How to Develop a High-Performance Mindset

4 mins read
How to Develop a High-Performance Mindset

Types of Mindsets

A mindset is a curious thing. Not only is it unique to each individual, but it can also be polished to help us function better in everyday life. Of course, much has been instilled in our minds by society and consumerism. As a direct result, when talking about a high-performance mindset, people usually imply what makes them perform better at their jobs rather than what makes them more efficient in every aspect of their lives, thus making them happier in turn.

However, a mindset comprises a set of, let’s say, values that function in unison and make us who we are deep down. In simplified terms, a mindset comprises all cognitive processes, beliefs and values, attitudes and expectations.

Psychologist Michael Gervais, who claims to be “fascinated” by the “psychology of high performance,” says there are numerous types of mindsets, including:

  • A learning mindset
  • A global mindset
  • A competitive mindset
  • An aggressive mindset
  • A high-performance mindset

We will hereby explain a high-performance mindset in a bit more detail and how to achieve it using Gervais’ methodology.

A High-Performance Mindset in a Nutshell

As its name portends, a high-performance mindset is a mindset type that helps people learn to always give their best. People with this mindset don’t limit their beliefs and goals. Rather, they always strive to achieve more and push the limits further.

Simply put, this is a growth mindset. People with a high-performance mindset see an opportunity in each failure, and that ability sets them apart from people with different mindsets. However, one notable ability that this mindset grants is the understanding of the lag between cause and effect.

Shortly put, high-performers are patient and don’t give up when their strategy doesn’t bring immediate results. They also know that if they continually work hard, results are bound to come sooner or later.

Confidence is a skill; we can train it. And you train it by being aware of how you’re appraising the external, how you’re appraising your internal, and then finding ways to challenge both of them. And if you do that on a regular basis, you got something. And the only place confidence comes from is self-talk- what you say to yourself. That’s the keyhole to confidence is what do you say to yourself and if you’re faking it, it’s going to get found out. – Dr. Michael Gervais

5 Steps to Achieving a High-Performance Mindset

1. Be Clear About Your Personal Philosophy

According to Gervais, “the greatest movers and shakers are very clear about their personal philosophy.” In other words, high-performers have a clear idea of who they want to become in the future and work hard to achieve that goal.

“We are not what we do. The doing is the expression. Decoupling who you are from what you do is an accelerant to sustaining high-performance.” – Dr. Michael Gervais

2. Learn to Always Be Calm

According to Gervais, the basic mindset skills are calm, focus, trust and confidence. Fear and fatigue are the two biggest obstacles to achieving high performance. Therefore, you’ll need to train your brain so that calmness becomes its default setting. Anxiety and worry are never helpful.

There’s no big mystery here, really. When you’re calm, you’ll be able to think clearly and come up with the best solutions – even in pressing situations. Buddhist monks know what they’re talking about when they insist on daily meditation.

To achieve mindfulness, Gervais recommends that we start small. Every day, when we realize our mind is wandering, bring it back to the present moment. Do this every day and, in time, this will become routine. Later still, it will become your default mind setting.

When we’re aware of our thoughts, we can guide and sort of negotiate with them so they don’t run wild. – Dr. Michael Gervais

3. Take Your Time to Recover

Because practicing your focus is hard work, Gervais says that the fifth step towards achieving a high-performance mindset is making sure you allow sufficient time for recovery. The actions comprising it include sleeping, eating properly, moving, hydrating and thinking well.

In addition, by practicing these actions, you are making a step towards them becoming your new good habits.

Awareness of – and the inner skills to back up how you want to live, when challenged – is a mark of mastery of self. – Dr. Michael Gervais

4. Relationships Do Matter

If by now you’re thinking that high performers are selfish and ruthless business people we all see way too often, you’re greatly mistaken.

In fact, in order to achieve a high-performance mindset, it is important to be mindful of your surroundings and to support others who are giving their best. Gervais stresses that a truly competitive organization focuses on relationships rather than on outcomes alone.

From clarity, we can train our mind to have conviction even in stressful environments. And that clarity helps other people to know what we’re really about. And then when we ask them what they’re about, that’s how you start to build that deeper bond. – Dr. Michael Gervais

5. Start From the “No Mind” State

There are three different states of mind:

  • Positive (optimistic)
  • Negative (worry, doubt, self-criticism)
  • No mind (being locked in the present moment)

To train your brain, you should strive to learn to start every action from the no-mind state. According to Gervais, there is “no entry point from negative mind to no mind.” The key lies in recognizing you’re in a negative mind and snapping out of it. He goes on to clarify that “if we hang out in a positive mind long enough, we have a chance to slip into no mind or flow state, the most optimal state we can be in as humans.”

In the present moment is where all things high-performance take place. – Dr. Michael Gervais


A high-performance mindset is being trained daily and is highly individual. The key point is to focus on the present and work on good habits, rather than wasting your time dwelling on depressive thoughts about things you cannot affect, let alone change. The key takeaway is to learn to observe failures as opportunities and stretch your limits so that you can become a better version of yourself in the long run.

Finally, a high-performance mindset shouldn’t be all about work. Helping others out and tapping into a bigger picture is what it’s really all about. Achieving patience and wisdom that will guide you in your everyday life should be the “performances” you work on achieving and polishing continually.

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