Finding romantic love in the 21st century and finding a job in the 21st century have a lot in common.

Image for post
Image for post

“Even in the late 19th century, marriage was more practicality than rom-com, whereas today’s daters are looking for nothing less than a human Swiss Army knife of self-actualization. We seek ‘spiritual, intellectual, social, as well as sexual soul mates,’ the sociologist Jessica Carbino told The Atlantic’s Crazy/Genius podcast. She said she regarded this self-imposed ambition as ‘absolutely unreasonable.’”

These words came from a recent essay, “Why Online Dating Can Feel Like Such an Existential Nightmare,” written by Derek Thompson for The Atlantic. Thompson makes a nuanced case that online dating isn’t necessarily good or bad, it just is.

The Good: Being able to short-circuit the process of meeting people who satisfy non-negotiable criteria, especially if you are a minority (e.g., LGBTQ living in a mostly straight area). Online dating also expands the playing field for everyone. People used to meet through family, friends, and religious organizations. Who is to say that these old ways of meeting people were any better than online dating? Their scope is certainly narrower than all single people on the internet; and a church’s or neighbor’s algorithm is less sophisticated than an online dating one. …


Awe deprivation is common, but it doesn’t need to be

Image for post
Image for post
An Apollo 11 astronaut’s footprint in the lunar soil, photographed by a 70 mm lunar surface camera during the Apollo 11 lunar surface extravehicular activity Photo: NASA/Getty Images

Astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, who piloted Apollo 14 and was the sixth American to walk on the moon, once described his 1971 lunar landing mission as an “ecstasy of unity.” The experience, he said, offered “an overwhelming sense of universal connectedness.”

It’s a feeling that links him to a tiny fraction of human beings — but within this small community, it’s widespread. Many other astronauts have recalled similarly overwhelming sensations of awe seeing Earth from space. Ron Garan, who has traveled over 71,000,000 miles and orbited the Earth over 2,800 times, calls this “orbital perspective.” He says access to such a profound point of view helped him to focus on the things that really mattered in his daily, earthly life. …


Fascinating new research helps explain why some keep going when others quit.

Image for post

Great athletes are fascinating. It’s a thrill to watch the very best of the very best. And though your natural abilities (or lack thereof) may prevent you from becoming as good as the champs, you can improve yourself by emulatingtheir behavior. And yet there’s an overlooked group that is worth your attention, too, if for a very different reason: the almost greats, those who were once good enough to play with the best of the best, but ended up in second-rate leagues.

It’s the perennial million-dollar question of nature versus nurture, sure. But the difference between the greats and the almost-greats (which, by the way, applies well beyond sports) also appears to be at least partially driven by one specific thing — how each group responds to adversity. …


Image for post
Image for post

If you’ve ever been stuck with a crying baby you know that yelling back at it does not make matters better. It only makes them worse.

There are two skillful ways of working with a crying baby:

1) Hold it, rock it, cradle it, and show it love.

2) Let the baby cry it out; stop trying to intervene; and create a safe space for the baby to exhaust itself.

We’d be wise treat ourselves the same way we treat crying babies. When we mess up, fall short, break a good habit, give into a bad one, get caught in a negative thought cycle, or find ourselves stuck in a bad mood state the inclination is to yell back. We berate ourselves for failing and judge ourselves for thinking and feeling negatively. …


Image for post
Image for post

A few years ago, when I began to focus more on entrepreneurial pursuits, my mom, a former writer herself, gifted me a little book titled Passion: Every Day. It was filled with inspiring quotes like “I dare you, while there is still time, to have a magnificent obsession” and “follow your desire as long as you live.” This book is not unique. It’s part of a larger canon that portrays passion in an uber-positive light. The key to a good life, these books argue, is finding your passion and then following it wherever it leads. This is an especially prevalent narrative in technology, where passion is considered a prerequisite for lots of jobs. …


Society has primed us to care about ego and status. Here’s how to get past that.

Image for post
Image for post

Earlier this year, Anne Helen Petersen wrote an essay for BuzzFeed entitled “How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation.” The basic gist was that millennials, people between the ages of 22 and 38, tend to suffer from a combination of low-level anxiety, fatigue, and dread caused be a feeling that they should always be working. “I couldn’t figure out why small, straightforward tasks on my to-do list felt so impossible,” Petersen wrote. The answer she came to was “millennial burnout.”

The essay went viral and after it was published, there were a lot of articles written about millennial burnout — both its causes and potential remedies. These pieces have raised important points about student debt, the gig economy, the latest recession, and how America fails to provide adequate health care, childcare, and paid-time-off. …


A few thoughts on closing the knowing-doing gap

Image for post
Image for post

You can’t think, wish, or feel yourself into a new mindset.

Here’s a common trap: You tell yourself I’m reading, thinking, and talking about whatever it is I want to be doing, so I’m good. But reading, thinking, and talking about something isn’t the same thing as doing it. If you really want to change, you’ve got to start doing it.

I call this the knowing-doing gap.

Yes, some level of knowing, of conceptual understanding, is important. But just because you know something inside and out doesn’t mean it’s taken deep roots inside of you. That kind of depth and transformation tends only to follow action. Taking action isn’t easy, particularly if you are acting in a way that runs counter to your built up habit energies; cultural forces; workplace pressures; or family patterns. Sometimes taking action — even if you know it’s the right thing to do — can feel like a chore, especially at first. …


Learn How to get into the mindset that leads to mastery

Image for post
Image for post

Common advice is to find and follow your passion. But it’s not so simple. You don’t just magically stumble upon the feeling and enjoy everything from there. Expecting to only sets you up for repeated disappointment. Passion needs to be cultivated and nurtured. Otherwise, what was once something you loved may start to feel like a chore, and burnout looms right around the corner. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There is a set of actionable principles that supports the kind of ongoing passion that yields not just peak performance but also a rich and fulfilling life.

As I report in my new book The Passion Paradox: A Guide to Going All In, Finding Success, and Discovering the Benefits of an Unbalanced Life, nearly every top performer to whom I spoke — from star athletes like Shalane Flanagan to creative gurus like Rich Roll — shared a few common characteristics, all of which are supported by emerging science on passion and performance. We’ve come to call this bundle of principles the “mastery mindset.” Adopting this mindset is key to living and performing with passion — without burning out. …


Nearly everything people think is true about living their best life is wrong. Here’s how to follow your passion without burning out.

Image for post
Image for post

A few years ago, when I began to focus more on my writing career, my mom, a former writer herself, gave me a book titled Passion: Every Day. It was filled with inspiring quotes like “I dare you, while there is still time, to have a magnificent obsession” and “follow your desire as long as you live.” The book is part of a larger canon that argues that the key to a good life is just magically finding your passion — a word often vaguely used to describe a general enthusiasm, drive, or intensity for something — and then following it wherever it leads. …


Over the last three years, I’ve been researching, reporting, and writing a book on the nuance of passion. It’s a book that aims to get beneath the superficial and trite cliche (e.g., “find and follow your passion”) and instead explore a complex topic in all it’s complexity — the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly. What follows are some of the most important principles that this process uncovered.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

For more on The Passion Paradox, a first of it’s kind book that aims to explore the truth about finding and following passion, click here.

About

Brad Stulberg

Author: PEAK PERFORMANCE, THE PASSION PARADOX. Also articles & essays. Co-Creator of The Growth Equation. Coach to execs, entrepreneurs, and MDs.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store