Reaching Peak Performance with Guests Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness

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00:05

[Music]

00:10

hey welcome back to the urban monk dr.

00:12

Pedram shojai hanging out live in

00:14

studios a couple of bit athletic guys

00:16

who are talking about peak performance I

00:18

got Brad Stolberg and Steve Magnus here

00:20

welcome to show thanks for having us

00:22

great to be here

00:23

yeah so you guys are both runners I and

00:25

different kind of distances so you were

00:28

track in high school you run kind of

00:30

longer distance stuff I’m envious

00:33

because I can’t really rise to trail run

00:35

a lot and I just had to give up on it it

00:37

hurts too much it is one of the best

00:40

ways to lose weight it’s one of the best

00:42

ways to clear your head is one of the

00:44

best ways to just kind of manage stress

00:46

if you could do it right and so I know a

00:48

lot of people that run despite there

00:50

were Pedic issues because it just feels

00:52

it’s a good drug right totally and you

00:54

guys have been looking at how people can

00:56

eliminate burnout you’ve been looking at

00:58

how people can do this the right way so

01:01

let’s just get a little bit background

01:03

how did you get into running how’d you

01:04

get into studying peak performance I

01:06

will start with Brad mogul Steve yeah so

01:09

um we’ve actually both had kind of

01:11

parallel tracks in our lives but in

01:14

different realms so about ten years ago

01:17

coming out of undergraduate school I

01:18

went to work for one of the big box

01:21

consulting firms called McKinsey and

01:22

company and I had a wonderful experience

01:25

there but I really struggled to turn it

01:28

off so I could not disconnect from the

01:30

work and I was performing really really

01:33

well but I just kept on digging in and

01:35

didn’t really understand the notion of

01:38

like rest and recovery at all and

01:41

ultimately just burnt out so after two

01:44

years of grinding I don’t know on

01:47

average probably between 14 and 16 17

01:49

hour days it just caught up to me and I

01:53

think that now like I could probably do

01:54

that for a week but back then you’re 22

01:56

23 your egos kind of tied into it you’re

01:59

doing really interesting work it’s

02:01

intellectually stimulating and

02:02

invigorating I had two years of that to

02:05

give um but yeah then I burnt out pretty

02:07

hard yeah you could pick that out of the

02:09

end of your life in your 20s you’ll

02:11

realize

02:12

you know when your bacon counts somewhat

02:13

full and your start depleting it you

02:15

still see money in there you don’t think

02:16

about it exactly hit rock bottom that’s

02:18

when things get real ugly yeah so I was

02:21

fortunate I had a natural inflection

02:23

point I went to graduate school and

02:25

started studying public health and it

02:27

was then that I kind of became

02:28

interested in like how do world-class

02:31

performers sustain that level of

02:33

performance are they are they just to

02:35

have a reservoir of energy that I don’t

02:37

and they can constantly put in that kind

02:38

of world-class work or is there

02:40

something different that they’re doing

02:42

it’s allowing them to be more

02:43

sustainable so from there I started

02:45

researching and learning more about

02:47

health and wellness more broadly but

02:49

also in particular burnout and the

02:50

principles of human performance and have

02:54

over time transitioned in my career and

02:56

spend much less time doing the kind of

02:58

corporate consulting work and now write

03:00

professionally about this kind of stuff

03:02

good perfect see ya so my story actually

03:06

kind of parallel to this only in an

03:08

athletic realm so I started off as I’d

03:11

call myself like a phenom like in high

03:13

school

03:13

I ran a 401 mile which at the time was

03:16

number one in the US for high school

03:18

kids number three in the world for high

03:21

school-aged athletes and like number six

03:24

all-time in the u.s. list for high

03:26

school runners so I was really good and

03:28

and to get there like I was one of those

03:31

guys who just thought oh like to get

03:33

good like I just have to put my head

03:35

down and do all the work that I can so

03:38

as you know 17 18 year-old kid I was

03:40

running you know 17 to 18 miles a day

03:42

just like day after day just you know

03:45

forgetting everything else it was just

03:47

like all right I got to go run and that

03:50

was that was life and at that age like I

03:54

could sustain it for a year or maybe two

03:56

and then as and as I got into college

03:59

and my college running career it just

04:02

like hit rock bottom

04:04

like I couldn’t run fast anymore hated

04:08

doing it so that it was just spent and

04:11

you know your inclination at that age it

04:13

was like well I got here through hard

04:15

work so I have to double down and like

04:18

work harder to get out of it and you

04:20

just dig yourself a hole so like my my

04:23

experience

04:24

coming on it is like all right like I

04:27

know how to get really good but is there

04:29

a way to get really good without like

04:31

risking like all these negative aspects

04:35

that I had to go through so that really

04:36

started my quest for understanding can

04:39

we achieve like really high performance

04:42

but do it in a way that we can be

04:44

sustainable not wrecks not burning out

04:47

and all those things exploding man I see

04:49

so we’re doing this film unconscious

04:52

capitalism and one of the biggest

04:54

problems with the economy is

04:55

short-termism in other words like you

04:57

know what quarterly earnings stop op

04:59

op-op it doesn’t matter like what the

05:00

long-term thing is it’s like the same

05:02

story here running late your guys’s

05:05

body’s right and your burn rate was too

05:07

hot and you burned up yeah did you guys

05:10

get sick or did you just like run out of

05:12

juice I mean my I I describe it as I

05:15

walked around like a zombie for a while

05:17

I mean I had I had various health

05:20

problems show up just energy levels were

05:23

done and what happens is it infiltrates

05:26

the rest of your life I mean you could

05:28

see it in like my GPA and grades just

05:31

just went down to because there’s just

05:33

like once you hit that like lethargic

05:36

cells there’s no motivation to do almost

05:39

anything mm-hmm so for me I like took

05:42

over my life yes they’re just flat tire

05:45

yep exactly

05:46

yeah I’d say that you know the issue I

05:49

guess when I realized that that I was

05:51

struggling was I be on a phone call with

05:55

my at the time girlfriend or my family

05:57

or my grandmother and even though I’m on

05:59

the phone with them my mind was like I’m

06:01

slide 19 of the PowerPoint deck or like

06:04

in the third tab of the spreadsheet so

06:07

again like I realize like I cannot turn

06:09

a not like this is not sustainable and

06:12

it’s not to discard it I think Steve

06:13

would say the same thing and what we get

06:15

into this in the book it’s not to

06:17

discredit places like an engine company

06:18

they do outstanding work it’s not to

06:20

discredit high school runners that are

06:21

in 4-minute miles that’s phenomenal it

06:23

was just the way that we were going

06:25

about approaching it we didn’t have the

06:26

tools to do it in a way that was healthy

06:29

and sustainable and I think like Steve

06:32

said that’s what kind of started this

06:33

quest to figure out like what are those

06:34

tools is that possible so you guys both

06:36

burned out

06:38

went unsustainably hit walls and then

06:41

started looking for answers and so let’s

06:44

get into it I mean so you started

06:45

looking at athletes presumably CEOs I

06:49

mean who’d you start studying to look at

06:51

performance because if performance isn’t

06:53

just physical right yeah and I think

06:55

that’s what we truck we’re trying to get

06:58

across is that it’s not just like oh

07:00

like I’m a runner and I burn down and

07:02

it’s a physical thing this applies to

07:04

runners to consultants to doctors to

07:07

entrepreneurs to CEOs as we all deal

07:10

with this it’s this whole combined like

07:12

physical psychological emotional thing

07:15

and like where we started you know and

07:18

the natural inclination was looking at

07:20

athletes you know I also coach so I

07:22

coached some really world-class athletes

07:25

and looking at what they did but it’s

07:27

like branching beyond that and in the

07:29

book what we try to do is look at people

07:32

coming at it from as many different

07:34

domains as possible and saying like if

07:37

it essentially like alright where are

07:39

the answers like what are you doing

07:41

that’s allowed you to have this 10 15 20

07:45

year career that’s been really well and

07:47

having a family at the same time what

07:50

are you doing that you know maybe we

07:52

missed out on hmm so you got the

07:54

commonalities between the different

07:56

exactly you know high-level people yeah

07:58

who did you look at in particular like

08:00

what kind of people so we we looked

08:03

across entrepreneurs athletes artists I

08:07

guess what you call intellects like

08:08

mathematicians and athlete our intellect

08:14

science so really like a broad swath

08:18

some examples we spoke with Matt

08:20

Billingsley who is the drummer for

08:23

Taylor Swift band and our GU be like the

08:25

best pop rock drummer alive right now

08:27

a sculpture named Emil alzamora who’s

08:30

got internationally acclaimed works of

08:32

Arts we spoke with a fair amount of

08:35

world-class athletes so Olympic cyclist

08:38

Olympic runners very successful venture

08:41

capitalists so again like really trying

08:43

to go broad to come to try to find these

08:47

principles that are applicable whether

08:49

you are trying to

08:51

on your peak in sports or in business or

08:55

in our amazing so what commonalities did

08:58

you guys find so where I like to start

09:01

is the the first one that is kind of the

09:04

overarching principle that I have tried

09:05

to practice in my own life since

09:07

reporting and researching on the book is

09:09

what we’ve come to call the growth

09:10

equation which is stress plus R Us T

09:13

equals growth and the easiest way to

09:16

describe it is to use the analogy of

09:18

your bicep muscle so if you want to grow

09:20

your bicep muscle and you pick up way

09:22

too heavy of a weight you’re going to

09:23

literally tear your bicep tendon you’ll

09:25

get injured if you pick up a pretty good

09:28

weight but you lift non-stop and it’s

09:30

all you do your muscle will fatigue and

09:32

burnout flipside is if you pick up a

09:35

weight that is hardly anything instead

09:36

they’re doing curls nothing’s going to

09:37

happen so you’ve got to find the right

09:40

weight the right amount of stress to

09:42

stress your muscle but then step away

09:44

from it and rest to let your muscle

09:47

regenerate in recovery excuse me in

09:49

recover and well that is very very

09:52

logical and there’s tons of evidence

09:53

behind that in physiology the notion of

09:56

periodization what we learned is that

09:59

intellectual and emotional growth works

10:01

is very very similarly so in order to

10:05

grow one’s mind you need to challenge it

10:07

and immerse yourself in deep focus work

10:09

and take on projects that really push

10:11

you to the edge of your comfort zone but

10:13

you can’t do that non-stop you have to

10:15

insert periods of recovery to absorb

10:17

that work grow from it adapt to it

10:20

before you can move forward and I think

10:22

you know back to what you were saying

10:24

about conscious capitalism and the focus

10:26

on the short-term I think when you focus

10:27

on the short-term you see that first

10:29

side of the equation which is stress

10:31

which is do the work push push push but

10:33

you’re not creating enough space to

10:35

absorb the work and to let it set in and

10:38

to recover from it so then you can take

10:39

out more in the future and that’s kind

10:41

of built into the system of Wall Street

10:44

and reporting and quarterly earnings and

10:45

also so there’s a lot of talk in that

10:47

space of just factoring out some of that

10:50

insanity for long term growth right and

10:52

it’s like you know farming happens over

10:54

time yeah and so having sustainable

10:56

yields happens by replenishing the soil

10:58

okay so you’re saying you know using

11:00

that same metaphor in the mind with the

11:03

emotions you need time to digest these

11:04

things

11:05

time to unplug exactly and if you look

11:08

at the science of it if people think

11:11

that it’s when you really work hard

11:13

whether that’s physically or mentally

11:15

that you get better but the brain and

11:18

body adapts when you rest when you step

11:20

away so if you look at challenging a

11:22

muscle physically it’s not when you’re

11:26

doing that lifting that you get better

11:28

it’s when you step away how that rest

11:30

day you get sleep when all over like

11:33

recovery hormones the proteins come in

11:35

there and repair it and make it stronger

11:37

and the same thing happens in the mind

11:40

is like when we sleep when we’re

11:42

recovering is when the mind is

11:45

processing things like connecting like

11:47

synapses and things like that so that we

11:50

can increase our learning and our

11:52

understanding I think some of this with

11:54

certain coaches now where they build in

11:56

kind of rest and recovery periods for

11:58

their athletes for CEOs I mean you know

12:01

dude go play golf really if you know how

12:03

to unplug you do actly out where I see

12:06

it people getting destroyed is like you

12:08

know mid to high level kind of you know

12:11

whether you’re a kind of a low level

12:12

like VP level up to sea level or

12:16

somewhere in management where those

12:17

people are just like look yo when’s it

12:19

when when does it do what’s due

12:21

yesterday keep going right and so how do

12:23

you negotiate that at work how do you

12:25

negotiate that I mean you do this up and

12:27

make McKenzie or you did this at

12:28

McKenzie is you know that that stress

12:30

level is right there in that tier where

12:33

people just get destroyed and I think I

12:35

think that part of our goal for the book

12:36

is to have individuals and organizations

12:38

that can influence how work is

12:41

structured to realize that if they want

12:43

to get the most out of their employees

12:44

and not have high employee turnover that

12:46

they ought to think about structuring

12:48

the work so that there are these periods

12:50

of rest and recovery and I think the

12:54

other area where this just crushes

12:56

people is entrepreneurs because you can

12:59

always do more and when the business is

13:01

your baby and you’re passionate about it

13:03

it’s really really hard to have the

13:05

self-awareness to realize that I’m

13:07

actually digging a little bit too deep I

13:09

need to step away from it as a writer I

13:11

struggle with this massively because I

13:13

could constantly be tweaking and

13:15

refining the things that I’m writing I

13:17

could constantly

13:17

writing more stories trying to get

13:19

stories placed in different outlets and

13:20

there’s like no and trying to make it as

13:23

a writer and it’s it’s been a challenge

13:25

it still is a challenge I think writing

13:27

this book has at least brought it to the

13:28

front of my awareness just the

13:29

importance of making sure that I step

13:32

away and whether that’s on a daily cycle

13:34

for a few minutes whether it’s taking

13:36

one day off a week or taking a vacation

13:38

every few months yeah it’s hard I think

13:41

the world has been really unfair to

13:43

Hawaii in Tahiti you know yeah they’re

13:47

just too much expectation there it’s

13:48

like no no what you’re going to do is

13:50

you get this bungalow with this great

13:51

view and you got six nice right and

13:54

you’re like well I’ve been going for you

13:55

know 18 months can you catch up no and

13:58

and so you know that that kind of

13:59

paradox is less is more really has a

14:02

hard time translating but you guys have

14:05

looked at the data and you guys have

14:06

worked with the highest level people and

14:09

the proofs in the pudding right the

14:10

performance numbers improve with rest

14:14

and recovery and that’s the part that

14:15

like a lot of people who are like on

14:17

that that drive that burnout kind of

14:20

trajectory just can’t slow down again

14:22

yeah well we’re taught almost like just

14:25

grind away and the harder that we grind

14:27

the more benefits the better our output

14:29

is going to be but if you actually look

14:32

at the research it shows that inserting

14:35

periods of breath inserting an off-day

14:37

or vacation more frequently actually

14:40

increases productivity one of the my

14:43

favorite studies that we came across was

14:44

in the Harvard Business Review where

14:47

they took a pretty high-end consultancy

14:50

agency and they essentially force them

14:53

to take I think it was like one night

14:55

off a week oh my god right yes and the

14:59

reactions were like freak out they’re

15:01

like I’m going to get fired like this is

15:03

going to be the end like one night like

15:05

what this is going to kill me but what

15:07

they found is like productivity went up

15:09

though then they tried it you know with

15:11

a little more and productivity went up

15:13

and I think it surprised everyone in

15:16

that consultancy because it’s so

15:18

counterintuitive but that’s what

15:20

actually happens because you know if

15:22

we’re honest with ourselves and we say

15:24

oh I’m putting in 18-hour 17 hour day

15:27

it’s like how much of that is actually

15:28

quality work

15:29

and if you actually give yourself the

15:32

rest and the ability to recover so that

15:34

when you really do work there’s really

15:36

high quality work then you can get more

15:39

done in less time but I could also snort

15:43

adderall and put on a pot of coffee and

15:46

somehow feel like that’s going to get me

15:47

through this quarter right and that and

15:49

that’s that that fundamental imbalance

15:51

so let’s talk about rest because you

15:53

know a lot of people their definition of

15:55

rest might be different than what you

15:57

guys are talking about like parking in

15:58

front of the TV watching you know a

16:00

whole Netflix series could qualify his

16:03

rest

16:04

so some yeah what is rest what would

16:06

have you found his rest so I’d say that

16:08

the foundation of rest is sleep in you

16:12

know reporting on health and science for

16:14

a while you’d think that like I wouldn’t

16:16

be surprised but I was still surprised

16:18

to learn just how important sleep really

16:20

is seven to nine hours a night is just

16:23

integral to like Steve said to physical

16:26

reprocessing and repair as well as

16:28

psychological growth another very

16:31

interesting study that we came across

16:32

had to do with I guess it could follow

16:34

me emotional category willpower so when

16:37

you don’t sleep run in dividual doesn’t

16:39

sleep he or she literally loses their

16:42

willpower it’s like their filter is gone

16:44

so you might be in an argument with your

16:46

spouse or your boss at work and if

16:48

you’ve been sleeping well you’ll have

16:50

the part of your brain your prefrontal

16:51

cortex will be online enough to be like

16:54

you should think twice before you’re

16:55

going to say that words if you’re not

16:57

sleeping well that goes to crap and you

16:59

lose that ability to control your

17:01

emotions um so I think that sleep is the

17:04

foundation then layering on top of sleep

17:07

what we’ve learned is that throughout

17:09

the day if you think about how an

17:12

athlete does interval training so very

17:14

very hard interval followed by a period

17:16

of rest and another hard interval turns

17:18

out that that is a really really

17:19

productive way to work pretty much

17:20

regardless of the task at hand how to

17:23

rest during those off periods like you

17:27

said yeah I mean we haven’t seen

17:29

research it doesn’t mean there’s not

17:30

evidence out there maybe watching a

17:32

half-an-hour TV show could work but

17:34

where the research is currently three

17:37

main areas it is very very light

17:40

physical activity so

17:42

something like taking a walk meditation

17:44

and nature there’s some fascinating work

17:48

that even if you don’t have access to

17:50

nature but you can just look at pictures

17:52

of nature that helps turn off your

17:56

conscious effort full thinking brain and

17:58

allows your subconscious to go to work

18:01

amazing it to me that feels like a

18:04

Labrador like waving its tail looking

18:07

out of a window okay we do sig me on

18:09

this vlog yeah but I mean that’s reality

18:12

right that’s work that’s where we live

18:14

you know this this whole conversation is

18:16

making me think Europe may have gotten

18:19

it right because they did this like

18:21

excessive burnout and kind of fell back

18:23

into a lifestyle thing like we make fun

18:25

of them particularly these like

18:26

vacations and breaks but their

18:28

productivity is fine right and they’re

18:30

living their lives and they’re happier

18:31

in a lot of ways right totally into

18:34

their culture yeah exactly and and

18:36

that’s what the research plays out I

18:38

mean it’s like the it’s almost laughable

18:41

that we we work so long and then have

18:43

like a week of vacation and we expect

18:47

that to last but if you look at it those

18:49

benefits last for like two to three

18:51

weeks and then it’s like you’re back

18:53

down to square one stress levels and so

18:56

how do you expect like this week-long

18:58

vacation to carry you through and Europe

19:01

has you know figured it out where it’s

19:04

like hey if they want healthy productive

19:05

people then then they have to look at

19:08

them as as people and give them what

19:10

they need go for basis I think I think

19:12

the other nuance though and it’s funny

19:14

because like we we don’t want to be

19:18

pigeonholed is like the oh just rest and

19:20

all you have to do is rest and you’re

19:21

loyal to performer like the opposite

19:23

side of that is the stress part of the

19:25

equation and like you do really really

19:27

need to work hard to grow at something

19:29

and I think Steve mentioned this earlier

19:32

but what we found is that if you keep

19:36

your easy days easy and your easy

19:38

periods easy your hard periods will

19:40

actually be much harder and what ends up

19:42

happening with continuous work is maybe

19:44

you start here and you’re working really

19:45

hard for a few days but then what feels

19:47

like really hard is actually kind of

19:50

like in the middle right you’re like

19:51

grinding you’re going through the

19:53

motions you’re working as hard as you

19:54

can force up

19:55

because you’re tired but if instead you

19:58

would think of work as polar extremes a

20:00

really really hard deep focus single

20:03

tasking work in the zone and checking

20:06

out taking a 30 minute walk where you’re

20:08

just allow yourself to mind wander

20:11

sitting and meditating for a little

20:13

while taking a nap like working on those

20:16

two polar ends actually allows you to

20:19

have more productivity because you are

20:21

working really hard you’re just not

20:22

getting stuck in that gray zone so it’s

20:24

like interval training for work where

20:26

it’s like spritz and pan to recover

20:29

don’t do anything don’t check your phone

20:32

don’t take a work call while you’re on

20:33

the walk or stuff like that

20:35

exactly right interesting so in the

20:38

rooty so i’ve played with a lot of

20:39

different methods like I like the

20:41

Pomodoro method for the most part you

20:42

know 25 minutes yeah you know like these

20:45

little Sprint’s and I played with

20:46

different things like chunk time in the

20:48

mornings and all that what have you

20:50

found in terms of routines that have

20:52

been the most effective you know it’s

20:54

really about the individual and although

20:57

the research kind of showed like okay

20:59

you know is it 25 on five off or 50 on

21:03

10 off is there’s all of them seem to

21:06

work to some degree but it’s really what

21:08

the individual needs and that’s what

21:10

really came out when we talked to all

21:11

these performers across domains is that

21:13

everyone kind of you know experimented

21:17

until they found what seemed to work

21:19

best for them and I think that is our

21:21

our message in this book more than

21:23

anything is like don’t think like oh

21:26

this guy did you know 25 on and 5 off so

21:28

I’m going to speak to this meticulously

21:30

well it might not work for your schedule

21:32

or the way you kind of have adjusted to

21:35

things and it’s like give yourself the

21:37

flexibility to explore so you know give

21:40

it given the nurturing environment where

21:43

your boss allows you to do that and

21:44

something you can negotiate so how ok if

21:46

I if I’m sitting at my job job and I’m

21:49

like yo dude I have this thing where I’m

21:51

gonna take a break and like walk out

21:52

every 25 minutes trust me it works

21:55

that may or may not work but if I say

21:57

hey look at the data so I’ve been able

22:00

to prove that my productivity is higher

22:03

based on my own analysis so now let’s

22:05

work together that’s that’s quantitative

22:07

right so the question is how do I go

22:09

about

22:09

knowing what’s my best burn rate right

22:13

like if I’m going to do a

22:14

self-assessment how do I figure this out

22:16

and be honest with myself yeah that’s a

22:18

great question so I would I I would

22:21

start by trying to have some kind of

22:23

baseline of what your output is and that

22:28

wouldn’t just be quantity but also

22:29

quality so you’d almost want to rate

22:31

like how much am i producing and of what

22:33

quality and then I would also write how

22:35

do I feel because there’s all kinds of

22:38

research that shows that a happy worker

22:40

and a healthy worker is a better worker

22:42

and again coming back to it like less

22:44

employee turnover better job

22:46

satisfaction leads to better performance

22:48

so I would establish that baseline and

22:50

then I would give yourself some time to

22:52

experiment with various tweaks in your

22:54

routine and kind of come back and self

22:57

rate on those parameters so quantity

22:59

about quality of output and how one

23:01

feels yeah I think a lot of people just

23:03

don’t have a culture of measurement

23:06

right right they better know how to

23:07

measure they’re like maybe the boss

23:09

measures your performance right certain

23:10

metrics but I don’t think that’s built

23:11

into people’s operating system which is

23:13

far the problem is if you don’t track it

23:15

you don’t measure it then yeah will it

23:17

move but I would say that you know it’s

23:19

interesting so Steve said it’s very

23:20

individual and I totally agree I think

23:22

that the framework of like this notion

23:25

of stress and rest more with twenty five

23:27

minutes five fifty ten ninety fifteen

23:30

that works that makes sense I can

23:32

confidently say that the science is

23:34

clear that alternating between stress

23:36

and rest is a good way to work I think

23:38

where the tinkering has to happen is

23:40

figuring out what that means for you and

23:42

it might vary based on the task I know

23:45

if I’m working if I’m writing I can

23:47

write for about 90 minutes before I need

23:49

a break but if I am doing some other

23:51

kind of works I’m working on PowerPoint

23:53

I start to get very cloudy after thirty

23:55

minutes so it’s personal specific into

23:57

an extent task specific and I think a

24:00

lot of this can be figured out if you

24:01

just like aware are aware asking the

24:04

right questions and understand the

24:05

feedback it’s like you said most people

24:07

kind of go through it and never think to

24:09

think when am I at my best like how do I

24:12

measure productivity like if you can

24:14

start asking those questions you’re

24:16

going to be in a better place and then

24:18

also paying attention to like what your

24:20

body is telling you you know if you’re

24:22

60 minutes

24:23

working on a project and all of a sudden

24:25

every couple seconds like you’re

24:27

checking your phone

24:28

that’s probably telling you you’re like

24:29

you’re fatigued you’re tired you’re

24:31

checking out I think there’s a culture

24:33

of checking out that a lot of people

24:35

have kind of accepted as reality yes

24:37

yeah and in doing the awareness level

24:39

just isn’t there we’re like okay what am

24:41

i doing right now wow I was not here

24:45

yeah right so bringing that back in is

24:47

tough okay so you know dude runs a

24:49

four-minute mile actually that one

24:51

second probably doesn’t rise me not it’s

24:55

not a four 401 we run it ahead right but

25:00

like you could measure that me it’s not

25:02

just like boom here it is next time we

25:04

run fast yeah right or you can act you

25:06

didn’t hit that line at work it’s a

25:07

little more subjective possibly

25:11

objective but it’s like you know did you

25:13

do your spreadsheets better so that’s

25:15

something you just got to kind of work

25:16

out on your own right whoever whatever

25:18

your job is that’s hot that’s hard

25:20

that’s hard for some people and I just

25:21

want to make sure people you know you

25:23

guys have a clarity on this because I

25:24

want you to be able to execute on this

25:26

and move now some of the things that you

25:29

mentioned the book have to do with

25:31

purpose and having an overarching

25:33

purpose which to me is you know it seems

25:36

obvious right a lot of people aren’t

25:38

linked into purpose so what what first

25:40

of all would you find with the people

25:41

that you interviewed and then how does

25:43

one go about developing a purpose to be

25:46

able to roll like this yeah I mean what

25:48

we found is when we again we were

25:50

looking for commonalities and what we

25:52

found is when we talk to people talk to

25:55

all these great performers and ask them

25:56

all you know why do you do this like

25:58

where do you go for example Matt

26:00

Billingsley who’s Taylor Swift Dahmer

26:03

where do you go when you’re in the

26:04

middle of performing and from 80,000

26:07

people and you’re struggling or maybe

26:09

you know miss a beat there and you’re

26:11

thinking oh my gosh like I’m going to

26:13

screw this whole thing up and I’m going

26:14

to mess up Taylor Swift’s performance

26:16

where do you go when that happens and

26:18

almost inevitably they’d all say you

26:21

know I go to my family or I go to some

26:25

overarching reason that I’m doing this

26:27

and what that led us to see is that if

26:30

you have a purpose if you have a reason

26:34

for doing what you’re doing that is

26:35

beyond

26:36

yourself it not only leads to better

26:38

performance but it makes it sustainable

26:40

and one of the reasons for that is if

26:42

you’re only doing it for selfish reasons

26:45

and you mess up or you fail then it’s an

26:48

attack on yourself hmm right but if it’s

26:51

this bigger purpose from that then it’s

26:53

not your identity is tied to this

26:55

drumming and if I fail this this hit

26:58

then I’m a failure as a person it’s just

27:01

oh I just messed up I’m going to correct

27:03

this learn from it and do a better job

27:07

for more than just myself I think Brad

27:11

can probably go in how they develop a

27:13

little bit a little bit yeah absolutely

27:15

in there and there’s some really

27:16

interesting science too with so

27:19

conceptually that is a hundred percent

27:21

true and we would just I mean you could

27:23

ask just about anyone that if you are

27:25

doing something that is really hard and

27:27

you’re struggling and you’re doing it

27:29

for yourself

27:29

or you’re doing it for your mom or so

27:32

you can pay rent for your kids generally

27:35

if the answer is the latter for someone

27:37

else the person is more likely to stick

27:38

to it the extreme example of that is in

27:42

the literature they’re called acts of

27:43

superhuman strength so it is when a

27:46

child is stuck under a car or an animal

27:49

is under a car and the person comes up

27:51

and lifts the car and this does not

27:54

happen frequently but it happens more

27:56

frequently than we might think enough

27:57

where people study this phenomenon and

27:59

what they suspect is that that is like

28:02

the ultimate expression of transcending

28:05

yourself so the parts of your brain that

28:07

are associated with the fear response

28:09

that would normally say do not lift that

28:11

car you are going to throw out your back

28:13

and mess yourself up those parts of the

28:15

brain like go offline you already exist

28:18

a memo with bingo it’s simply the person

28:20

under the car and you know in with the

28:23

researchers that study this point out is

28:25

that if you were to offer someone ten

28:26

million dollars to lift the car wouldn’t

28:28

be able to lift the car but if someone

28:30

is stuck under that car again not

28:33

frequently but definitely more than once

28:35

those cars can get lifted um so I think

28:38

that that is that’s the extreme and well

28:41

the science is still unfolding a lot of

28:42

the work right now is on what parts of

28:45

your brain are associated with yourself

28:47

and with protecting yourself and how you

28:49

can

28:50

transcend those parts of your bring and

28:52

kind of overcome that protective

28:53

mechanism to get more out of yourself on

28:55

the less extreme and there have been

28:57

meta analyses tracking thousands of

29:00

workers and they find the individuals

29:02

who link their job to a greater source

29:03

of meaning or some greater purpose tend

29:06

to perform better and sustain their

29:07

performance I mean spiritual practice

29:09

101 right it become selfless and you

29:13

know whittle down the ego get out of

29:15

your own way make the why bigger than

29:16

the you I mean all these things that

29:18

that we know are now being validated on

29:21

you know in a lane that we deem to be so

29:25

important because everything is based on

29:26

our performance like we’re only as good

29:28

as our productive capacity like the

29:29

world’s going to judge us how much money

29:31

do you make and so it’s like oh wow if I

29:33

have these spiritual principles adopted

29:35

and I learned how to rest and spend more

29:37

time you know chilling out and being

29:39

with my family it actually makes me

29:40

better here as well so I don’t have to

29:43

compartmentalize it just have to be a

29:44

whole human and be balanced which is

29:46

which is kind of cool

29:47

totally and that is like it’s I’m so

29:50

glad that you said that because it’s

29:51

almost like we need to say that you’re

29:53

going to increase your performance to

29:55

convince people to do this but but like

29:57

I hope more than anything that readers

29:59

just feel better like they feel better

30:00

about themselves they feel more grounded

30:01

they give themselves space to cultivate

30:03

a spiritual practice and those other

30:05

things those other interests and they’re

30:07

going to perform better totally

30:09

enlightened self-interest right yeah

30:10

yeah and that’s that’s really it so if I

30:14

want to hack my environment and make it

30:18

so that it’s easier to remember to do

30:21

this I make aware something around my

30:23

wrist I got this thing beep at me well

30:24

you know whatever it is what have you

30:26

found as cues for someone who might be

30:28

you know going ok I get this but I

30:31

struggle with the awareness I struggle

30:32

with you know X Y & Z how do I adjust my

30:35

environment for me I personally like I

30:37

got rid of my desk I have a standing

30:38

desk right if I can’t sit there and get

30:41

lazy right I suddenly start to get

30:43

fidgety and I go ok something’s up yeah

30:45

in the book you know what we found and

30:47

there’s a chapter on what we call

30:49

priming and what we found is that all

30:51

the great performers they didn’t like

30:53

sit down on their desk and say alright

30:55

I’m going to write the best novel now

30:56

and gonna get it done here we go

30:58

it’s like let’s get it let’s go it’s you

31:01

know again

31:03

oh yeah favorites of materal but it’s

31:05

what they did is they set themselves up

31:07

for performance and that didn’t matter

31:09

whether you’re an athlete where they’re

31:11

right or whether you’re entrepreneur

31:13

like they set themselves up and the

31:16

examples I like to use is like just like

31:19

an athlete would go through a very

31:20

specific warm-up routine before a race

31:23

or game day or a competition to get

31:25

their body and their mind right the same

31:28

thing happens with artists with

31:29

intellects with writers as they do that

31:32

same thing and what we found is there’s

31:35

some really interesting science that

31:37

explains why it works is going back to

31:41

up you know all the way back to what we

31:43

call like behaviorism is like you can

31:47

create a habit by you know just like

31:50

ringing the bell and if you do it enough

31:53

it creates that right but the more

31:55

recent science shows called affordances

31:58

is that if I see a computer right and I

32:02

only write with that computer then the

32:05

area in my brain that like signals my

32:07

fingers to start writing gets activated

32:09

you see a little almost like a priming

32:13

effect in the brain telling you like I

32:15

should go do that so if you set up your

32:17

environment where okay I only write at

32:21

this desk and I only write on this

32:23

computer or I only you know when I need

32:27

to get work done I go to this coffee

32:29

shop at this time if you can set up your

32:32

environment like that you can almost

32:34

like prime your brain to say all right I

32:36

know when I’m at this desk I’m going to

32:39

do this activity and I’m going to blank

32:41

out everything else and your brain will

32:43

follow and you’ll get that done

32:44

predictability it’s almost like rituals

32:47

and goes into your everyday life it’s

32:50

funny is when I wrote my last book I

32:52

hugged the conference room upstairs over

32:55

here because it’s got all these white

32:56

walls and I was just like guys like yeah

32:58

this is my space for a while right and

33:00

literally just ideas it’s like I would

33:02

get in there and just bang out chapters

33:04

like like it was it was amazing because

33:06

I was in that space

33:07

exactly and anywhere else it was just I

33:10

was in the mess in the same zone right

33:12

that was the space to write that book

33:13

and so you know you can get that luxury

33:15

you have to take over

33:16

conference room you have to set that up

33:18

and queue that in your life somehow

33:20

right

33:21

exactly it’s all about creating that

33:23

queue and creating that space where it’s

33:25

like that is the only activity that

33:27

takes place in there or that is that is

33:29

what it is because you can set up that

33:30

queue and link it to something then your

33:33

chances of being productive are much

33:35

more than if you go sit on your couch

33:37

and you know the TV remote is right

33:39

there or you know the Wi-Fi is on and

33:42

all these other things that are

33:43

potential distractions we’re essentially

33:45

trying to like protect ourselves against

33:48

ourselves from you know going the wrong

33:50

way because I think it’s a it’s foolish

33:53

to think that you have the

33:54

self-discipline to ignore all these

33:56

distractions and the current age that we

33:59

live in speaking of which this thing

34:02

this laptop in front of me when this

34:06

thing ends up in the bed how dangerous

34:09

is that right there like the phone or

34:11

the laptop all these things when you’re

34:13

in like your rest space when you’re in

34:15

that that ritualistic place where you’re

34:17

like okay I’m unplugging and then you

34:19

hear ding or Bing or you know an email

34:21

comes in from your bank or something how

34:23

does that impact your ability to

34:25

actually decompress and do the rest that

34:28

you need not positively

34:31

um so it it’s a negative on two fronts

34:35

the the first front when it comes

34:38

particularly to sleep is that these

34:40

devices emit something called blue light

34:42

and blue light will throw off your

34:45

body’s biological clock and it when you

34:50

look at blue light and your body

34:51

literally thinks like oh it’s the middle

34:53

of the day and then your hormones follow

34:55

and you’re less likely to fall asleep

34:57

well so the devices and the device

35:00

manufacturers they’re smart so now you

35:02

can download apps that allow you to turn

35:04

down the the light emitting from the

35:06

screen and there are blue light filters

35:08

all kinds of products that’s all good

35:10

but what that doesn’t stop is the mind

35:13

racing that comes with picking up your

35:15

computer or picking up your phone even

35:19

if your phone is off or on silent just

35:21

having it in the room is detrimental for

35:24

your ability to truly rest and

35:27

recuperate because there’s a part of

35:29

your brain wondering

35:30

did someone tweet at me did someone text

35:32

me that I get an email are my kids

35:33

actually okay so it’s just like this

35:36

anxiety loop that’s created just by the

35:38

mere presence of having a phone in the

35:40

room um so again like Steve said relying

35:43

on self discipline is really really

35:46

tricky particularly when our phones or

35:48

computers are designed to suck us in so

35:51

what we found in both the research and

35:53

the reporting is that the best bet is

35:56

just to try to remove objects of desire

35:59

like a phone or a computer from your

36:01

visual sight altogether just out of your

36:04

space out of your mind out of sight out

36:06

of mind

36:06

yep yeah that makes sense and it’s not

36:08

to say that technology is bad the two of

36:11

us actually met on Twitter so like

36:14

technology is wonderful it’s a wonderful

36:16

way to share ideas and to connect people

36:17

that otherwise couldn’t be connected you

36:19

just have to use it mindfully well

36:21

that’s just it I mean look we’re on

36:22

technology right now yeah rod casting on

36:25

you know whenever I babble yeah so

36:27

that’s not the problem the problem is

36:29

unplugging and keeping everything in its

36:31

place so that you can also rest you can

36:33

also recover so the book is called peak

36:36

performance elevate your game avoid

36:38

burnout and thrive with the new science

36:41

of success Brad Bradshaw seems culinary

36:44

you got a rubber I gotta write in Steve

36:45

Magna yep and boom there’s the book and

36:49

Arianna Huffington David Epstein to get

36:52

some great great people behind it Bobby

36:54

Clean Energy some great people for it so

36:57

I love it I mean this this to me is kind

36:59

of spirituality for our new era which is

37:02

like data driven you know data driven

37:04

reasons to go do the stuff the guys have

37:07

been talking about for 6,000 years you

37:08

can fill that out and you know push hard

37:11

rest hard have fun all the things that

37:13

you know now science is starting to

37:15

validate and so I’m assuming you guys

37:17

have both suggested your burn rates you

37:19

look way more relaxed definitely yeah

37:22

yeah that’s positive thanks for talking

37:24

so check out the book let me know what

37:27

you think let’s continue this

37:28

conversation on social I will see you

37:30

next time dr. Pedram shojai citizen

37:34

[Music]

Where to find everyone

Brad Stulberg

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School of Thought

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