“There is both good passion and bad passion. And what direction your passion takes is largely up to you.”
Brad Stulberg & Steve Magness
Follow your passion.
For many it’s a mantra. For others, an over-hyped trope.
I plead guilty to advocating this pursuit — a subject worthy of frequent exploration on the podcast.
But is a life propelled by passion always the best course of action?
The answer, it turns out, is complicated.
Passion can be a gift. But only if you know how to properly channel it. The same drive that fuels breakthroughs — whether they’re athletic, scientific, entrepreneurial, or artistic — can be every bit as destructive as it is productive. Unchecked by balance (that other culturally touted virtue), passion can manifest as a curse, leading to endless seeking, suffering, and burnout.
Simply put, passion is a paradox.
To demystify this important subject, my friends Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness return to the podcast (their 1st appearance was RRP 293 back in June 2017) to explore how to develop, harness and express the right kind of passion to unlock potential and actualize a meaningful, purpose-driven life.
Long time listeners might recall Steve as a former elite track & field athlete who clocked an extraordinary 4:01 mile in high school. Today, Steve is one of the most accomplished, respected and in demand track & field and cross country coaches in the world. In addition to serving up duties at the University of Houston, he is the personal coach to some of the most accomplished professional and Olympic runners on the planet. In addition, he consults with start-up technology companies on innovation and growth, holds a Master’s degree in Exercise Science from George Mason University, and serves as an adjunct professor at St. Mary’s University in the United Kingdom.
Brad is a former McKinsey & Co. health care consultant turned writer specializing in the health and science of human performance. Lauded for his ability to merge the latest science with compelling personal stories and practical insights, his work has been published in The New York Times, Outside Magazine, New York Magazine, Forbes, NPR, The Los Angeles Times & Runner’s World.
Together, Steve and Brad are the co-authors of Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success*, a science-based primer on the principles that drive and sustain high performance in sport, business and life.
This week marks the publication of their latest collaboration, aptly titled The Passion Paradox: A Guide to Going All In, Finding Success, and Discovering the Benefits of an Unbalanced Life*. A fascinating look int0 the science behind passion and it’s double-edge-sword nature, it’s a must read for anyone searching for that spark or how to best harness its magical powers to unlock inner potential.
Today’s conversation is a wide-ranging exploration into the very nature of passion. Chock-a-block with scientific takeaways & experiential insights, we examine the pros and cons of this intoxicating impulse. We mine how one finds and cultivates the kind of passion that lets you achieve great things without ruining your life. How passion unchecked can devolve into unhealthy obsession. The best route to avoid this and other dangerous downsides. And the biological and psychological factors that give rise to and ultimately sustain passion’s magical powers.
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I love these guys and thoroughly enjoyed this conversation. I sincerely hope you do as well.
Peace + Plants,
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Check out Brad & Steve’s latest book: The Passion Paradox: A Guide to Going All In, Finding Success, and Discovering the Benefits of an Unbalanced Life*
Background, Context & Reference:
- Connect with Brad: Website | Twitter
- Connect with Steve: Website | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube
- Passion Paradox Book: Website
- Peak Performance Book: Website
- Book: Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success*
- Book: The Science of Running: How to find your limit and train to maximize your performance* by Steve Magness
- Podcast: Magness & Marcus on Coaching
- Apple Books: The Passion Paradox
- Articles by Brad Stulberg at Outside Magazine
- Articles by Brad Stulberg at New York Magazine
- Articles by Steve Magness at Runner’s World
- Men’s Health: Why You Should Take a Midday Nap Today by Brad Stulberg & Steve Magness
- Outside Magazine: Good Vibes Are Contagious by Brad Stulberg
- Outside Magazine: Meet Steve Magness the Mad Scientist of Running by Brad Stulberg
- Huffington Post: Why You Should Stop Hacking Your Life and Invest in the Journey by Rich Roll
Notable People Discussed
- Michael Gervais: Elite performance sports psychologist and host of “Finding Mastery” podcast and (2x) podcast guest
- David Goggins: Navy SEAL, Endurance Athlete and (2x) podcast guest
- Gary Vaynerchuk: (Gary Vee) 4x NY Times bestselling author, speaker serial entrepreneur and podcast guest
- Kerry Walsh Jennings: American professional beach volleyball player, three-time Olympic gold medalist, and a one-time Olympic bronze medalist and podcast guest
- Ryan Holiday: Author of: The Obstacle Is The Way* and Ego Is The Enemy* and podcast guest
- Shalane Flanagan: Olympic long-distance runner, holds the American record times in the 3000 meters, 5000 m and 15K road race and podcast guest
- Tyler Clary: former competition swimmer and Olympic gold medalist. In his Olympic debut at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Clary won gold in the 200-meter backstroke in Olympic record time
- Mark Lewis, Phd: Marc Lewis, PhD, is a neuroscientist and professor of developmental psychology. He has authored or coauthored more than fifty journal articles in neuroscience and developmental psychology
- Dan Pink: author of five best-selling books about work, management, and behavioral science
- Sarah Milby: founder and CEO of Valor Performance, a digital learning platform focused on sustaining peak performance for sales professionals, managers and executives
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy
- RRP #283: Brad Stulberg & Steve Magness On Achieving And Sustaining Peak Performance
- RRP #427: Brian Koppelman On The Artist Within, Nurturing Your Voice & The Importance Of Consistent Creative Practice
- RRP #23: Lewis Howes: Living A Passionate Life
- RRP #311: Ultra-Athlete Samantha Gash On Suffering For Your Passion
- RRP #366: In Search Of Mastery With Dr. Michael Gervais: How To Develop A High Performance Mindset
- RRP #262: Lessons On Mindset With Kerri Walsh Jennings
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