The Practice of Groundedness | Brad Stulberg

Summary of: The Practice of Groundedness: A Transformative Path to Success That Feeds—Not Crushes—Your Soul
By: Brad Stulberg


Are you striving for success but feeling constantly overwhelmed by the pressure to perform? In ‘The Practice of Groundedness’, author Brad Stulberg offers an antidote to the burnout and unhappiness that often arise from what he calls ‘heroic individualism’. This book summary aims to guide readers in understanding the key concepts and principles of grounding oneself, staying present, and cultivating sustainable success. By exploring practices and insights rooted in ancient philosophies and modern science, it empowers individuals to cultivate inner strength, stability, and confidence while staying connected to their values and building supportive communities.

Heroic Individualism: A Recipe for Burnout

In a society that glorifies productivity and success, many people fall victim to heroic individualism. This concept pushes individuals to constantly strive for more, leading to burnout and unhappiness. Stulberg, an expert on human performance, experienced this firsthand when he developed OCD despite his external success. He realized that the way of life he had been preaching, heroic individualism, was the root cause of his struggles. This toxic way of thinking places overwhelming pressure on individuals and causes them to spread themselves too thin. They never feel satisfied with their accomplishments and are always seeking more. By rejecting this mindset and learning to prioritize rest and self-care, individuals can escape the cycle of burnout and build a more fulfilling life.

Be Like a Redwood

The book teaches that the key to being emotionally stable, confident, and fulfilled is by focusing on one’s roots, which are the principles and practices that keep us grounded. Drawing from scientific and spiritual traditions, the author identifies six core principles and related practices that help individuals become grounded. Being grounded means feeling inner strength, stability, and confidence that come from living in alignment with one’s values and focusing on what’s most important. Being like a redwood means understanding that it’s not about striving for external achievements but rather focusing on one’s roots to withstand the winds of life.

Acknowledge Your Present Reality

Stulberg’s struggle with OCD led him to discover the first principle of groundedness: accepting your present reality. Many people react to undesirable circumstances by denying, wishing away, or resisting them. However, acknowledging your problem in a nonreactive manner is the first step to creating change. Avoid using the word “should” when evaluating your reality and instead say “I want” or “I wish” to prepare for productive action. By accepting your present reality, you can work on changing it into the future you desire.

Growing Your Seeds

The road to success and happiness is never easy. To achieve your biggest goals, you need to be grounded in what matters to you, stay present and be patient. This means minimizing distractions, reassessing busyness, and focusing on the most important seeds you want to grow. It also means breaking your goals down into smaller steps and focusing on completing them one step at a time. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

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