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Brad Stulberg: Ditch The Hedonic Treadmill For Sustainable Success

By May 2, 2022January 5th, 2023No Comments
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Episode #677



Ambition is laudable. But hustle culture extracts a cost. True, sustainable success demands groundedness.

Exhaustion, frayed relationships, and even substance abuse are just a few of the many undesirable side effects of an obsessive relationship with performance. True success—the kind you can sustain over time—demands a different relationship with ambition. A healthier, more sustainable model rooted in groundedness. One that prioritizes presence, patience, and long-term values over short-term gain.

Here today to elaborate is Brad Stulberg—a writer and coach specializing in human performance and well-being. Returning for his third appearance (you can check out episodes #293 and #429).

Brad is the author of three books: Peak Performance, The Passion Paradox, and his latest, the subject of today’s exchange, The Practice of Groundedness. His work has appeared in the NYT, WSJ, Sports Illustrated, Wired, the New Yorker, Forbes, GQ, TIME, and Outside. He is a fellow at the University of Michigan’s graduate school of Public Health–and he is the co-founder of The Growth Equation newsletter and podcast alongside elite track and field coach Steve Magness.

​​“In a society that glorifies grinding and pushing to extremes, it takes guts to rest.”


This is a conversation about striving–not out of compulsion–but from a place of wholeness and love. It’s a state of mind and action Brad calls groundedness.

It’s about the perils of ‘heroic individualism’–the tension between self-discipline and self-compassion. The power of rooting yourself like a redwood. And why in the long run, the tortoise always beats the hare.

In addition, we discuss in great detail the principles upon which to build sustainable success and a life grounded in meaning and fulfillment.

Trigger Warning: We discuss a few intense mental health topics including suicidal ideation—in fairly graphic detail. So sensitive viewers please be advised.

That said, amidst the chaos and confusion of self-help, I find Brad to be a principled and welcome voice of reason. This conversation is overflowing with evidence-and-experience-based, practical, and actionable life counsel.

For more information on OCD and evidence-based treatment, see Made of Millions, an organization dedicated to educating on stigmatized mental health conditions such as OCD.

The visually inclined can watch it all go down on YouTube. As always, the podcast streams wild and free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.


Peace + Plants,

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