The Performance Paradox: Turning the Power of Mindset into Action | Book by Eduardo Briceño

“The Performance Paradox is an essential read for fostering learning, performance, and a growth mindset. It skillfully shows you how to put your mindset into action as an individual and as an organization. This book will guide your journey toward building world-class competencies, resilience, and impact. I wholeheartedly recommend it.”

— Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.
Bestselling author of Mindset


— The Next Big Idea Club
Curated by Susan Cain, Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, and Daniel Pink.

“More than anyone I know, Eduardo Briceño has devoted himself to bringing academic research on mindsets into the everyday lives of learners of all ages. His passion and optimism are contagious, and in every interaction, I come away inspired.”

— Angela Duckworth, Ph.D.
NYT bestselling author of Grit

“Eduardo offers invaluable insights that will change how we approach our personal and professional journeys. His thoughtful exploration of the performance and learning zones unveils a roadmap to continuous improvement, enabling us to thrive in an ever-evolving world. His frameworks equip readers with the essential skills and techniques needed to embrace a growth mindset, find wisdom in mistakes, and understand the delicate balance between learning and performance.”

— Kathleen Hogan
Chief People Officer, Microsoft

“The Performance Paradox is a go-to playbook for developing thriving workplaces and lives. This gem is insightful, useful, and absorbing, and filled with captivating stories and examples of how top performers drive growth. Whether you’re starting your career, a contributing manager, or a senior executive, this book will equip you and your organization to write your story in a world of constant change.”

— Chip Conley
Founder of Modern Elder Academy and NYT bestselling author

“If you’re tired of running in circles and not making any meaningful progress towards your goals, The Performance Paradox is the book you need to read. Eduardo’s writing and stories are engaging, insightful, and provide the practical advice you need to break out of your rut and start making real change today.”

— Marshall Goldsmith, Ph.D.
Thinkers50 #1 Executive Coach and NYT bestselling author

“With crisp, clear tactics and new frameworks that feel instantly familiar, Eduardo Briceño shows you how to learn and keep learning for your own good — even in those moments when you think it’s the last thing you can afford to do. I dare you to read The Performance Paradox without rushing to apply it.”

— Mónica Guzmán
Senior Fellow at Braver Angels and author of I Never Thought Of It That Way

“Full of fresh perspectives, unconventional solutions and big ideas to transform you and your workplace.”

— SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management)
The largest HR membership organization

Breakthrough Idea Award Shortlist

— Thinkers 50
“The Oscars of management thinking,” according to the Financial Times

“The Performance Paradox is a game-changer in our understanding and harnessing the power of mindset for tangible action and growth. Eduardo Briceño brilliantly reveals how the learning zone holds the key to better performance. The book is a must-read for anyone seeking to unlock their true potential, both personally and professionally, by challenging conventional wisdom and tapping into the power of a growth-oriented mindset.”

— Tony Martignetti
Chief Inspiration Officer, Inspired Purpose Partners, Best-selling Author, Podcast Host, and Keynote Speaker

Bulk Order Discounts

Bulk order discounts are available through Bookpal and through Porchlight Books.

What Is The Performance Paradox?

The performance paradox is the counterintuitive reality that if we focus only on performing, our performance suffers.

Many of us have a vague, misguided sense that to improve we just have to work hard at getting things done. But in fact, that’s not the way to improve. There are two different kinds of hard work and they’re both essential.

To improve or innovate, we can’t spend all our time doing things as best as we know how, trying to minimize mistakes (I call this the Performance Zone). We have to also engage in the mental state and strategies to go beyond what we know (I call this the Learning Zone). When we do these together, we’re Learning While Doing.

The most successful individuals, teams, and organizations habituate the two zones.

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A Sneak Peak Into The Performance Paradox

Chronic Performance

Too many of us are stuck in chronic performance: the constant focus on getting things done as best as we know how, trying to minimize mistakes. We think this is the way to improve, but instead, it stagnates us.

The Performance Zone

The Performance Zone, which is when we do things as best as we know how, is a critical part of our lives. It’s how we get things done and how we contribute. But too many of us stay in this zone all of the time, which, ironically, lowers our performance.

The Learning Zone

The Learning Zone is when we leap beyond the known, which is different than doing things as best as we know how. It’s filled with curiosity, experimentation, and change. To grow and reach higher levels of performance, we need to habituate this zone.

Learning While Doing

Just like salt and pepper, the Learning Zone and the Performance Zone can be used together, at the same time. But that’s different than simply doing. We have to do things in a way that will lead to learning and improvement.

The Power of Mistakes

Mistakes are not all created equal. Some are more desirable and lead to greater learning, while others are best avoided when possible. Rather than label all mistakes as good or bad, differentiate the four kinds of mistakes.

Learning Myths

When a growth mindset is misunderstood, ineffective attempts to foster it follow. Uncover the most common and problematic misconceptions about growth mindset so that you can overcome the performance paradox and unleash growth.

The Growth Propeller

The growth propeller depicts the five key elements we need to develop in ourselves if we want to become top learners and performers. They enable us to direct our efforts with clarity, confidence, and coherence.

Leading for Growth

To lead teams and organizations for growth we need to overcome tendencies to unintentionally promote a fixed mindset while still being influential, inspiring confidence, and supporting high performance.

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