How to Harness Productive Passion and Avoid Burnout

May 29, 2019

Brad Stulberg is a writer, performance coach, and speaker, specializing in developing and harnessing productive passion using evidence-based principles of mastery and success.  He has co-authored two books, Peak Performance and The Passion Paradox, which explore the science and practice of passion and world-class performance. Currently a columnist for Outside magazine, Brad has also written for the New York Times, Wired, New York Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and more. His work also includes coaching executives, entrepreneurs, and athletes.

In this podcast, Brad and I talk about passion - specifically the idea of developing your passion, rather than “finding” it. Brad discusses how passion can be a blessing or a curse, highlighting examples of people whose obsessive approach to their work has led to their downfall. He discusses the myth of living a balanced life and offers advice for people nearing burnout. Brad also describes what the research says about quitting your day job to pursue your passion.

Here’s the outline of this interview with Brad Stulberg:

[00:00:00] Blood Chemistry Calculator package; email support; book an appointment with NBT.

[00:00:32] Simon Marshall, PhD.

[00:00:47] Book: The Passion Paradox: A Guide to Going All In, Finding Success, and Discovering the Benefits of an Unbalanced Life, by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness.

[00:05:13] Book: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol Dweck.

[00:05:44] Passion vs. addiction.

[00:06:37] Podcast: Optimal Diet and Movement for Healthspan, Amplified Intelligence and More with Ken Ford.

[00:07:04] 75% of people believe in the “fit mindset of passion”; Study: Chen, Patricia, Phoebe C. Ellsworth, and Norbert Schwarz. "Finding a fit or developing it: Implicit theories about achieving passion for work." Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 41.10 (2015): 1411-1424.

[00:09:48] Developing vs finding your passion.

[00:11:48] Lower your expectations (like Lisa from The Simpsons).

[00:12:24] Passion can be a gift or a curse; Obsessive passion vs. harmonious passion.

[00:15:15] Burnout.

[00:16:16] Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, and Lance Armstrong as an examples of obsessive passion.

[00:18:53] Podcast: The Science and Practice of Training Elite Road Cyclists, with David Bailey, PhD.

[00:19:59] 24-48 hour rule.

[00:21:32] Book: Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success,

by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness.

[00:23:01] The biology driving the behavior; dopamine.

[00:25:37] Hedonic adaptation: adapting to your current state of happiness; suffering.

[00:26:54] Podcast: Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Strategies for Diabetes and Sleep Problems, with Ashley Mason, PhD.

[00:29:30] Ellen Langer, PhD.; Podcast: How to Think Yourself Younger, Healthier, and Faster.

[00:30:11] The myth of living a "balanced" life.

[00:31:21] Rich Roll.

[00:34:55] Podcast: How to Sustain High Cognitive Performance, with James Hewitt.

[00:36:54] People pursuing passions don’t view themselves accurately.

[00:38:01] Being on the same journey as his readers, rather than having it all figured out.

[00:39:40] Practice: We build our practice up and then it falls apart.

[00:40:32] Mid-life crises.

[00:42:10] Should you quit your day job? Study: Raffiee, Joseph, and Jie Feng. "Should I quit my day job?: A hybrid path to entrepreneurship." Academy of Management Journal 57.4 (2014): 936-963.

[00:45:38] Up to 40% of white collar work is wasted time.

[00:48:30] Don't try to be the best; be the best at getting better.

[00:49:03] Advice for someone at the burnout point.

[00:50:20] Mentoring.

[00:51:54] Co-author Steve Magness.

[00:53:19] Similarities between fit mindset and fixed mindset.

[00:53:52] Josh Turknett, MD; Podcast: The Migraine Miracle.

[00:55:00] Where to find Brad: Twitter; Brad’s website.

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