The Practice of Groundedness Book Summary - The Practice of Groundedness Book explained in key points
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The Practice of Groundedness summary

Brad Stulberg

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

4.6 (674 ratings)
23 mins
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    The Practice of Groundedness
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    Heroic individualism leads to burnout and unhappiness.

    A few years ago, Stulberg’s life seemed right on track. He was only 31, but already establishing himself as a well-respected expert on the science of human performance. He’d recently published a best-selling book on the topic. His articles had appeared in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He was coaching elite athletes, entrepreneurs, and executives.

    But beneath the shiny surface of his external success, something dark was happening inside him. Seemingly out of nowhere, he developed a debilitating form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. For nearly a year, he was almost constantly tormented by intrusive thoughts and feelings of despair, anxiety, and self-harm.

    The experience shook him to his core, and it led him to rethink the way of life he’d been practicing and preaching – a way of life he now calls heroic individualism.

    The key message here is: Heroic individualism leads to burnout and unhappiness.

    Do you feel like whoever you are and whatever you do, it’s never enough? Are you always measuring yourself and your achievements against impossibly high standards and fixating on the inevitable gap between them? Are you always pushing yourself to bridge that gap? And do you feel like however far you go, you’ve never arrived at the finish line – which makes you want to push yourself even harder?

    If so, you may be suffering from heroic individualism – a way of thinking that’s become widespread in Western culture. It tells people that whoever they are and whatever they do, it’s never enough. Everyone always needs to be more productive, more optimized, more successful.

    Under the spell of heroic individualism, people feel compelled to tackle too many tasks at too fast a pace, under way too much pressure. As a result, they feel scattered, rushed, and exhausted. And because they’re so fixated on their external accomplishments, they can’t even properly rest; they feel empty or restless whenever they’re not pursuing them.

    The predictable result? Persistent feelings of burnout and unhappiness. For many people, this creates general dissatisfaction with life. For others, it can provoke serious mental health problems, like the ones Stulberg experienced. Either way, heroic individualism leads to a dead end.

    So, how do you escape? That’s what Stulberg asked himself after his struggle with OCD – and he found the answer in an unlikely place.

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    What is The Practice of Groundedness about?

    The Practice of Groundedness (2021) provides some counterbalance to all those self-help books that extol us to never stop optimizing ourselves, becoming more productive, and pushing ourselves toward more success. Drawing from both ancient wisdom and modern science, it identifies six principles of a more grounded way of living. It also tells the personal story of how the author came to understand these principles while struggling to overcome mental health issues.

    Who should read The Practice of Groundedness?

    • Highly-driven people feeling burnt out, scattered, or restless
    • Professionals looking for a more sustainable approach to success
    • Anyone who wants to be more grounded

    About the Author

    Brad Stulberg is an expert on human performance, sustainable success, and well-being. He’s the coauthor of the best-selling Peak Performance and The Passion Paradox. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired, and Forbes. He’s also a contributing editor to Outside Magazine. He coaches executives, entrepreneurs, and elite athletes.

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