A Transformative Path to Success That Feeds – Not Crushes – Your Soul


Clint Murphy Brad Stulberg


Clint Murphy  00:11

Welcome to the growth guide podcast. I’m your host Clint Murphy. Every week I talk to authors subject matter experts and millionaire mentors to share the lessons that will help you and me be better, achieve more and become financially free. Today I had a blast talking with Brad Stulberg, Brad explores and writes about the art, science and practice of motivation, values driven excellence and maximizing one’s potential while realizing a more fulfilling and sustainable kind of success. He’s the co author of peak performance and the passion paradox. In our conversation today is about his new book, The Practice of Groundedness, which will change your life if you let it. Let’s get right to it. Brad, welcome to the growth guide podcast, it’s great to have you here. Before we dive into your book, what I’d love to know for our audience who may not have met you yet is can you give them a bit brief bio, into who you are and what you do, and then we’ll dive in.

Brad Stulberg  01:24

Yeah, that sounds great. So I wear two main hats. My first is as a writer and researcher. And I’m interested in uncovering the principles of sustainable excellence, which I’m sure is a topic we’ll talk more about when we dive into the book. But in short, I feel that as feeling good and doing good in a way that works in service of your long term goals. And my other hat is a performance coach. So I work with individuals on the principles that I write about. my coaching practice tends to be dominated by entrepreneurs and physicians. So medical doctors, though I’ve also worked with a handful of athletes. And my coaching informs my writing and my writing informs my coaching.

Clint Murphy  02:10

So the first thing that jumps out at me there that’s interesting is doctors, why doctors?

Brad Stulberg  02:15

I have a couple of hypotheses as to why I think that first and foremost, physicians tend to be really interested in excellence. Right? It’s one of these age old crafts or practices where mastery knows no end, you can always get better in your clinical practice as a physician. The second is that starting at a really young age, oftentimes all the way back to high school, right taking like your AP chemistry classes to set you up for the pre med classes to set you up for med school to then set you up for residency and fellowship, you have to start really young just focusing in on science and medicine. So oftentimes, physicians aren’t getting exposure to principles from other schools of thought, such as psychology, philosophy that are really important for living a whole fulfilling life and for being good at their craft. Now, I’m not coaching them on clinical skill. I can’t tell a surgeon how to transplant a liver better. But what I can do is help that surgeon figure out where his practice sits in his broader life or her broader life, how to make it sustainable, how to deal with the emotional highs and lows, how to maintain a marriage while going all in as a transplant surgeon, these are really big questions that historically medicine just has overlooked.

Clint Murphy  03:31

Gotcha. And it ties into the first area of your book, The Practice of Groundedness that I want to talk to you about. Because early on, you talked about a subject that definitely resonates with me, which is heroic individualism, which is something I can say that I suffer from. So I will read a couple parts from your book that resonated and then we’ll, we’ll tackle that together. So what you said was “Top athletes, intellectuals and creatives have shared similar discontent. By conventional standards, they’re highly successful. But deep down they too often sense that something is not quite right, that something is missing. They feel unsettled and restless, fluctuating between aimlessness and angst. They know that always being on isn’t the answer, but they never feel quite right when they’re off. Many men describe it as a cumbersome need to be bulletproof. Invincible. Many women report feeling like they must be everything always, continually falling short of impossible expectations.”  So it’s a fairly long first question. Can we dive into why some of us are impacted by that in the way that we just described right there. And what are you hearing from your clients and what are you seeing?

Brad Stulberg  04:57

Well, I think that the first part of your question as to why we’re impacted like that, not everyone is wired like this, some people are very content to work a nine to five job, to do a good job at their nine to five job, and then to come home, and they can completely turn it off. And then they show up the next day. And I am very values neutral on this. I’m not that person. But sometimes I envy that person, I wish that I could do that. There is another bucket of people who have a temperament that is perhaps more forward looking. And they always want more, they want to be better, they want to do better, they want to achieve more, super curious, it’s never enough. And this is a really important quality. I mean, you said that you have it, I definitely have it.  Without this quality, we wouldn’t get innovation, no one would start companies, no one would write books. So it’s a gift for sure. But it’s also a curse. Because if we’re constantly pushing ahead, and if we’re constantly striving for more, well, then we miss out on the fulfillment and contentment with realizing what we’ve accomplished and what we have. And it’s not that I’m trying to argue that we ought to numb this gift or do away with it just that we ought to (a) have language for what it is so that we can then wrestle with it and ideally, situate it in a way where the striving, the pushing becomes sustainable and fulfilling. Versus like obsessive and angstful. Now, I think the second part of your question, what do I hear from clients, and why today is more than ever, we live in a world and this is not like revolutionary, this has been said by many others, where we can be pushing 24/7. And we can constantly be working towards our goals. And I think particularly with social media, absolutely something like a Twitter or Instagram, but even just with LinkedIn, right, your identity becomes your brand. And you can always be working on your brand. So suddenly, all of our lives, we can think of as like performance oriented. So I want my next job, I want to publish a book, I want to launch this podcast. Well, everything I do can work in service of that. And suddenly, we have no boundaries between work, and life. And again, this is a blessing and a curse, because it’s beautiful to care deeply about what you do, to find fulfillment in it to love it. The curse, is that the dark side of that is this obsession, this inability to ever turn it off, which we know in the long term leads to burnout.

Clint Murphy  07:27

Yes. And so you look at that. And it gets even worse when you’re you’re building your brand on all of these platforms. And you have real time feedback on whether you’re being successful or not. Did people like what I said, How did my follower account grow this week? Did people download the podcast? Did they read the newsletter? How many book sales do I have? So when you’re building a brand around what you work on, around what you do, and you start to mesh those worlds, the risk seems even the higher than any point in time.

Brad Stulberg  08:06

Yeah, I would agree. I think that for creators, and I know that you have so many creators in your audience, this is probably just an occupational hazard. And it doesn’t mean that we should just say to hell with it. We should acknowledge it, we should name it. And then we should try to figure out how we can work with it skillfully.

Clint Murphy  08:24

And that’s what we’re going to talk about today, which I love and why I messaged you, after reading it and saying I’m looking forward to the convo because getting where I am on my creaters journey. It’s never resonated with me more, Brad. So I’m really looking forward to this conversation.

Brad Stulberg  08:40

Well, you’re you know what the little that I know about you from following your content, which is great, by the way, is you’re kind of at this point now where you are getting feedback and you are growing. And it’s so enticing and like you’re starting to see these results. So there’s this inclination to double down and to go all in, which again, I’m values neutral. It’s not a good thing. It’s not a bad thing. It just is. But there are risks that come with that.

Clint Murphy  09:04

Yes. And I’m seeing those. And I’m starting to look at how I implement the practices that you’re talking about. And I started having conversations with people on certain ideas I had so reading them in the book, it made absolute sense, like a technology fast, which we’ll talk about when we when we get there. And so I’ll throw first three parter question at you because people say oh, the book, The Practice of Groundedness. So the first question they’re going to have is, well, what is groundedness? The second question is we talked about heroic individualism, how are we going to use groundedness to deal with that? And then the third part is sharing with people because what I loved about your approach, it’s similar to how I approach it in life is it’s tying aspects of ancient wisdom, whether it’s Buddhism, whether it’s stoicism, whether it’s other forms and tying them into by modern science from your research, and I do love that Buddhism, stoicism, they hold the test of time. And so that’s the three parter. Can you take people through that?

Brad Stulberg  10:15

I can. These are my three favorite things to talk about. So it’s a wonderful question.

Clint Murphy  10:20

Yeah, I’m aligned with you.

Brad Stulberg  10:22

Alright, so what is groundedness?  Groundedness is a robust foundation, from which passion, productivity and striving emerge and can be channeled. So you can be super ambitious. But without groundedness, without a foundation, that ambition is going to go this way, and that you’re going to feel completely pushed and pulled around by your life. And pretty quickly, it’ll start to feel frantic and frenetic. You’ll be restless, you’ll be anxious, you’ll be at risk for burnout. Groundedness is about taking all of this energy, making sure that you have a strong rock solid foundation and I’m going to talk more about this in a bit that you can build off of, and then channeling that energy. So the second thing, how can groundedness help with heroic individualism. So here I like using the metaphor of a mountain. And it’s why there’s a mountain on the cover of the book, right? So it works on two different levels. The first level is if you picture in your mind’s eye, a beautiful mountain, or if you’ve ever been out hiking in the mountains, or climbing, most people immediately look up and gaze at the mountains peak. And perhaps if the mountain is like really steep, they’ll notice the slope as well. But very rarely does someone come across a big mountain and fix their gaze on its base? Yeah, it’s the base of the mountain. That is what keeps it strong during all kinds of weather over time. So if a mountain doesn’t have a strong base, over time, the sediment breaks down, it degrades, there is no peak without a strong base. And we’re the same.  If we don’t have a strong foundation of daily habits, of daily practices, both physical and psychological. Whatever peak we think we’re reaching, it’s fragile. And when the wind comes, when the rain comes, which it always does in life, when those storms come, we’re gonna fall, we’re gonna crumble no different than a mountain. The second level of a mountain metaphor for groundedness, is I want you to imagine two different climbers, and the first climber is totally dialed in and focused on getting to the peak, they’re thinking of the selfies they’re going to take from the peak, they’re thinking of how they’re going to tell all their friends that they reached the peak, they’re telling themselves a story that if I just reached that peak, then I’ll be satisfied, then I’ll be content, then I’ll have self worth. The second climber, they want to get to the top of the mountain equally as bad, but they are extremely focused on where they are along the path. They’re taking these small consistent steps. And they’re even able to enjoy the view from the side of the mountain. Now, the research shows that both of these climbers have an equal chance of getting to the top of that mountain. But the second climber is more likely to have longevity in his or her career. Now, it’s not surprising. Why is that? Because the second climber they’re enjoying the process. And if you enjoy the process, it becomes a lot more sustainable. So it’s this two level metaphor, strong base to support the peak and even while we’re striving towards that peak, to be firmly situated where we are. Now this isn’t to say that if you’re not going to think about getting to the top, everyone is, right. But if you’re just fixated on getting to the top, (a) you probably won’t get there as quickly. And (b), even if you do, well, if you achieve your goal, you’re going to be like, well, crap, what’s next, I kind of feel the same as I did the day before. And if you don’t achieve your goal, then you’re going to be completely distraught. There’s this wonderful quote from the NBA basketball player, Ray Allen, arguably the best if not the second best shooter to ever play the game. And after he won his first championship, he said the next morning was one of the hardest days of his life, because he thought winning a championship would make him content and would change him. But he woke up and he realized that he was still restless, he was still hungry. And I think that is just the universal human condition. We’re never going to make that go away. So we better learn to enjoy the journey, the process, the climbing, because if not, well, then we’re not going to find enjoyment at the destination. So the third thing that you ask is this notion of ancient wisdom and modern science. And all of my work, especially if something’s going to make it into one of my books, it has to have all three legs of a stool. And if you think about a stool, you can sit on a stool with three legs, it’s firm, it’s sturdy, it’s robust, it’s going to hold you you can be confident in it. If a stool only has two legs, you can sit on it, but you might wobble, you might fall and then a stool with just one leg or zero legs. It’s useless. So the three legs of my stool are modern science, so what does the latest research say, what do empirical studies have to say. Ancient wisdom in history. So what patterns are prevalent across time and across different geographies. And then the third is daily practice. So when I coach individuals, when I go out and I report, the stuff can’t just be true in history books, or in spiritual text, it can’t just be true in the lab and the ivory tower, it has to work when the rubber meets the road. So for me to be confident in any of my principles, they’ve got to have all three legs of those stool.

Clint Murphy  15:28

Well, that’s genius. Writing that one down for my future book writing, I love that.

Brad Stulberg  15:33

Yeah, man. It’s the three legged stool, and it just is an author. It gives me so much confidence that like I’m approaching truth with a capital T. Because the worst thing that I could imagine is putting out a book and not actually being sure, like if what’s in there is capital T true. And especially when you’re writing about psychology and philosophy, it’s not like you can just do an experiment in a lab and like, you know, the cell either grows, or it doesn’t, it’s a lot more subjective. And the sciences are, quote, unquote, softer. So I get around this problem and make myself confident by bringing in all three legs of the stool. In that way, if I write about a principle, I can have a high degree of confidence that it will work for most people in most situations,

Clint Murphy  16:14

I love it. And the last guest, the podcast episode we just released, I had wrote a thread on learning based on some books I read. And some people in the learning community were upset at a few things in there. And so I ended up booking this guest and having a conversation and his book is about learning. And it’s based on modern science that can be or has been replicated. So it was all about, hey, look like there’s been studies done in the past, and they get quoted. But no one’s ever been able to replicate the work. So it shouldn’t be something that we all say, this is how you learn. This is how you do X. I love that approach. And when you were talking about Ray Allen, and you were talking about his realization, that he wasn’t happy after winning the championship, and whether it’s happiness, whether it’s content, contentment, you talk about the idea in the book, that happiness is reality minus expectations, which I think ties into that scenario with Ray Allen, can you tell people about that formula in what we’re looking to do in our groundedness practice, when we think of that formula?

Brad Stulberg  17:30

So the formula is just that, exactly what you said that our happiness, or even just our mood at any given moment, is a function of our reality. So what we’re experiencing versus our expectations. So if we have unrealistically high expectations, we’re never going to be happy, because our reality will always be worse than our expectations. You see this across the literature in a few interesting ways. One is that people from Finland and Denmark tend to score the highest over time and global surveys of happiness. And these countries tend to be dark, they have long winters, they’re freezing cold. So when researchers peel back the onion, what they find is that the key to their happiness in these cultures is actually that people just tend to have really low expectations. The other place that you find this in the research, is, if you are living in a neighborhood where the median income is $30,000. And everyone has $30,000, and you make $35,000, you’re going to be really happy. If you’re living in a neighborhood where everyone makes $200,000, and you only make $35,000, you’re not going to be as happy. Even though you like in raw numbers, you make more money. So we’re just constantly comparing ourselves to what’s around us.

Clint Murphy  18:54

And so this one, I’ve started labeling and I’m gonna start writing about it more on Twitter. I’ve started calling this one the Kardashian paradox. And I don’t say that because I have anything against the Kardashians, I absolutely you know, similar to you values neutral. What this family has done is absolutely astounding, the amount of wealth they’ve created and we could argue whether it’s one or two generations, however, you want to argue that it’s fabulous, what they’ve done. And what they’ve done is like no other person before them, created a level of comparison that’s in your face 24/7 and a level of comparison that you can never achieve. Not never, I mean, there’s people that will, but the vast majority of us 99.99999998% of us won’t achieve the level of wealth or opulence that the Kardashians have achieved. So always seeing it on Instagram, always seeing it on TV, always seeing it on Facebook, whatever it is. It creates that level of I’m unhappy with my life. And then you take that a step further, Brad, one could argue that for most of us, we’re at the best time in civilization we’ve ever been at. I think the book Factfulness goes through a number of areas and says, hey, look, life’s actually really good for most of us, yet people seem unhappier than they ever have, which seems to tie to this equation. Does that make sense and resonate for you? It does. I like the Kardashian effect. That’s a really nice way to coin it. The only thing that I would add to the Kardashian effect is that 99% of that stuff is airbrushed and performative anyways, so you’re not even comparing yourself to someone’s real life. Yes, even worse.

Brad Stulberg  20:46

Yeah. So it’s like a false bar. And I think this is a big problem with social media is most people tend to post the good things. And even when people post the bad things, it’s still kind of like thoughtful and staged, you know, no one posts like the blowout fight that they have with their good friend, or the argument with their significant other or when their kid is vomiting and their dogs having diarrhea and they snap, you know, those just don’t get posted. That’s a part of just about everyone’s life. And then to your second point, that is also very true. Globally, things like poverty and disease burden is way down. Things like literacy and the ability for people to go to school is way up. Yeah, we’re in a bubble, where we’re constantly seeing like negative news. And we have a negativity bias. So people want to click on negative stories, it can seem like things are really terrible. And at the same time, we’re being sold that we should all have this perfect life. So like, our reality is almost being deflated by what I’m going to call like consumer media. And our expectations are being elevated. I mean, it’s so crazy, Clint, if you just like think about watching a sporting event, or you know, some other TV show where there still aren’t commercials, you could watch a commercial for like detergent, or cat litter, and the people in it are always beautiful, and they’re always smiling. That has nothing to do with how good my cat litter or detergent is going to work. But what it’s doing is it’s like it’s trying to sell us this life that if you just get this product, then you too can be happy, beautiful and smiling. So it sets a really lofty expectation that’s out of sync with reality. So how does this relate to practicing groundedness? (A) it’s just realizing this being aware that so much out there is bullshit. And then (B) focusing on not lowering your expectations, right? This isn’t about like being Eor and Debbie downer, but trying to like just deprioritize the role of expectations altogether, just live your reality. I think the best way to be happy is not to have expectation,s to just be curious, because who knows, like this is the moment that we’re living. And this is obviously much, much easier said than done. But if you get rid of expectations, and you just have your reality, well, you’re gonna go through highs and lows, but you won’t be comparing them to this bar that is often falsely inflated.

Clint Murphy  23:02

So when we were talking about this formula, we’re talking about the acceptance portion of groundedness. And what you just talked about right there, I mean, that’s dsome of the central tenets of both stoicism and Buddhism, which are another area that you bring up in acceptance, which is if we want low expectations just don’t have them. And if we want to take it even further, be a stoic and premeditate on the worst outcomes. So that when we get home, we’re so happy to see our family because we premeditated on their death. And when you, something that’s always fascinated me about stoicism and Buddhism is the commonalities between the two. I always tend to look at stoicism personally as my active philosophy and Buddhism as my letting go philosophy and just being.  But the similarities between how the two overlap, and both coming into time at almost the exact same time, roughly 3000 years ago, it is somewhat where I’m thinking. So that’s one of the other areas of acceptance that I wanted to talk to you about if we can dive into that one. And the third one we can come I just want to remember it as a placeholder is you talked about ACT: Acceptance and Commitment Theory. So can we talk a bit about stoicism and Buddhism, and how we can use those to let go of our expectations and increase our groundedness? And then come back ot ACT?

Brad Stulberg  24:35

Yeah, for sure. So stoicism and Buddhism, exactly like what you said it’s fascinating. They evolved east and west, as far as we know, they evolved independently. So it’s not like Marcus Aurelius met the Buddha and then came back to Rome. He couldn’t travel that far in a lifetime back then, or vice versa. So again, back to that three legged stool like it makes me pretty confident that hey, if these two wisdom traditions evolved independently and have both stood the test of time? Well, there’s probably a lot that’s important about their teaching. And then you layer on the modern science. And you’re like, wow, yeah, this, this stuff is true. So negative visualization, I personally don’t do it, it goes a little bit too far for me, it’s really hard. It’s sad, I don’t like it. I know people that do it and it’s extremely powerful for them. Because like you said, it just makes them so grateful for what they have. What I do try to do is when I’m going through a particularly challenging time, especially with physical pain, I try to really feel into and remember what it’s like, so that when I’m out of it, I can just be grateful for my base state. So an example is, I had, well I have two examples from the last year and a half. One is I broke a rib. And it hurts so much, to try to sleep to get comfortable in bed or to cough or to sneeze and it was pretty bad for like two weeks, and then it gradually started getting better. But for a couple of months afterwards, every night when I was lying down, I just tried to like be grateful that I didn’t have a broken rib, that I could lie down without any pain. And to remember the joy of not having a broken rib. And the second thing is I got norovirus, which is just this awful like 48 to 72 hour mix of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, it’s the worst. Same thing. that was a terrible three days for me a physical distress. But I was so happy the three weeks after. I remember looking at my wife, she’s like, why are you in such a good mood, I’m like, cause I don’t have norovirus. Now, of course, what happens is these things wear off, and you forget how bad norovirus is or how uncomfortable a broken rib was. And I think a lot of the practice is to really try to remember, you know, mindfulness in Sanskrit is translated as remember, like, it’s about coming back to the present moment, remembering what it’s like. And then to the point about stoicism, the negative visualization, I think we can remember what it’s like when things aren’t so great, and just be grateful that things are at a baseline level of stability. And then the second thing both these practices teach us is to try to live in the present moment, right. And this is another principle of groundedness, we’ll probably get to it later. But in short for now, is, again, if we can situate ourselves in the present, if we’re not thinking about getting to the peak of the mountain, if we’re not comparing ourselves to other people that are at the peak of the mountain, if we’re not thinking back to our past, and being frustrated by what we might have done, or what might have gone wrong. We’re comparing ourselves to yesterday, if we were so much better yesterday, if we can just be in the present moment, then we just tend to feel a lot better. And we tend to do a lot better as well.

Clint Murphy  27:36

100% aligned on that, sorry, I lost my train of thought, because I was thinking as you were talking about the present moment about the RAIN practice. And I’ve already started to move my mind to RAIN practice and get excited about it. But before we get there, and before I take you there, can we go back to ACT and teach our listeners and then we’ll we’ll move forward to RAIN. And I’ll explain why I’m so excited about that one.

Brad Stulberg  28:01

So ACT is probably my favorite psychological tool and in school of thought. And it’s really simple to describe, and it can be hard to practice. So what ACT stands for, is Accept what’s happening, whether you like it or not, and then commit to living in alignment with your values anyways. So you can be feeling a certain way and it’s not about repressing that feeling, it’s not about white knuckling it. It’s about accepting that feeling, even if you don’t like it, and then going forward and committing to taking action with your core values anyways. Now, what’s fascinating what the research shows is that we think that we need to be really motivated to get going, but it’s actually the opposite. We need to get going to give ourselves a good chance at being motivated. So action doesn’t follow motivation, motivation follows action. And this is such a powerful unlock. So let’s give an example here, okay. All right. So if I just waited until I was motivated to write, I would probably write like six days a year, because I don’t feel too motivated to write. I know how hard book writing is. It’s tedious. It takes a lot of effort. It’s pretty grueling. But I also know that once I just get going, once I just start writing, I feel really good after and I build motivation to keep going. Same thing can happen with going to the gym with physical practice, oftentimes, people aren’t so motivated to exercise, but then once they start exercising, that motivation builds. So again, it’s such a key unlock for me. We think that we need to feel good and we need to feel motivated to get going. But often, we just need to get going to give ourselves a chance at feeling good.

Clint Murphy  29:45

And so the other thing this ties into is, is I write about this often someone will say well, I’m not a runner, or I’m not a writer and the true answer is well, you are a writer, you are a runner, you’re a writer if you write, you’re a runner if you run so just run, you’ll be a runner, just write, you’ll be a writer. And part of what we often talk about is just starting, whether it’s the two minute rule, whether it’s 30 minutes, you know, Sahil will say, 30 minutes a day for 30 day., I tend to use streaks, I say, hey, I’m going to do something for a year, I’m going to do it everyday for a year, everyday for two years. And then I realized, wait, I am a writer, or wow, I can run ultra marathons. And when I started this experiment, I could barely run around the block. So it’s that idea that instead of waiting for the motivation, just get up and do it.

Brad Stulberg  30:35

Yep, and listen, this stems from a fair amount of like clinical psychology at the extreme. So ACT is a gold standard treatment for people experiencing depression. Now, it’s not the only thing, right? You want to have a therapeutic relationship. And often many people benefit from medication as well. But when you’re in the throes of depression, the particular tool, its researchers called behavioral activation. And all that it means is that when your mind body system is telling you that life is meaningless, that nothing is worth doing, that you just want to stay in bed all day. The simple, but so hard for someone experiencing depression work is to accept those feelings, not to repress them, because they’ll just get stronger to be like, man, like, these feelings suck, it is hard to be a human right now. And then force yourself to get going, to just do something, unload the dishwasher, go to the store, go on a walk around the block, call a friend. And as someone that’s experienced depression, when you’re in a dark depression, all that stuff feels so hard. But if you can just kind of force yourself because that’s what it feels like to do it, you give your mood a chance to gradually start to lift. And again, for those that want to look at the literature on this, this theory is called behavioral activation. It’s a key component of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

Clint Murphy  31:57

And absolutely, as another person who’s been in that boat, you’re talking about that feeling you said, of just wanting to pull the blankets over your head and saying, I’m not even gonna get out of bed. I mean, that in my history, that’s usually when I know, hey, wait a second, something’s not going right. It’s time to get on top of this and may have been at times in my past, where I may have opted to think I could just wean myself off the medication I was taking myself and then nope, that didn’t. That’s not working so well.

Brad Stulberg  32:26

Yeah. And I want to be clear, because it’s really important, right? This isn’t like a magic hack or anything. It is part of a toolkit for treating depression, that also includes therapy and medication. And that’s really important. And as someone that might be listening, that’s just experienced depression for the first time, I get if you don’t believe me, and you’re like, well, this guy doesn’t understand, it’s not that easy, blah, blah, blah. But as someone that has been through like two pretty bad depressions, I can tell you that over time, just really pay attention to like the power of just forcing yourself to do something, even if you need to be supported by medication in order to do it. Because now what will happen, and I’m pretty convinced it’s one of the reasons why I can manage like depression, is that like you, I’ll start to have those thoughts and feelings, but I won’t take them seriously. They still suck, but I know exactly what you said. I’m like, oh, my brain is telling me that life is meaningless, I should just stay in bed all day. This is a depressive thought. I’m going to go for a run. I’m going to call a friend. I’m going to pick out a task that I need to do and just force myself to do it. And odds are that feeling will lift whereas the first time I experienced depression, I believed it and I stayed in bed and then it just compounds on itself.

Clint Murphy  32:26

Yeah, aligned with all of those. The first time that I was diagnosed was 04. So we’re talking almost 20 years now. And once I started on medication, I’ve been on that medication that whole time. And I started practicing stoicism, cognitive behavioral therapy, Buddhism, being more active. It’s a toolkit, or it’s a piece of the toolkit, went through therapy, did shadow work, did psychoanalysis. You just keep stacking up your toolkit, and when we talk about getting ahead in life we’ll often talk about your skills that you’re adding to your skill stack. You can also have your depression stack, your anxiety stack. If I know I suffer from and you have challenges that you deal with, I have challenges that I deal with. ADHD, depression, what’s my depression stack? What’s my ADHD stack? What does the research say can help me with that? I’m going to build that stack up, whether it’s medical, whether it’s therapy, whether it’s behavioral activation, whether it’s CBT, whether it’s ACT, just what can I add to my toolkit, or to my skill stack so that I can deal with that appropriately.

Brad Stulberg  35:15

I love it. I mean, I think that having a robust toolkit for the things that have the biggest impact on your life, both good and bad, is so important. And then also having self compassion, right. That’s another big part of acceptance. I tell the parable in the book of the arrow hitting you twice. Yeah, I love this. So the first arrow is something that you didn’t ask for and you can’t control. So it can be something external, you signed up for your first triathlon and you get a flat tire. Or you are really excited as an entrepreneur to launch your business and then the market goes to shit and there’s no capital funding. It can also be something internal, depression, anxiety, these things are like the perfect storm of environment in biology. Nobody chooses to experience true depression, right? You can’t control it. So you can’t control the first arrow. But what you can control is the second arrow. And the second arrow is all of the value judgment, repression, delusion, anger at ourselves, that we put on top of the first arrow. I shouldn’t be feeling so depressed, I have everything. Why should I be feeling this way, I must be a weak person, I must be a bad person, my startup ought to be doing better. This must be my fault. I can’t believe that the tire, flatted out, this can’t really be happening. All those, those are second arrows and what this parable teaches is its often the second arrow that hurts worse than the first arrow. And if we can just have the first arrow hit us, have a moment of self compassion to be like, well, this sucks, sucks that I’m feeling this way, sucks that this happened. What can I do about it that’s productive, that short circuits so much additional pain and suffering.

Clint Murphy  36:58

And what I love about it is you talk about your three stools. And my understanding is when it comes to handling depression, when it comes to handling certain other aspects of mental health. CBT is one of the most replicable areas of psychology that people say no, this works, in all of our studies, it works. And CBT is founded on stoicism. So the two arrows CBT what happens happens, what we think is what matters to us. So how do we fix that thought so it’s beautiful that ancient wisdom translates into the most replicable psychological tool that we actually have available to us.

Brad Stulberg  37:48

Yep. And then to like, even get the chills down your and listeners minds that like to nerd out about this stuff even more, the B part of CBT, behavior. That’s where Acceptance and Commitment and behavioral activation comes in. And that traces itself directly back to Buddhism, right? Because sometimes you can change your cognition and stoicism can help. But sometimes your thoughts get so far away from you that it’s impossible to change how you think. And if you try, your negative thinking is just gonna get worse. But then you can just start taking action. So you can say, you know what, I keep having this thought that I suck, or the world is meaningless, and that’s fine. But I’m still going to show up and do the thing that I had set out to do today. That’s Acceptance and Commitment. That’s behavioral activation in Buddhism, right? Meditation, it’s all about just seeing thoughts as thoughts and not taking them seriously. So you have these two traditions.  Back to your tools. One tool is about if you’re in a situation where you have the power to change how you think about something, that’s so powerful. The other tool is that if you try that, and the thinking still cascades in a negative direction, you just say, all right, thoughts are just thoughts, I’m not going to take these seriously. I’m going to show up and act.

Clint Murphy  38:57

Yes. That’s beautiful.

Brad Stulberg  38:59

And like to me, that’s it like that’s the therapeutic toolkit in a nutshell.

Clint Murphy  39:02

Yeah, I will try to change it.

Brad Stulberg  39:04

And then wisdom is knowing which to do one, right? Or like being able to tell yourself like, oh, like, it’s not as simple as changing my Outlook, like, my brain is not letting me do that. But I don’t have to take these thoughts seriously, I can just show up and act, and then the thoughts will take care of themselves.

Clint Murphy  39:19

It’s like a version of a serenity prayer. Right? I’m gonna try this. And if this doesn’t work, then I’m just gonna do this. Right. And I need to recognize when it’s which one and act accordingly.

Brad Stulberg  39:30

Yep, the way that I like to think about it, Clint, again, is and I’m so glad that you’re being vulnerable, and that we can do this together as someone that has had a fair share of like, anxiety depression, is there are thoughts that are productive? Yeah. And then there are thoughts that are not and I don’t pay attention to unproductive thoughts, and I do pay attention to productive thoughts. And I think our life’s work is people with like supercharged brains that spew up all kinds of thoughts good and bad, is to learn which ones to take seriously and which ones to let go.

Clint Murphy  39:59

Brad, I don’t know if you’ve ever read the book Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy. And I don’t necessarily even know whether scientifically it’s the right one. All I know is I read that book when I was at a junction in my life, and it was teaching you the concepts of CBT. And it changed my life. It absolutely put me in a different direction. And I wrote a thread about it yesterday, was I learned to a simple shift. My mind doesn’t control me, I control my mind. And that, for people who don’t have an overactive mind, and which can come with ADHD, it can come with most of the a lot of us. I have two boys, one of them definitely has that, one of them’s like, no.  I’m like, what’s going on in your head? He’s like, nothing. It’s just, and I was like what you talking about? Like, how is that possible? He’s like, no, no, like, not thinking anything. And but if you are, it just teaches you that tool to do that and to switch, which is controlling which. And so that the next area I wanted to flip to with you, is RAIN, and I just finished or this month, finishing a two year teacher certification in mindfulness and meditation and RAIN is one of the central elements of that. Being recognize, allow, investigate. And then on the end, we can talk about whether it’s shifting, because I think the Ns shifted three times in your book, I think you say note or non identification in our teaching, they may have been changing that N to nurture. And so you’ve got but the three, the first three steps and because RAIN, to me is a way that people can take what we’ve been talking about, and say, well, how do I practice that? Yeah, how do I make it real in my daily life with a simple meditation? Or a simple practice?

Brad Stulberg  41:44

Yeah, so I think of RAIN as the bridge between the parable, the story of the second arrow, and then actually learning how to not let the second arrow hit you. So the R-Recognize is, oh, man, like this situation is happening and I don’t like it. Or I’m already judging myself, right? Like, My mind has gotten away from you. My feelings have gotten away from me. The A is Accept, don’t repress it. There’s this famous study where people were told to try really hard for 30 seconds not to think of a white bear. And guess what happened? They all thought about a white bear. Like, the more that you try to push a thought or feeling away, the stronger it becomes. So accept it’s happening, don’t fight it. This is happening. This sucks. The I, like you said, is Investigate so investigate can mean where am I feeling this in my body? When did this thought happen? What is this thought? Like what is the thought, right? It’s just a mental image. And what investigate allows you to do, this is so important, Clint.  It allows you to create space between you and your experience or your awareness of an experience in the experience. And then in that space, you can not identify, non-attach, or choose to nurture, which is saying, okay, I’m not going to continue down this path, or I’m going to take some sort of action that separate from this negative thought, or this negative feeling, or I’m going to address this unanticipated circumstance in as productive of a way as I can. What actually I found works for me even better, and I believe this is in the same chapter of the book and then also on the back half of the book is something that I learned from my therapist, Brooke, and man, it was, I don’t know, when I was first diagnosed with my mental health challenges. I was so judgmental towards myself, because I like I had this great life. I’m an entrepreneur, I’m married, my marriage is good, I have a beautiful wife. We’re going to have a young kid, like I shouldn’t be feeling this way. It’s what I kept telling myself like, this shouldn’t be happening. I shouldn’t be feeling this way. And Brooke said, stop shoulding all over yourself. Just change that self talk to I don’t want to be feeling this way. I wish I wasn’t feeling this way. And I didn’t believe her. I’m like, there’s no way a simple change in language can make that big of a difference. But man has that helped me. Because our language shapes reality. And, it’s a wonderful cue to recognize when you’re being really hard on yourself, and you don’t need to be. So now it’s something that’s a huge practice in my own life and something I work with on all my coaching clients is like, don’t should all over yourself.

Clint Murphy  44:12

Yeah, it’s some of the ones that jump out there. And when I was in, working in men’s work, we would say to a lot of the young guys, don’t should yourself. I like the way she described it, shoulding all over yourself. Don’t use the word need, have to, I need to do this, I have to do this. Change shouldn’t need and have to, I choose to do this, I get to do this, I’m lucky to do this. And when we change that subtle language shift, part of what we’re doing, we’re moving from the world is acting against me to I am acting for me. I choose to do this. I get to do this. Now it’s my choice. So we’re putting that control of the situation into our hands mentally, and just shifting that angle.

Brad Stulberg  45:07

Exactly. And I think that sometimes, too, if you can’t, like change that top track, then maybe it’s not the right thing for you to do. You know, you don’t have to do any of everything. So when people want to take on behavior change, and they said, well, I should exercise or I should eat better. I say, well, do you want to? And if the answer is no, then it’s probably not the right time to make that change. First, like you have to learn to want to.  You have to understand the benefits of one of these things.

Clint Murphy  45:31

Ah, there’s so many things to dive into Brad, I could talk to you for days. Because anything you want to achieve in life, it comes down to that first step, do you want it? So there’s so many things, like, people get mad when I write those: Do these 12 habits, and you’ll be unrecognizable in six months.  And then they’re like, well, no one can do all 12 of these. And it’s like, well, if you wanted to, you could and you don’t have to.  Pick the one that resonates with you. do that, pick two of them, three, whatever, like, no, you don’t have to do anything. But what do you want. And if you don’t want to, it’s fine. Where you start to have the challenge with someone you’re coaching or someone you’re working with, or someone you’re talking to, where you start to have the challenge is, they may say I want it, but deep down, they don’t really want to. And if you don’t, you’re not going to do the work you need to do to get there. And then they’re upset when they don’t get the results.

Brad Stulberg  46:24

Yep. And then they judge themselves. So it’s like this vicious cycle, and then they start shoulding on themselves. And I think that is such an astute observation. And I would just come back to that non judgement at the start. So you know, you have these 12 habits to be unrecognizable.  Well, maybe someone doesn’t want to do all 12. And I would push back a little bit. Maybe someone has two kids under four years old and a parent with cancer. And there’s just no way that they can truly make all these changes. But then it’s on that person to be like, oh, like now’s not the time. Or let me just pick one of these things that I want to do and then I’m able to do. And I think that that’s so important, instead of lying to oneself and being like, you know, I got to do all these things.  Back to I got to, I have to, I need to.  No you don’t, at least not right now. And I’m with you, man, that is such an important reframe. And it’s an important question to ask yourself, and then you end up not wasting time on stuff that you don’t really want.

Clint Murphy  47:24

Yes, and if you have the power, because a lot of times what someone may do is they may look at it and say, well, no one could do that list of 12. So I’m not going to do any.

Brad Stulberg  47:34

Yeah, and let’s actually make this like really concrete, because I’m going through this example in my own life. So I recently started an Instagram page. And this is one of the things that I’ve changed my mind on most in the last two years. I was like I was very publicly outspoken against Instagram as a platform, I still think what it does for young people, especially young ladies who are developing their body image and their sense of confidence at a time when everything is airbrushed. It’s really bad. But for adults, I actually just got on there two months ago, and I really like Instagram, probably like it more than Twitter, which is my primary platform. So I’m building an Instagram platform. And everyone including myself is saying I should do reels. But I don’t really like reels. I don’t love talking to the camera, I’d rather write, I’m a writer, I love art, I’d rather work with an artist or try to create my own infographic. I don’t like reels, but I kept telling myself I should do rees, I should do rails. And eventually it took my own medicine, I’m like, I don’t want to do reels, what I do want to do is I want to grow, right. So part of the reason do reels is reels reach new people. So now I have this cost benefit, which is hey, I’m going to do the bare minimum of reels that I think might help me grow, but no more. And if it doesn’t help me grow, and I get data that says that, I’m going to leave it behind. And I don’t care what anyone says I should do, because I don’t want to do those things. And then I’m going to double down on the things that I do want to do. So that to me is like a little microcosm. And obviously that’s one example that I’m working through. But that’s how this kind of thinking can play out.

Clint Murphy  48:59

And the interesting part is if you add that piece in, so you say okay, I’ll do it for these reasons. The other benefit you then have is that can then be repurposed. Now we’re going to see Brad’s Tiktok channel, and that’s taking it to a…

Brad Stulberg  49:21

I don’t know about that. But maybe.

Clint Murphy  49:23

Because if you have reels it

Brad Stulberg  49:24

Yep, it doesn’t go to waste. Like it’s grist for the mill. You just use the material. Exactly.

Clint Murphy  49:29

YouTube shorts and back to Twitter, because they’re about to start prioritizing video,

Brad Stulberg  49:33

Right, someone I look up to, and then we can hop back into the actual conversation. But I know we’re both in this world of creators and you probably have a lot that listen to the podcast, someone who I really look up to and I think who does this masterfully as well as so many other things is Ryan Holiday. He’s like to me like the pro at this because he creates good information. And then he leverages the crap out of it and uses it everywhere, but in a way that’s like not too marketing or salesy.

Clint Murphy  49:59

Yeah. And he and I think he does it really, really well. And it’s helped a lot of people. The interesting part because it’s a bit different than what you’re doing is 95% of what he does is curation, not creation. It’s only about 5% of curation, because 95% of it is Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epictetus, and I’m gonna repurpose them. And I’m gonna say, here’s their quote, here’s my take on it. And he’s gotten very good at his takes on it, but he’s grown through becoming the Stoicism Guy. Yeah, it’s served him masterfully. Yeah, fully aligned. The Daily stoic Journal, The Daily Stoic, Boolean.

Brad Stulberg  50:40

But it gets back. Oh, man, there’s so many times, but it gets back to that expectations minus reality. And Ryan’s a good friend. I really like Ryan. And sometimes I’ll catch myself, I’ll be like, Well, why don’t have as many followers as Ryan. And then I have to remind myself, well, Ryan’s kind of playing a different game, because like you said, Ryan is really like he’s curating. And he is the best maybe like the best in the world at curating stoicism right now. But curating is different than trying to create new frameworks and new ideas and where one spends their time and energy is different. So it’s kind of like the wrong comparison point, or it’s the wrong expectation. And even if we were doing the exact same thing, it would be like, it’s like comparing yourself to Lebron James. Well, you’re never gonna be happy with your basketball, if you compare yourself to Lebron James. So it’s about saying, like, hey, what can I learn from this person? What do I admire about them? But then just getting back to being in the present moment and living your reality? Not someone else’s.

Clint Murphy  51:35

Yes. And then the one piece to add to that, Brad is, is a lot of people will use the question, what am I optimizing for? So what he’s optimizing for is different than what you’re optimizing for. And so his path to get there is different than your path. And an example, just to mind blow you a little is, when you’ve got a few minutes tomorrow, go check out Dr. Nicole Lapera on Twitter, the holistic psychologist, the fastest growing account you’ll ever see, like 150,000 new followers a month, it’s mind boggling. And it’s transferring what she’s done on other platforms. And it’s what she writes about, the audience that’s available for it. What I write about, or what you write about, tend to be 2% of people at most, what she writes about, is roughly 100% of people. And so your audience and who you’re reaching out to and who Ryan’s hitting is different than who you and I are writing to.

Brad Stulberg  52:38

Correct. And the biggest thing to keep in mind as you work on your path as a creator is and I tweeted this the other day, you think that you’re capturing an audience. But if you’re not disciplined, an audience captures you. And this is the temptation to start writing these threads like you’re doing, like I do, and they do really well. And then suddenly, they’re doing really well with a subset of people. Well, now you start writing just for that subset. And then you get more feedback from that subset. And then pretty soon, you’re kind of in a bubble. And now that bubble owns you. And then if you try to think outside that box, or you say something that might offend people in that bubble, or at the very least, might not resonate with them, well, then it doesn’t do well. So what do you do, you go back to that bubble. And it is so important as a creator trying to grow on social media right now, to keep that in mind, you want to capture an audience, but you don’t want an audience to capture you. And I think you see this sometimes with people that start out doing like really good personal development, evidence based, thoughtful, nuanced content. And then over time, they move in the direction of Andrew Tate, which is like the total opposite of that, but it’s because they’re getting such good feedback from an audience that’s eating their stuff up. So they gravitate towards that audience. And I think we’re all going to face these points as public creators, where we have to say, hey, our goal is to get our message out. And we genuinely believe our work will help people. And we want to do whatever we can to get that message out within some like ethical or values based boundaries, because I could grow my account more but I wouldn’t be living in alignment with my values. So it gets back to that like what’s your expectation and like you said, what game are you playing? You say like, what are you optimizing for, I like to think of is what game are you playing. And Tim the other day when he was talking with James clear, said Tim Ferriss podcast with James Clear, he said the other taking it a step further, because you talked about thoughts become actions, actions become behaviors. What will happen with a lot of these creators is not only does their content become narrower and narrower. Day in their lives become narrower and narrower, so you become a shadow of yourself. And so, the best way to do that is to divorce yourself from the platform, create, have someone on your team who distributes, engages, does that in all you do is create from a place of your values and your purpose. And then someone else has whether it grows or not. There are ways you can handle that. But don’t pigeonhole yourself as, oh, I am getting narrower and narrower, and I don’t like it.  And when people are doing this well, ask yourself, like, what are they doingvwell, and why do you respect them? So James is another person that I’ve gotten to know. And what I admire most about James is that James, like blew up relatively quickly on the internet, and he didn’t lose his mind. And a lot of people that blow up on the internet quickly, they lose their mind on the internet, they start gravitating towards either extreme right or extreme left views and suddenly, like, they’re more of like a political extremist than they are a subject matter expert on the thing they write about. James is the same James Clear that started his newsletter with 30,000 people seven years ago. And that’s really hard to do. And more than Atomic Habits, more than his work. I respect James for that.  Yeah, it’s beautiful.  Also not to like just nerd out on James and we’re supposed to be talking about my book, but James is just a good dude. Like, and I say that because again, a lot of times you get these people that have astronomic growth, and it changes them. And my experience with James is that he’s just a good dude. He’s the same dude. He was.

Clint Murphy  56:20

Yeah. And that came across in the interview that in that he was also very methodical in how he approached the book to get to where it did, because you not to pick on in the book, but when I write about habits, I’m writing about what I’ve learned from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People or life, and people are like, oh, like, you’re talking about Atomic Habits. And I’m like, No, who like, this is all the research that’s been on habits forever. But his word choices and the way he phrases things, that is an art that very few people have. Every decision you make is a vote for the person you want to become. That’s just taking something that’s hey, how you behave is who you’ll be, like the quote behind me on the wall. That is him repurposing this Aristotle quote, and some people say, that’s not Aristotle, but we are what we repeatedly do. So he just repurposes and uses language in a way that’s just masterful. But yes, let’s flip in the angle because we’ve only covered awareness. And there’s so much more to talk about. So let’s talk a bit about presence. And with presence, one of the biggest things that hits us is this constant distraction. We’ve been talking a little bit about that. So we don’t have to hit that too hard, social media, the news commercials, advertisements.  We’re bombarded one of my past guests called it “pitch slapped” and, that’s resonated with me and will forever. The other is this idea you talk about less candy, more nourishment. And then maybe just we’ll hit on that and then dive into well, how do we deal with this? Because you’ve got ideas like the importance of boundaries, saying no, and realizing that when we do say yes, we’re saying no to something else, attention vampires, and changing from this idea of productivity to productive activity, which really resonated. So maybe hand it over to you and tackle that and in whatever way you want to tackle that, Brad.

Brad Stulberg  58:15

Alright, so let’s start with the brown rice verus candy.  Probably the metaphor from this chapter that resonates most with with readers. So you’re rushed and you’re hungry. And in front of you, you’ve got a bowl of peanut m&ms or a bowl of brown rice. 99.99% of people eat the peanut m&ms. And you know what, they taste great, and it feels really good. Eat peanut m&ms for 10 minutes. This is great. But if you eat peanut m&ms for an hour, or a day, or a week or a month, you start to feel like crap, you start to feel sick. Whereas brown rice, this first few bites don’t taste as good. But if Brown Rice is a staple of your diet, you actually feel really good. It’s nourishing. Well, I think this is true for all the activities in our lives. So we have these different kinds of activities, going on social media, and engaging in like a divisive, controversial topic. Peanut m&ms, you get this rush of dopamine and adrenaline and you feel like you’re doing something and it feels really good. Sitting down and actually creating something new on a blank page, brown rice, it’s really hard. First bite doesn’t take as good. But if you spend a whole day is a keyboard warrior and social media or a whole day writing or doing a podcast or building a business or creating well, you feel better at night after the latter. So I think for all the things in our life, we can kind of bucket them like is this candy? Is this peanut m&ms? Or is this brown rice? And I believe there’s a time and a place for peanut m&ms, like if you’re not a type two diabetic and you can enjoy them responsibly. Yeah, it’s like drinking. If you’re someone that doesn’t suffer from substance use disorder. There’s nothing wrong with having a beer. Problem is when you have a beer and it turns to six beers and then you don’t eat your brown rice. So let’s identify what the peanut m&ms are. Let’s make sure that we’re using them very, very moderately, and not at the expense of brown rice. Now, what makes this really hard is for a lot of people, checking, the habit of checking, checking Twitter, checking Instagram, checking your email, checking to see how your stocks are performing. That’s peanut m&ms.  You’re not actually creating, you’re not doing anything of value. But we carry these devices in our pockets that allow us to constantly check. So imagine if you were walking around with an open bag of peanut m&ms in your pocket 24/7, you’d be gorging on peanut m&ms, you’d become so unhealthy and sick, yet we walk around with an open bag of peanut m&ms in our pocket –  our smartphones. So the second part of this metaphor is like if you want to stop eating junk food, you don’t have junk food in your house, and you don’t have it in your pocket. So how can we design our environments in a way where we remove those temptations, and we make it easier to do the deep focus meaningful work? It is harder to do at first, but leaves us feeling so much more fulfilled after.

Clint Murphy  1:01:01

Absolutely. And so that’s where you highlight boundaries, say no more. Can you talk through, let’s pick two of the ways that really have high impact from what you’ve seen in this productivity versus productive activity? That’s probably one a lot of people haven’t heard of. Maybe we dive into that first.

Brad Stulberg  1:01:25

Yeah, so let’s dive in there real quick. So there’s productivity, which I define is like just doing stuff or in the book, there’s nothing wrong with productivity, productivity is great. And like, I think the anti productivity people, I don’t really know what they’re talking about. So like, let’s actually be really clear, it’s rote productivity. So just doing stuff for the sake of doing stuff, just checking boxes off your list, but you’re not even really aware why you’re checking the boxes that you are, versus productive activity, which is engaging in activities that are meaningful, that are actually going to move the ball down the field on the stuff that you care about. Those are two very different things. And often what happens is productivity falls into the m&ms, right, we get this dopamine surge from accomplishing something, we feel really good, but it’s kind of superficial and shallow stuff. Whereas productive activity, that’s the more meaningfu, the richer stuff. So I like to separate those two things. And I like to kind of ask myself, like, hey, is this just my restlessness, and my desire to quote unquote, get things done manifesting and rote oductivity? Or is this actually productive activity. And then the second little heuristic tool that I really like, is just this notion of creating physical boundaries, even if you work from home. So I often will have clients that like, cannot step away from the brown, or excuse me, I wish they couldn’t step away from the brown rice from the peanut m&ms in their life. Every night at like, seven, I’ll have them give their computer and their phone to their significant other and have that person hide it and not give it back to them until some agreed upon time. So it’s literally like taking the peanut m&ms and moving them out of the house. And I find that willpower is really, really shitty, like, it just doesn’t work. The devices are too strong, their pull is too strong. I mean, I freaking write about this stuff, sold hundreds of thousands of books on this stuff. And you know, every Saturday morning, I give my wife, my computer and my phone, and I say hide, this, under no circumstance, tell me where it is. And give it back to me Sunday at 9am. And the reason I do that is because I want to have one day where I’m offline. But I don’t have the willpower not to check and even if I hide it, even if I go put it in the most unconvenient place to get it. Guess what, I’ll probably get it. And I don’t think I’m like a terrible technology addict. I think most people would. And it’s not that we’re weak, or we don’t have willpower. It’s simply that these devices have such an extreme pull. And the only way that I found that really works for most people to overcome it is to physically remove them.

Clint Murphy  1:03:59

Yeah. And I may have mentioned to you I can’t recall, my wife on Christmas Day said the gift she wanted was she told me give her my phone. And throughout the day, it was two things. One, it was terrifying. And it was physically uncomfortable. And it was so calming, and grounding and positive. It was definitely like I’ve got to do this more often.

Brad Stulberg  1:04:29

Bingo. So that is everybody’s experience. When you first do this, you feel worse. Because you’re restless, you’re anxious. You’re checking, you’re wondering what’s happening. You’re thinking like, oh man, like I should be responding to emails or I should be posting my content, whatever it is, but eventually you settle in and you start to feel really good. And if you can just get through those initial few hours of like reaching for your phone even though it’s not in your pocket. Well then suddenly, like you said, you feel really grounded. Your day opens up. Now my guess is you still have moments where you’re like, oh, I gotta like get my phone. But then back to RAIN or back to acceptance and commitment, you can accept those urges, you can investigate them. And then you say, oh, like, this is an urge, of course it is, these devices are powerful. And I’m going to get back to focusing on my family or whatever it is that’s in front of me.

Clint Murphy  1:05:19

The other thing it does, it did for me, and so I’ll ask if it did for you, is because it reminds me a little of when we’re trying to deepen our mindfulness practice or our meditation practice, we go away for a silent retreat as an example for a week. And now Buddha, or someone who’s much more enlightened than I am, would say, Hey, you don’t need to go anywhere. You just need to do. And at the same time, everyone says, well, when I do go away, I come back, and I’m much better for the next six months, I found the next two weeks after that, and which is roughly right now, I had less desire to check. So it was still there. I was still doing it, but the desire goes lower and lower. So I’m wondering if I fast every week, once a day, and after two months, the desire won’t be gone. But will it be more diminished?

Brad Stulberg  1:06:09

I don’t know. Man, I’d like to think so. I’m on that same path as you. So my, my big resolution for 2023 is a digital Sabbath. So like I said, from Saturday morning to Sunday morning, every week, I’m completely offline. And now I’m going to preempt what some listeners might say, you’ve got young kids as well. Well, my wife is like, what if there’s an emergency? Or if you’re driving Theo to his baseball game, and I’m with Lila, and I need to get a hold of you. How can I do that? And the answer is simple. You get a burner phone. So I bought this $120 Flip phone that has nothing but cellular on it, has a separate phone number. And that’s my digital Sabbath phone, and only my wife knows it. And that way, also, if I want to connect with my brother or a really close friend, the goal isn’t not to connect with people. It’s not like an Orthodox Jewish Sabbath, where I’m like, for, you know, spiritual or religious reasons totally offline. I just want to work on my addiction to digital devices. So I can still call people and have deep conversations, but I can’t be checking. And I’m really, really looking forward to it. And I’ve already found like in those first couple of Sabbaths, I was like you, pretty restless in the morning. But each time life opened up more swiftly. And suddenly, it’s 11am. And I’m like playing one on one basketball with my son. I’m not thinking about checking my Twitter. I am like taking a nap, not thinking about like answering emails instead. And you know, the world didn’t stop. And even if there’s some cost to that, you know, you’re focused on quote unquote, hyper growth or your business, I’d argue with the long term benefit outweighs the cost. Because like you said, you come back refreshed. Your marriage probably has a better chance of like working out as an entrepreneur, if you create that sacred time and space. Like there’s all these benefits that we don’t see. So if you’re a transplant surgeon, you probably can’t turn your phone off. But the rest of us we probably can for a day a week.

Clint Murphy  1:08:02

That makes sense. It’s on the to do list to join you on that journey.

Brad Stulberg  1:08:06

Yeah, I’d be curious how it goes  and listen, like, you know, there are like, you can schedule a tweet, like if you really feel the need to be online, then schedule something for during that time period. But yeah, we’ll see how it goes. We’ll see what I have to say at the end of the year. But I’m pretty high on this. And I’m not like a huge resolution person. So this is kind of new for me to like really be excited about something and be pretty confident and have already seen results, that it will make me feel better and prove my relationships to the people I care about most and actually help my performance.

Clint Murphy  1:08:36

And my realization, Brad after doing a one week silent meditation retreat was I need to do this every year. Unfortunately, I did it January 2020. And COVID came around the corner and not many places were opening their door to have 30 or 50 people jump in for a silent meditation. But now that things are opening back up, I intend to restart that plan. And so yeah, I’ll figure out during that week, how do I schedule things so that the wheels don’t fall off. But when you come back from that, it’s just a totally different human being that comes back from who went. it’s just wonderful.

Brad Stulberg  1:09:15

I’ll be really curious, we should talk after I’d be curious now that you’ve developed this platform, and it’s growing. If you find it harder to like, get into the kind of mindful present zone on retreat. Or if because you’ve already done it, you can groove in almost more quickly and you’re like, Oh, this is so nice to just put all that stuff down.

Clint Murphy  1:09:33

The first day will be hellish. And then you’ll slide in. Well, we’ll see. I’ll let you know. So that takes us. Let’s jump to the idea of the third practice of groundedness being patience.  So two things that jumped out at me when I was reading that are some things that I use in my life that I talk to people about and then I’ll throw it up to over to you and we can chop it up on this one is small changes plus consistency plus time equal exponential results. So that tends to be how I live my life I, I act as if I’m, you know, hockey is my sport. So I act as if I’m a third line winger. And I just get out every shift and I grind and do my job and get off the ice and, and play every night. And the second is, when in doubt, zoom out, is something I throw at a lot of people, and you have your own that you share on hey, here’s some practices that we can use to increase our patient can we tackle that together.

Brad Stulberg  1:10:31

So we’re kindred spirits in this practice, for sure. I’m on the same page as you consistency compounds in anything, and it’s better to be consistent and stay on the path, then try to be super intense, and fall off the path because you get injured, you get sick, you burnout. So some practices to actually help make these concepts reality. One that I find really powerful is this notion of stopping one rep short, and I steal this from athletic training. So unlike common wisdom in the bodybuilding, you know, bro magazines, you actually don’t really want to train to failure, very frequently, if ever, if you’re a serious athlete, you want to stop one to two reps before failure. Why? Because then you can come back the next day, and train again, if you train to failure, it takes your muscles more time to recover. It takes more psychological discipline to go to the well, every single day. Very few people can do this. Very few physical bodies can tolerate that load.  Almost none without the help of performance enhancing drugs. Take this out of athletics and apply it to all our pursuits, there is a time and a place to go to the well to pull the all nighter, to write for eight hours straight, to record the marathon day of four podcasts before your retreat so you can schedule them whatever it is. But the exception proves the rule, we should probably only go to the well like that a few times a year at most. Because those efforts take a long time to recover from, they take a big toll on us mentally and physically. Whereas if we can just stop a little bit short, then we can pick up in a rhythm the next day, and we can build that consistency that over time leads to this huge result. So in my own life, I face this all the time in writing, I find that if I can stop for the day, while I still have good juice, I pick up the next morning in a rhythm. Whereas when I forced myself to like completely leave it out there, I come back the next day and I really struggle to get back into the flow. No different than a runner, who completely buries themselves and then tries to do a good workout the next day, they’re not going to be able to. So it’s this notion of stopping one rep short, stop one meeting short, stop one sentence short stop 10 minute short, just be really cognizant of when you’re approaching your threshold, your line, pick your spots when you’re going to cross it, but the rest of the time stay just a little bit below it. And then over time, again, you string together all these consistent efforts, that line goes way up, you build capacity for whatever you’re doing. The way that I like to say it –  small steps taken regularly compound for big gains. The second practice around this is this notion of being really intentional. And when you’re trying to make something happen versus let something happen. And there’s a time and a place for both. Most people especially in the West, in America and Europe and Canada, we over index and making things happen. So we think that we’ve got to lean in, we’ve got to do more, we don’t let things unfold. Sometimes this is a superpower. But other times it gets in our way. Because what we actually need to do is just let the thing happen. So an example could be over doing like a sale, right? So a salesperson like constant pressure, pressure pressure, up to a point that works. But at a certain point, you start to annoy the client. And you actually need to have the confidence and restraint to step back and to be patient and just let the process unfold. Let the client come to the decision to do the thing that they want to do. This is so hard because often what happens is we get to where we are because we’re really good at making things happen. And then we get to a point in our career where it starts to backfire. And we need to pick out a different tool.

Clint Murphy  1:14:13

And it’s the whole tool of so many problems, solve themselves. If you don’t get involved in the problem.

Brad Stulberg  1:14:22

Yes, this is the corporate email swirl phenomenon.

Clint Murphy  1:14:25

Yeah, you just stop, stop answering all your emails.

Brad Stulberg  1:14:28

Right, like a simple email can generate 48 responses from 30 different people and become this whole big thing that if people would have just stepped back literally 24 hours down the road, the problem resolves itself.

Clint Murphy  1:14:42

I’ll tell you a little story on that one. So I’ve been a CFO for coming up on eight years now. And we had a really good transition plan. The person I took over for –  it was a three year transition came in as a VP finance. He trained me for three years, I had one year where I was like an out acting role. He was a conciliary and he would always ask me a question on something and say, hey, I’ve sent that to you. And he’d say, oh, like, come over, let’s look. And he’d searche emails, he wouldn’t see it. And then he’d go to his, he’d be like, oh, I think I know where it is. He’d go to his deleted items. And he would sort by username. And I would see like 50 unread emails from me, in his deleted items. And at first, I was so distraught, like, he’s not reading what I send him. And then now eight years into the role, I realize at some times, I have 100 unread emails in my inbox. And then periodically, I’ll go through them. And part of what I’m doing is Brad, I’m saying, well, if this person’s never followed up with me, can’t be that important. And it just goes into the deleted, or oh, it looks like we someone solved that are oh, yeah, this I need to do. And so instead of doing it in the minute, it’s doing it two weeks later, or once a week.

Brad Stulberg  1:16:03

And giving it the chance to resolve on its own too, right? Yeah. Yeah, for sure.

Clint Murphy  1:16:07

Yes. So they resolved it. And they’re like, oh, don’t worry about this, I resolved it, you’re like, Okay, it’s good.

Brad Stulberg  1:16:12

And this is gonna be different for every organization, and every person, every situation. So it’s not one size fits all. But I try not to be too prescriptive with my clients, I just ask them to pause. And just to ask themselves, am I trying to make something happen that might benefit from me letting it happen? And if the answer is no, then take the action, do the thing. If the answer is yes, to your point, then let’s give it three days, and then come back to it and see if it looks different. And I find the higher up you get in an organization, the more important this is, because as an individual contributor, your job is to make shit happen. And if you’re managing a team of four people, you can really get in there and make things happen. But if you’re the CEO, CFO, COO of a large organization, and you try to make everything happen, all you’re going to do is create like shit shows for everybody else. Part of the job is being able to step back, let most things happen, and then pick your spots. When you get in there and you make something happen. To me that’s like the sign of a great executive.

Clint Murphy  1:17:10

Yeah, where do you truly need me, rope me in when you truly need me otherwise, guys know what you’re doing. And Brian Levenson, in his book, Mindset Shifts, talks a bit about this idea of when you’re practicing, curious, you need to be learning when you’re in the game. And most of the people on your team, if they’ve been there, 10 years, they’re in the game. They know what they’re doing. They don’t need us attacking. It’s only when they say wait, I don’t know this, then they need us. And something you said there with the pause that brought back because I wrote it down earlier in this conversation, you wrote the idea of increased space and increasing space, the power of the pause, it always brings me back to Viktor Frankl with stimulus response. The magic happens in the space between. And it’s not just stimulus response. It’s almost everything in our life, whether it’s the email, whether it’s a conversation, whether it’s an interaction with our kids, can you expand a little bit about how we can use pay, or how we can increase the patience to increase that space between the stimulus and the response, which is really a lot of almost everything we’re talking about today?

Brad Stulberg  1:18:19

For sure. And it’s I think that it’s exactly that, the first step is realizing like when you have this urge to immediately respond. And then trying to sit with that urge. And just be curious about it. Right? This is like mindfulness practice 101, watch it, let it be there, see if it changes, and then you suddenly create space between something in your response to it. And then is Viktor Frankl so elegantly said it’s in that space, that you have the freedom to choose your life. Whereas if you’re on autopilot, and you’re just playing Whack a Mole responding to everything, and like, you get pushed and pulled by your life, like your life owns you, you don’t own your life. And I think a big part of owning your life is figuring out how to create that space. Whether it’s practicing something like RAIN, whether it’s learning to label thoughts and feelings is oh, this is a thought, this is a feeling, do I want to act on it? Do I want to take it seriously? Whether it’s saying hey, is this something I should make happen or let happen? Anger is a really interesting emotion to practice this with. Whenever you feel anger, can you use that to force yourself to pause before you do something? I once had a meditation teacher tell me that anger is like the best mindfulness bell, you feel anger, imagine someone ringing mindfulness Bell and your job is just to sit with it for 10 minutes. And then if you’re still really angry after 10 minutes, well, maybe you do something about it. But without like any hesitation or doubt, I can say that if you wait 10 minutes, you’ll never regret it. Versus if you act on that anger right away. You tend to regret it.

Clint Murphy  1:19:43

Or even the 10 breaths rule. Right?

Brad Stulberg  1:19:46

Right, five breaths, whatever it is just create some space. It’s such a powerful concept.

Clint Murphy  1:19:50

Beautiful. And so this next one that we’re going to talk about, I’ve got a long little TEDx talk here. Before I throw it over to you and we’ve talked a fair bit about some of this, and I think this is a very important one. So what we’re going to talk about is embracing vulnerability to develop genuine strength and confidence. So you share a lot in the book about your journey with OCD, we’ve talked about anxiety, we’ve talked about depression already. For me, I only started sharing about depression through COVID. Because up until, at this stage of my career, I’m comfortable doing it. And I realized, if I don’t share, then people on my team during COVID, isolation equaled amplification. And so if I’m not willing to share, they’re not going to talk about what’s happening for them. So I felt like I had to start sharing it. And so I started putting more of it front, what you call front stage, but so much of the world is this backstage concept and you don’t see it in what really jumps out at me for that is when we look at something like Twitch boss. And what happened there.

Brad Stulberg  1:20:54

What’s Twitch boss, I don’t know, Twitch boss is a celebrity who was on a lot of social media and on all social media, super happy, super positive,filming wonderful dance. He was a dancer, and DJ and filming even up to yes, he committed suicide in the last few weeks. And right up to the end, tik tok dancing reels with his wife and family and just looking super happy. And so you don’t see it.  Oh, I think I know now is this the fellow that worked closely with Ellen DeGeneres for a long time?

Clint Murphy  1:21:29

Yeah, he was Ellen’s DJ. And so everyone thought happy, right? And you and I have already talked about the journeys that we’re on as creators in social media, and I look at 2022, it was an absolute amazing year, like I added probably a quarter million followers, 6x’ed to my downloads for the podcast, started booking people I love to talk to and this conversation we’re having, your partner Steve was on the show. And that was another great conversation. So from all outside views, that’s the front stage, everything looks great. And backstage, I’ve never been more tired, more burnt out more addicted to social media, dopamine rushes and so but we don’t share that side. We don’t talk about that on our Twitter feed. Now you talk about the importance of integrating these two. And you did that for the first time in an article in Outside magazine. So can you share a bit about why it’s so important that we integrate our front stage with our backstage in what did that article do for you on your journey, Brad?

Brad Stulberg  1:22:38

All right, so there’s so much to unpack here, it’s a good TEDx talk, thank you for giving it, you really primed me. Front stage, south, you made this really clear, this is your performative self, the self that you bring to social situations.  Backstage self is who you really are, they’re probably never going to be fully aligned, at least not in public spheres. And that’s okay. The goal is to try to lessen the space between them. Because the more space there is between who you really are and who you’re portraying yourself to be. The more you experience something called cognitive dissonance, which is the kind of distress or restlessness or guilt or shame that comes when, who other people think you are, who you’re portraying yourself to be is not really who you are. And I think for anyone that struggled with some kind of big challenge that has a public persona, if people don’t know about that challenge, you can’t help but feel like you’re kind of not being real. And that feeling sucks, at least for me, it sucks, sure it sucks for you. And the best way to eliminate that feeling is to get more real, to be who you really are, just share your struggles to share your challenges. It’s this huge weight off your shoulders when you do that. I’ll give an example of where the rubber meets the road for a coaching client and for where this can be really challenging. And then I want to get back to one more thing about social media. So first, the example I was coaching this woman, I’m gonna call her Debbie. And she had just been promoted to this enormous executive role of an international company, over 40,000 employees. And she called herself the accidental executive, she had no intention of being in this role. It just kind of happened. And she was the only black person in the C suite and the only woman in the C suite. She came in there feeling so overwhelmed and feeling like such an imposter. And this particularly manifested when she had to speak in front of international audiences. Part of her job was to go socialize this company strategy, right? They had offices in all seven continents. So she’d get up on the stage. And she would try to be a front stage self, she tried to perform. She tried to act like she has it all together. And man, did she feel terrible doing that. So I said, Debbie, what do you really want to say when you’re up there? She looked at me. So what I really want to say is holy shit, am I overwhelmed? I don’t know how I got here. And I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. And I said, Well, you’re in the C suite of a publicly traded company. So it’s probably not a great thing to say exactly that and then we both had a good laugh. But I said What can you save? It’s a little bit closer to that, and let’s script that. So what she ultimately came up with was something in the spirit of, wow, it is so wild to me that I’m in this role now, I never could have imagined it. And at times, it feels kind of overwhelming, because of course, it feels kind of overwhelming. That’s why I need all of you in the audience, that’s why I need everyone in this organization, to engage with the strategy, to engage with the vision, to provide feedback, because there’s no way I could do this on my own. This is too hard for anyone to do on their own, including me. she started every talk off with that, what did she report, she dropped her shoulders, she became less anxious, the rest of the talk felt so much better for her. And in employee engagement surveys, people rated her talks much better once she started doing this. Fast forward three years later, when our time working together was over. And the thing that she sent me is the biggest thank you note, was in 360 surveys and ratings of the executive team, she’s the most liked leader. And the number one free text response as to why is because she’s the most human. Isn’t that powerful? And like, it’s so true. So that’s it man. Like, to me, that’s like the most powerful example of like, and notice how she didn’t go all the way. Like she can’t go up there and say, I’m in charge of a publicly traded company, and I don’t know what I’m doing, that’s never gonna work. But you can get a little bit closer to that, you can be a little bit more real. So the practice here is ask yourself what you’re really feeling. Ask yourself what you really want to say. And then try to say something as close to that as possible. Now, I mentioned I want to go back to social media, because this is an area where I actually think, and this is just my opinion. Amongst creators and people with public profiles, kind of controversial. Not, I shouldn’t say it’s not controversial at al,l people have different opinions. My opinion here is that it’s really important to protect some of your life and just have it be backstage self. So I will never post pictures of my wife, my kids, my dog, or me doing personal activities with my friends. Why is that? Not because I’m hiding anything. I think my wife’s beautiful, I’ve got good friends, good kids, not because I’m embarrassed about anything. Because I don’t want that to become a part of my brand. Because if that’s a part of a brand, then suddenly, it’s going to take on value other than its intrinsic value. When I’m on top of a mountain hike with my wife, I don’t want that to be something that people like. Because then if it gets 2000 likes, guess what, well the next one better get 2100 likes, or we better go on more hikes, because that’s a popular picture. People on social say, my kids are cute, suddenly, my kids are now a part of my job. And I want those elements of my life to be enough in and of themselves. I never want those things to be tied to the dopamine rush that you get on social media. So I have drawn a steel boundary between those things. And there’s one other element, I don’t share any pictures of me in the gym. And physical practice is a huge part of my life. The reason I don’t is because I don’t want that to feel like it’s work. I go to the gym so that I can escape work. And the minute I share pictures of me working and people like it, well, now I gotta get stronger, because gotta get stronger for Instagram, or I got to perfect my deadlift, because that posted well. So my boundary there is simply I want those things to be good on their own. I don’t want them to have anything to do with my platform. Because if my platform goes completely away, those are the things that are going to keep me on this planet and happy.

Clint Murphy  1:28:23

Yeah, it’s interesting because I take a bit of a different approach on the social with the family, which is most of you’ve seen my Twitter feed 98.998% of it is writing. And then periodically, if you know my son or does something well, or I have a celebration with my family, I’ll throw a photo of them. And I have no precept in throwing it, of getting any likes. But what I’m doing is…

Brad Stulberg  1:28:23

If you’re going to do it, you have to do that. Yep.

Clint Murphy  1:28:53

I’m just saying to the audience, like, I’m a human. Like, hey, Clint is not just some ghost writer, like, here’s my family. Like, here’s my kids.

Brad Stulberg  1:29:04

And that’s the biggest argument in favor of it. And like I said, controversial was the wrong word. People do this differently. I think that that is 100% valid, like there’s not a right or wrong. I think as a creator, you have to find out what works for you. Yeah, and this could change but for me right now, it’s nothing at all. I recently had a long conversation with Sahil Bloom, who’s just like blowing up across all the things and he’ll post, to me, somewhat frequently pictures from his personal life. And I actually had a conversation with him. I think that there’s like no right or wrong answer and Sahil posts, not infrequently images of his family and videos from his family. And he said the same thing to you, which is like, oh, if my brand is me, I want people to like to see all of it. And I think for me right now, my brand, I don’t want my brand to be me, I want my brand to be the ideas that I write about. And I think someone can engage with those ideas without having any insight into what’s happening behind the curtain with family life, but not with my mental health because I write about mental health. So if I was a parenting writer, or if I wrote about relationships, or if I was just a fitness writer, I’d feel the need to share that stuff. Because yeah, like you can’t write about relationships, and then not talk about your own. That’s not very valid. But those aren’t my beats.

Clint Murphy  1:30:40

He’s one of the people I think about who is doing it as part of the brand.

Brad Stulberg  1:30:44

And I wished him good luck. Like, I think that’s going to be a real challenge. So far, he’s managing it well. But like, man, it’s hard when you are the brand, because now suddenly, everything you do is up for public validation. And that’s tough.

Clint Murphy  1:30:58

Yeah, I’ve had some DMs with him. Because he’s an account I look up to in a number of ways. It’s always interesting, even when someone’s whose 12 years younger than you and you’re like, hey, like, can I reach out to you for advice? It needs very good at it helping. And he’s one of the people I talked to about divorcing yourself from the platform and just being a creator. And we actually talked about what you’re talking about right now. Because when you talk about divorcing yourself from the platform, if you’re sharing a lot about your family, you’re even more in the platform and then that so.

Brad Stulberg  1:31:28

I think the biggest thing for the audience here and for you to take away and for me to keep taking away is just like, again, there’s no right or wrong answer, but you want to be deliberate. Like really think this stuff through and intentional, deliberate, intentional is even better word, thank you, you really want to be intentional. And it’s something to come back and reevaluate because you can always change it in either direction.

Clint Murphy  1:31:47

So we’re gonna wrap up there. There’s so much more in the book. Like if people want to do hard things, get sh!t done, and they want to do it in the way they’re, they’re grounded. Like, read this book. Do you have time for a quick rapid fire for questions?

Brad Stulberg  1:32:02

Yeah, I love it.

Clint Murphy  1:32:07

What is one book you’ve read that’s most influential for you.

Brad Stulberg  1:32:14

Zen in The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. Love it.

Clint Murphy  1:32:17

What are you reading right now?

Brad Stulberg  1:32:19

Right now I’m reading a book called Good Inside by a woman named Dr. Becky, who’s a clinical psychologist. And I’ve never read a parenting book before, even though I have two kids. And everyone’s told me to read this parenting book. So I’m reading it and so far, I’m really enjoying it.

Clint Murphy  1:32:35

Oh, great. I’m gonna check that out? What’s one thing you’ve spent less than $1,000 on that you look back and say, I wish I’d bought that a little sooner.

Brad Stulberg  1:32:44

My Shinola watch. I’m not a watch guy. I never had a nice watch. It felt so indulgent to spend money on a watch. But I really like well, I shouldn’t say that a watch guy. I’m not a fancy watch guy. But I really like watches. So I buy these cheap watches on the discount, bargain watches and they break after like a year. And then I just get a new one. And I finally bought like a real watch, it was under $1,000. But it was like 700 bucks, expensive watch. And I love it. I savor it. I look at it every day. I’m so glad I have it. I’ve had it for over a year and a half. And I still feel that way. So my Shinola watch in my hometown is I grew up in suburban Detroit. So it’s a suburban Detroit company. So it feels really good.

Clint Murphy  1:33:21

The shows about growth, you write about growth. So what’s one behavior shift mindset shift or habit you’ve adopted in your life that has had outsized impact?

Brad Stulberg  1:33:39

Yeah, I’m gonna give a few. We’ve talked about all of them. So it’s a good recap, I think not shoulding on myself. So when I catch myself being really judgmental, pausing, and saying, hey, can I replace this with wants or wish or choose to or get to? And if I can’t, then can I drop the weight of having to try to do that thing. That has had enormous impact, being really intentional about when I have ability to use technology versus when I don’t, and not relying on willpower. Surrendering and saying this stuff has too much of a hold over me. It’s not because I’m broken. It’s because I’m a human. And this stuff is powerful. So if I want to have time and space away from it, I’ve got to have it removed from my physical space, even if that means having my wife hide it. That’s what I do. And then the third thing that I would say, and this is something that I’ve been doing for the longest time is just physical practice, doesn’t have to be heroic. I said, I love strength training, but even just a 45 minute walk, but particularly for managing like mental and intellectual health. So the ability to feel good, and then think well, I find I have to have some kind of physical practice in my life.

Clint Murphy  1:34:45

Love it. And for our listeners, that question used to say in the last year, one of our listeners, a friend and colleague Aaron suggested that I take off the last year because our guests have probably had amazing shifts in their life and so we should have it there whole lives. Thank you, Aaron for your feedback. And everyone else, drop some feedback. Let me know we’ll change the show. We incorporate it. So we went deep, we went wide. Is there anything we left out that you want to make sure we hit?

Brad Stulberg  1:35:13

No, this is a great conversation. I mean, as you said, I could talk to you forever. So hopefully we’ll get to do it again. But this was great. And where can people find your brand? So I am on Instagram @bradstulberg just like my name and then I’m on Twitter @bstulberg, just like my name.

Clint Murphy  1:35:28

Awesome. So we’ll have all that in the show notes and on the website, which will be a new website launching in February so when we aired the podcast, you’ll be on the new website and thank you for joining me that was a wonderful conversation.

Brad Stulberg  1:35:41

Thank you Clint anytime.

Clint Murphy  1:35:49

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