Brad Stulberg researches, writes, and coaches on mental health, well-being, and sustainable excellence. He is the bestselling author of The Practice of Groundedness and Master of Change. He regularly contributes to the New York Times and his work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and the Atlantic, among other outlets. He is on the faculty at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health.

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The Learning Leader Show

  • How to respond instead of react… The 4 P’s:
    • Pause
    • Process
    • Plan
    • Proceed — Using the 4 Ps will increase your chances of responding better than reacting quickly
  • Non-Dual thinking. It’s not this OR that. It’s this AND that. It’s not self-discipline or self-compassion. It can be both. As we learn more, we become more reasonable. The world is not black and white. We can live in the gray and embrace it.
  • Brad’s core values:
    • Life is the doing of his life (activities, health, workouts, showing up)
    • Love is the being of his life (family, being there for the most important people)
  • A new model for navigating change and disorder – A neuroscientist and a biologist coined the phrase allostasis. Allostasis comes from the Greek allo, which means “variable,” and stasis, which means “standing.” Allostasis is defined as “Stability through change.”
  • When Brad went to the University of Michigan, he couldn’t go to football games. “It felt pointless to be in the stands instead of on the field, too close to something the loss of which I was still grieving.”
  • Science shows that when you fight change, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol.
  • Hard Times are always hard – But with practice, they get easier… In a multi-year study of more than 2,000 adults aged 18 to 101 published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, University of Buffalo psychologist, Mark Seery and colleagues found that people who had experienced medium levels of adversity were both higher-functioning and more satisfied with their lives than those who had experienced extremely high levels of adversity as well as those who had experienced hardly any adversity at all…
  • Five Questions for Embracing Change:
    • Where in your life are you pursuing fixity where it might be beneficial to open yourself to the possibility, or in some cases, the inevitability of change?
    • In what parts of your life are you holding on to unrealistic expectations?
    • Are there elements of your identity to which you cling too tightly?
    • How might you use your core values– the rugged and flexible boundaries of your identity– to help you navigate the challenges of your life?
    • In what circumstances do you tend to react when you would benefit from responding, and what conditions predispose you to that?
  • 10 Tools for Developing Rugged Flexibility:
    • Embrace non-dual thinking
    • Adopt a being orientation
    • Frequently update your expectations to match reality
    • Practice tragic optimism, commit to wise hop, and take wise action
    • Actively differentiate and integrate your sense of self
    • View the world with independent and interdependent lenses
    • Respond to change with the 4 Ps
    • Lean on routines (and rituals) to provide stabiliy during periods of disorder
    • Use behavioral activation
    • Don’t force meaning and growth; let them come on their own time
  • True confidence comes from evidence, and it allows you to OWN YOUR SEAT. Owning your seat does not mean certainty, nor does it mean a complete lack of doubts. It means taking your doubts with you and stepping into the arena no less—because you’ve done the work.
  • Easy: showing up when you are at your best and everything is clicking.
  • Hard: showing up when you are in a hole and the current is going against you. Most everyone can do the former. But it’s the latter that has a huge impact on lasting progress, fulfillment, and success.
  • Progress is nonlinear. Keep pounding the stone. Some days nothing happens. Some days it cracks a little bit more. Occasionally, it splits wide open. The implication of this truth is both simple and significant: If you’re addicted to visible progress, then sooner or later, you’ll burn out of whatever you’re pursuing. This is a big reason so many people quit after the honeymoon phase of trying something new.
  • Brad’s 3 non-negotiable daily practices for physical and mental well-being: 1. Forty-five to ninety minutes of physical activity. 2. At least one deep-focus block of sixty to ninety minutes on good, meaningful work. 3. Do not fight evening sleepiness, which usually means bed by 10PM.
  • Don’t define yourself by what you have. Define yourself by who you are. On developing a BEING over HAVING orientation, and the strength and freedom that comes with it.
  • Apply to be part of my Leadership Circle

Time Stamps

00:21 – The Difficulty of Writing Your Acknowledgments

06:09 – You’re Interviewing for Your Next Job Every Day

14:16 – Developing Grit In Your Children

20:06 – The Mindset of Defiance

29:22 – Make Yourself Indispensable

36:18 – Have the Confidence to Change Your Circumstances

41:53 – The Decision to Pursue Shark Tank

45:16 – Imposter Syndrome Advice from Damon

50:01 – Must Have Qualities To Earn a Leadership Role

54:46 – Life Advice

More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode #300: AJ & Keith Hawk – How To Instill Work Ethic & Curiosity In Your Children

Episode #303General Stanley McChrystal – The New Definition Of Leadership