressful challenges can help you grow in certain areas of your life. If you constantly avoid doing things that you find difficult, you will never improve. 

However, the key to success is finding ‘just-manageable’ challenges that stretch your abilities just a little bit each time. This ensures that you’re pushing yourself enough while still achieving your goals and not getting disheartened.

Actions to take

Learn to Cultivate Deep Focus

“The best violinists spent significantly more time intensely focused on mastering a specific goal and remained totally present when doing so.”

Giving your complete focus to the task at hand is important in working productively. However, most people are distracted or tend to multitask, especially when completing tasks they don’t enjoy, so they don’t have deep focus. 

Cultivating deep focus means setting a clear purpose to keep you on track. Keep your objectives concrete to erase any doubt about what exactly you should be doing.

Actions to take

Learn to Work in Discrete Blocks

“Alternating between blocks of 50 to 90 minutes of intense work and recovery breaks of 7 to 20 minutes enables people to sustain the physical, cognitive, and emotional energy required for peak performance.”

Trying to work on one thing for long periods can be difficult, especially if you lack focus. To make it easier to complete a task without exhausting your energy, divide your day into small blocks with recovery breaks in between. 

By doing so, you can improve your focus and productivity. It also ensures that you make efficient use of your day and that important tasks are prioritized.

Actions to take

Grow Your Mindful Muscle With Meditation

“Developing your mindful muscle creates space for you to choose how you want to respond to stress.”

Meditation is an excellent way to build mindfulness, alleviate stress, and improve focus. It allows you to rest and recharge your batteries when you are not working, making you more productive when you sit down to work. 

Consistency is very important here, so introduce meditation to your daily routine, even if it is only for short periods each day.

Actions to take

Take Smart Breaks

“There are many ways to step away from our work, of course, and not all of them are created equal. Browsing social media, for example, isn’t nearly as effective as taking a walk”.

When you are struggling with a task, taking a break from it is the best way to refresh and get over the hurdle. When you take a break and focus your attention on something else, your subconscious gets to work and often helps find a solution to the problem. 

On the other hand, if you continue working without taking a break, even though you are getting nowhere, you only harm your productivity. Taking smart breaks ensures they are still a good use of your time.

Actions to take

Prioritize Sleep

“We don’t grow when we’re in the gym or when we’re immersed in our work: We grow in our sleep.”

Sleep is essential for productivity. When we do not get enough good quality sleep, our performance suffers. 

Unfortunately, most people do not prioritize sleep, and they don’t consider it as something productive. By reframing how you think about sleep and placing more importance on it, you can be more successful and efficient during your waking hours.

Actions to take

Optimize Your Routine

“Similar to how great athletes prepare their bodies for peak performance, great thinkers and artists prepare their minds.”

Routines are very important for productivity, but simply having a routine is not enough. There are simple things you can do to optimize your routine and help you stick to it. This includes warm-up routines for tasks and finding dedicated spaces for working. 

Developing the right routine may take some time, so it’s best to experiment with it first and make necessary adjustments when you feel something isn’t working.

Actions to take

Design Your Day

“The best way to understand your optimal schedule is to listen to your body.”

The way that you design your day and create a schedule is vital. Everybody works differently, and you must build a schedule around your optimum way of working. 

Start by assessing all the decisions you make and find ways to streamline and automate them so that you can focus your mental energy on the most important ones. You should then consider your energy and attention levels throughout the day and plan tasks accordingly.

Actions to take

Develop and Harness Your Purpose

“When people focus on a self-transcending purpose, or a purpose greater than themselves, they become capable of more than they ever thought was possible.”

Having a larger purpose keeps you focused, even when things are difficult. When motivation is waning, you can remind yourself of your purpose and long-term goals to help you stay productive. 

Your purpose should be self-transcending, meaning it should contribute to the wider world rather than simply helping you achieve personal goals.

Actions to take

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