Brad Stulberg

Brad Stulberg on the Paradox of Achievement and Sustainable Success

Dr. Chris E. Stout
6 min readFeb 1


Achievement often comes at a cost. Angst, restlessness, frayed relationships, exhaustion, and even substance abuse can be the unwanted-side effects of an obsession with outward performance. While the “high” of occasional wins can keep you going for a bit, there is also a concomitant risk of playing into the always-on-never-enough-hustle-culture that ultimately takes a serious toll.

This is the arena that Brad Stulberg works in.

Brad is an internationally known expert on human performance, well-being, and sustainable success. He holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of Michigan. He is coauthor of the bestselling Peak Performance and The Passion Paradox, and his work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Wired, Forbes, Outside Magazine and more.

With Steve Magness, Brad cofounded The Growth Equation, a multimedia platform dedicated to the art and science of success. In his performance-coaching practice, he works with executives, entrepreneurs, and physicians, and he regularly speaks to large organizations on these topics as well. In this episode we focused on Brad’s most recent book, The Practice of Groundedness: A Transformative Path to Success That Feeds — Not Crushes — Your Soul

I have had a number of journalists and authors on the show, and I always like to start off with learning about their origin story, Brad’s was fascinating, and a bit out of the norm.

In The Practice of Groundedness, Brad offers a healthier and more sustainable model for success. At the heart of this model is groundedness: it values presence over rote productivity, accepts that progress is nonlinear, and prioritizes long-term values and fulfillment over short-term gain. To be grounded is to possess a firm and unwavering foundation, a resolute sense of self from which deep and enduring, not shallow and superficial, success can be found…