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Brad Stulberg

Here’s what real wellness is—and how to achieve it

From coast to coast, wellness is a thing. In Silicon Valley, techies are swooning over tarot-card readers. In New York, you can hook up to a “detox” IV at a lounge. Online, companies like Goop promote “8 Crystals For Better Energy” and a detox-delivery meal kit, complete with “nutritional supplements, probiotics, detox and beauty tinctures, and beauty and detox teas.” It seems that everyone is looking for a cure to what ails them, which has led to a booming billion-dollar industry — what I’ve come to call the Wellness Industrial Complex.

The problem is that so much of what’s sold…

Showing restraint takes discipline, but you’ll be better able to race ahead when it really matters

The day you launch a book feels like sprinting an all-out mile. The only thing is this: at the end of the all-out mile, you find yourself on the start-line of a 5K, which is launch week. So you keep sprinting your 5K, only to find yourself at the end of that week on the start-line of a half marathon, which is a launch month. By this point, hopefully you’ve learn that sprinting probably isn’t the best pacing strategy. So you tone it down a notch. At the end of your half-marathon, after a month of grinding, you find yourself…

There’s an art to having skin in the game

One thing I remember about middle school gym class is that the cool kids never tried. Though I could sense the reason then, I did not have the vocabulary that I do now. The cool kids didn’t try because they were insecure. Many adults are the same. It is an easy trap to fall into.

Not giving your all on something you care deeply about can be a way of copping out. It gives you an excuse if things don’t go how you want them to. Giving your all, leaving every bit out there, exposes you. It makes you vulnerable…

The pandemic has offered us a moment to reevaluate our values, priorities, and how we spend our time

“I’m dying for a break,” said my client Tim, the chief physician of adult and family medicine at a large health care system. “But even when I try to take a single weekend off, I can’t seem to go more than a few hours without opening my work email. Logically I know I don’t have to — and I don’t really want to — but I feel compelled to check. To be honest, I become restless and insecure if I don’t.”

“I thought that when I finally secured funding and launched this business I’d be content,” said Samantha, an entrepreneur…

The space between stimulus and response is an important one. Philosophers have said it is in this space that our freedom lies.

When something unexpected happens — for example, an accident, a pandemic, a competitor acting unpredictably, and so on — people generally go down one of two roads: they either impulsively react or more thoughtfully respond; the former is automatic (and therefore not very free) whereas the later is conscious and intentional. In the past, I’ve written about a heuristic for responding that I call the 4 P’s: pause; process; plan; proceed. …

Maybe there’s something you’re trying to hide

If you ever consume information about nutrition, relationships, fitness, or productivity, then you know that people often make things overly complex. Sometimes complexity is necessary but often it is not, and it can make things worse rather than better.

On the supply side, many people make things complex so they can sell them. It is hard to monetize the basics. But come up with an intricate and sexy-sounding approach to pretty much any endeavor and people will pay⁠ — and often a lot⁠ — for it. But what about the demand side? …

At a recent press conference, an interviewer asked how he keeps his mind right

In the midst of the NBA finals, following a string of awe-inspiring performances, 26-year-old Giannis Antetokounmpo was asked during a press conference how he keeps his mind right. His three-part answer, in his own words: “Focusing on the past is ego. Focusing on the future is pride. Focusing on the present is humility.”

What zen-master Giannis is saying, I think, is that when you are fully (or at least close to fully) in the present moment, you are automatically humbled.

Whatever happened in the past does not matter.

Whatever might happen in the future does not matter.

All that matters…

Why slower and smaller is often better

For myriad reasons, the culture of the past two decades has been obsessed with growth. I am going to call this the growth era. In the growth era, it doesn’t so much matter what you are growing — your company, your audience, your income, your network, your muscles, or the size of your house — but just that you are growing. Growth is good, the story goes, and growth is an end in and of itself.

Perhaps it is time reconsider this convention. What if smaller is better?

In my coaching practice, very rarely do I help people get and…

There’s real power in minimizing your choices

The more choices we have the better, or so we think. But that’s not always the case. Constraints, that is, artificially minimizing choices, are becoming increasingly important to our mental health. We should embrace them in more areas of our lives.

Here’s why: In a world where technology is accelerating, you have access to what, for all intents and purposes, is infinity in more areas of your life. …

7 principles to help you read more and read better

Deep reading, or full engagement in a book, is an absolute joy. It is good for mind and spirit, and it is also a competitive advantage in today’s knowledge-based economy. Increasingly, people struggle to pay attention to just about anything, let alone a book. Yet deep reading confers many benefits above and beyond watching a YouTube video or skimming an article. These benefits include developing a richer understanding of a topic, increasing your ability to pay attention itself, and enhanced creative thinking.

Here are seven principles for developing a nonfiction deep reading habit. …

Brad Stulberg

Bestselling author of The Practice of Groundedness ( Co-Creator of The Growth Equation. Coach to executives, entrepreneurs, and MDs.

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