The Practice of Groundedness with Brad Stulberg

hey, simple passive cashflow listeners. Today, we are going to be talking with Brad Solberg, who is dropping his book It’s releasing this week, the practice of groundedness. We’d like to take a break from the real estate investing tax legal.

Infinite banking, which by the way, we’re also dropping the infinite banking e-course this week. If you guys want to pick that up, go to simplepassivecashflow.com/banking. A lot of you guys are high paid professionals, and what also say are really type a personalities , with the path to financial freedom, you guys realize that it actually is pretty simple.

But how do we create a well-rounded life with happiness and something that doesn’t pressure our soul, which we’re going to talk about today. Brad, thanks for coming on.

Yeah Lane thanks for having me on the show and a chance to talk to your community about the new book.

Talk to us about how you started down where did the book come from?

I like to think about this topic using the metaphor of a mountain and when most people see a mountain, the first thing that they notice is the peak.

That’s where their eyes go, everybody glances up. And the second thing that you’ll notice, particularly if it’s a striking or really prominent mountain is the slope, the steepness of it. No one ever looks at a mountain and says, wow, look at the base of that thing. Yet without a strong and solid base when rough weather comes, the peak and the slope, they can’t hold. They’re not stable. The mountain degrades over time. And in my own executive coaching practice, what I realized I worked with so many very high performing entrepreneurs, executives that have spent so much time focusing on the slope or the metaphorical peak of their mountains and not enough time tending to their foundations or that base.

And as a result, even though they experience great conventional success, they often feel a lack of fulfillment. I call this If-Then Syndrome. They tell themselves a story. If I get promoted into the C-suite, then I’ll be content. If I hit 2 million in saving, then I’ll be content. If I buy this house, then I’ll be content.

And what they find is that once they get to that place where they thought that they’d be content and fulfilled, they’re not. They still want more. Some of this is just. You’re driven. You’re high achieving. You want to strive for greatness, but if that striving for greatness gets way too unchecked, then you don’t have fun along the way.

You can’t experience joy. You constantly feel empty and that ultimately led me to explore , what would it look like to pursue success in a way that is more grounded? Hence the title of the book, the practice of grounded-ness. What does the latest research, what do you ancient wisdom traditions?

What do people that really practice this have to say about building and maintaining a strong foundation? A strong base on top of which any striving can . And the answer, it’s paradoxical. It’s not that you stop striving. You don’t become a monk in a Zen monastery, completely disconnected from the world.

What happens is you still strive, but the texture of that striving changes. It goes from a place of compulsion or need or fragility. To a place of fulfillment and strength. And that’s the practice of groundedness. And then the book, obviously as well, how do you develop this quality? What are the principles that make for a healthy foundation?

And we’ll dig into that a little bit more, personally, like I’ve literally done that in the last five to 10 years where, I have a journal in the form of a spreadsheet of course where I’ve written down, like when I get this, I will be happy when right. And every six months I’ve written stuff down.

10 years ago, it’s funny. It’s I’ll be happy when I have three rentals or 11 rentals, or when I, invest passively in my first invest our apartment. And then it was like moving away from Seattle to Hawaii or having this wanted like a C class Mercedes car. That was a big thing for me.

If you do this, you have to write this stuff down and you don’t just go on autopilot in life. You start to realize that when you put that flag in the sand or, summit the mountain one step over a period of time, you start to realize it’s endless maze, or it’s just a constant path. I would encourage everybody to go through that exercise. It’s probably going to take you guys a handful of years. You guys are really smart and like philosophical about this stuff. You guys will figure it out and maybe six to 12 months. Where are we go from there, Brad?

An exercise in the book in a huge part of the book and it walks readers through this is to reflect on what I call your core values. So these are the things that you most aspire to that make you who you are, or perhaps even if you really admire, look up to someone else, these are the things that you admire about them.

The qualities and characteristics that you see. And want to embody yourself. It could be things like health, creativity, love, family, community, vulnerability, presence, authenticity on and on. You pick between three and five of this. Then it’s super important to define them in very concrete terms.

Lane, let’s say that you tell me a core value of yours is community. That’s really ambiguous and broad. What does community mean to you? Give me one or two sentences and I’m asking you you don’t actually have to do it right now, but really get concrete. What does community mean? Let’s do the exercise.

I wouldn’t say community is a big for you, maybe like honor. Okay, great then how would you define it? Not having like spineless people that just take over on you and I want to personify that, right? I’m not just doing things for money or because it brings me, money in the bank, but do things that Sprite at the end of the day.

If you think about your day to day life or your week to week or month to month life, what practices can you engage in that represent honor?

Do things that make things better at the end of the day for majority of people not just driven by the bottom line, thinking if you can, and I know I’m putting you on the spot here, get even more concrete. What is that? Give me an action that does that.

I mean find people in my network and cut people out that don’t personify that. But then you have those people in your network how are you honorable with them? Okay it’s more for things I’m doing personally?

What are you doing? Yeah.

Trying to figure out how to help them, whether investors or employees.

I would push you to get even more concrete and maybe it is three times a month help an investor or an employee in a way that has nothing to do with your own success or bottom line. That then is how you practice honor.

 

What the book asks you to do is identify three to five of these core values, get really concrete. Like we just did into practices and then you show up and you practice those values consistently. Start at a very noble or honorable core value, and then you get all the way down to habits you can practice.

And that helps ground you in the present moment because regardless if you get that C class or you get that house or you get that passive income, whatever it is y ou can show up today, act in alignment with your core values. And it’s really ironic. We think in so many bullshit self-help offers tell us this, that we need to be like super motivated and inspired to get going.

But what all the latest scientific research says is actually the opposite. You need to get going to give yourself a chance to feel inspired or motivated. Don’t have to engage in positive thinking or self-talk, or get all hyped up. You just show up and act consistently in alignment with your core values.

And I argue that’s ultimately the key to building this kind of grounded foundation upon which you can strive. There are two ways to strive for that c-Class one is without this foundation and you get there and you might be pretty stoked for a day, maybe even a week, but then ultimately you feel empty.

 

It’s like what you said, crap. What’s the next thing. The other way is to strive by showing up day-to-day consistently acting on your core values and then the C class you enjoy it. It’s a nice thing to have, but it doesn’t leave you immediately seeking the next thing because you’ve built a steady foundation that day in and day out.

Cause that C-Class gets old and a little dirty. Researchers call this, the arrival fallacy in the arrival fallacy is just that. So many people myself at times included, this is all humans, we tell ourselves a story that will arrive when something magical happens. But the goalpost is always 10 yards down the field.

We never really arrived. We’ve got to learn how to be able to embrace the process of going for outcomes that we care about because it’s the process that makes up our days. It’s about also you could argue it’s shifting from an outcome oriented mindset to a process oriented mindset. And if you nail the process and you enjoy the process, the outcomes take care of themselves.

Whereas if you’re so fixated on these certain outcomes, it can cause you to become pretty anxious and restless.

And I think that’s exactly what I do, when, like whenever we do a deal, I personally find like one little stupid thing. I want to buy on Amazon or like a little reward to get me to that next goalpost.

I also do this with my teams. I’ll tell them like what’s the goal. What’s something that you guys want on Amazon again. Cause it’s easy. It’s like when we hit a goal, you’ll get that. But yeah, I guess what you’re telling me, that’s the wrong way of going about it, right? That’s the achievers.

Again, I want to be clear. It’s okay to Buy a nice watch, buy a nice car, whatever it is . This is not about not achieving or not chasing goals. I think what I am saying is it’s about not getting so fixated on those goals and instead, figuring out what can I do today to show up live alignment in my core values, how can I be present?

How can I be patient? How can I be vulnerable? How can I build community? How can I do these things that I know are going to be the solid foundation? That are there for me. And they keep me strong, regardless of what’s happening externally. This is the stuff where your portfolio absolutely crushes out of your mind performance

and this foundation provides you gravity so you don’t completely go off the rocker and make a mistake. Take a risk that’s unnecessary. The flip side is also we go through a recession portfolio tanks. There’s some kind of external event that you could never imagine. It’s this foundation that holds you up during those difficult times.

And again, the whole argument of the book is so much about the current culture tells us to only focus on the peak of the mountain or the slope. Again, this is the metaphor for our own lives and we neglect these foundational principles that are really the most important thing that support everything else.

What is another common value that you see in, what are maybe a few habits that you’ve stumbled upon that you see a lot of people? I think one that your listenership in particular Lane will resonate with is taking something that is very common in sound investors and applying it to all of your life, which is don’t go for like big heroic efforts.

Don’t try to hit home runs just consistently put the ball on in play. Small steps consistently taken over long periods of time, lead to big gains. In investing, this is the rule of compounding. But the rule of compounding is also true for developing relationships, for taking control of your health for better nutrition, for really any kind of daily practice.

Again, the current culture says. You should find a way to hack your way to greatness. There’s overnight success, take 19 different supplements and you’ll be Superman or superwoman and none of that’s true, of course. The real way to get long-term gains no different than investing is to be patient.

And take consistent small steps over time. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t adjust your strategy as you go, but if you try to swing for the fences, you often strike out. So it’s much better to just have small, consistent gains. That’s how you build a durable base. So that’s one key value of groundedness.

Another key value of groundedness is this notion of accepting where you are to get where you want to go. So often we don’t see clearly the current situation that we’re in. We put on our like rose tinted glasses and we tell ourselves a story that it’s better than it really is, or it’ll quickly change, or, a whole bunch of these kinds of stories that dilute ourselves from actually seeing reality for what it is.

And it feels good in the short term, but in the long-term it’s detrimental because if you’re not clear about what’s actually in front of you, then you can’t take wise action to impact. So there’s a practice in the book around self distancing, because so often we’re better at giving advice to our friends than ourselves.

For areas of our lives that we’re really struggling with the exercise is pretend that a close friend is in the exact same situation as you. What advice would you give that friend and then go do that thing so often. People give advice to a friend that’s very different than what they’re doing it’s so simple, but it’s hard.

The example of this is I’ve worked with some elite athletes and they hate being injured and I’ve coached elite athletes that are literally limping out the door with a sprain hamstring to go do their workout because they don’t want to miss it. And I say, Jim, if you saw a training partner, limping out the door to do a workout, what would you tell.

He’s like, I tell him just rest, take one or two more days off. So you don’t blow up your hamstring. And then it’s why are you limping out the door to do a workout? Like you need to follow that advice yourself. Acceptance seeing situations clearly, even when you necessarily , even when you don’t necessarily want it to is another key principle.

Community, we talked a little bit about this, but investing in relationships, realizing that if you are going to take this process view of life much of what makes a process fulfilling and enjoyable is the people that you’re along the ride with. And I think what happens too often with high achievers is we’ve become so focused on what’s out in front of us.

So focused on efficiency and optimization that it cannibalizes the time and energy that we need to build those close relationships. So it’s a little bit about reprioritizing, the role of community in our lives. Obviously COVID has made that challenging over the last year and a half. But I think we’re seeing even more so just how important it is because we’re realizing like, wow, it’s really tough to be isolated.

So those are just a few other examples. That community thing is a big importance and especially in investing. Lot of people , they listened to the podcast while they’re doing chores or just stay in their boxers on their computer.

These are the guys who go through this syndication e-course . But the whole point is you get to know a little bit baseline so that if you do happen to find other accredited investors, you can build those relationships. And that’s the community aspect of it.

And we do a lot better in communities too.

We like to think and tell ourselves a story that we’re the center of the universe, but we’re actually not. We’re just a little speck and the people with whom we surround ourselves have an enormous impact on us. So the best way to be a really thoughtful, patient, consistent investor is to surround yourself with really patient thoughtful, consistent investors.

The best way to become a great athlete is to surround yourself with other great athletes. The best way to become a loving patient parent is to develop relationships with other loving patient parents. And again, I think what happens in our like outward focused optimization hustle culture. Because we spend so much time pushing forward for these things out in front of us, that we neglect the time and energy to build those communities.

Going back to the whole community thing your network is your net worth is what we always say. I still have free onboarding calls if you guys want to get signed up for that fees to go to the website I think it’s simplepassivecashflow.com/contact but we asked you guys to join the club first, do your pre-work first before booking that call with me.

Some strange people that they’d like to do everything by themselves. They’re most of them are introverts office, but these are the guys like investing in notes and private money lending and there they stay to themselves. To them, they think 10 31 exchanges is a good idea.

Their strategy is just whack, right? And there’s a huge difference between those people like that and people who get all these other investment constants that we get, the biggest difference is like those people don’t interact and play nice with others, from somebody who sees a whole bunch of different people, the successful people and the people, they might have a semi high net worth, but they’re just doing it the wrong way.

They’re driving around with a handbrake on. It’s the ability to who you know, and collecting the best practices from your network so just another plug for community there. But Brad, your kind of mindset I like I really personify with the stoicism type of mindset.

For those you guys not aware of that. I’ll let you define that for us.

Yeah. So the Stoics, it’s a group of thought that came out of the ancient Roman empire. And it is very much one of trying to cultivate equanimity. So inability to absorb life’s highs and lows and counter to common belief.

Stoicism is not about not feeling emotion or not showing emotion. I think a lot of people are very misconstrued and confused about that. Cause we hear oh, you’re so stoic. You don’t show emotion. Now the Stoics had tons of emotion, but what they realized is that the human life is going to contain all kinds of highs and all kinds of lows.

And if you’re going to have skin in the game and you’re going to care deeply about pursuits. Eventually those pursuits are going to break your heart cause they don’t always go your way. And what stoicism teaches is that you take the highs and you smile and then you kiss them goodbye and you take the lows and you let them hurt you.

And then you kiss them goodbye because everything’s impermanent. There’s this quote at the start of the book from a stoic philosopher Epictetus that said people complain that their hands and feet are hurting in callous. Of course your hands and feet are hurting if you’re going to live a life and you’re going to use your hands and feet, then your hands and feet will become hurting in callous.

The point being that there is no free lunch. And if you want to have skin in the game and you want to put yourself out there, it is going to be distressing at times. And we have to accept that. And if we refuse to accept that, what ends up happening is we don’t take risks. Our lives become smaller, not larger, or we dilute ourselves and we’d pretend that none of that bad stuff’s going to happen.

And when it does, we get totally surprised and completely blown apart.

Another stoic lesson that I like is the obstacles the way, when things are getting tough, that should be a good sign for you that usually makes most of the other competition give up. And when you get past that obstacle, things are going to be much better for you doing the lower competition.

Look, I talk about being at the point of discomfort. So growth comes from being a little bit uncomfortable. If you’re always comfortable, you’re probably not growing. This is true in any domain of life. So it’s really important to identify what areas of my life do I want to grow in. It could be anything from lifting weights, becoming a better investor, being in more intimate relationships.

Learning more about NASCAR, you name it. And if you’re completely comfortable in those areas of your life, then you’re not setting yourself up for growth. Now this isn’t about jumping off the deep end that just leads to anxiety. That’s no fun. It’s about finding just manageable challenge is what I call them in the book.

Things that are adversely slightly outside your comfort zone, and then going and pursuing those things. Again, you don’t want to do this in all areas of your life at the same time, either because that can be overwhelming. But for those select areas that you do want to grow in, it’s so helpful to make yourself a little bit uncomfortable.

I see this play out and I see people get a lot of success with this especially like most of our listeners are introverts. They don’t really get it. They’re a little scared of people. They come out to the Hawaii meetup and the retreat and they meet their tribe.

More introverted people that are interested in these types of financial topics and their financial fat fanatics. But yeah, I think a lot of you guys, I don’t want to pigeon hole the audience, but I think a lot of you guys out there do subscribe to the stoic philosophy and I think it’s your jam.

I do think there’s a lot of misconception around introvert too Lane. I think that introverts and I’m an introvert. We get this wrap is being like very much wanting to be isolated and left alone. And what the research shows is that’s not the case at all. What introverts generally want is really deep connection in focus and conversation.

If you go to a huge party, which most introverts don’t like doing, it’s hard to have that, especially if it’s a deep party where you don’t know anyone. You’re not going to get that one-on-one intimacy or finding your tribe. Whereas most introverts thrive in small groups of like-minded people. So it’s not that

I’m either in or out it’s do I thrive walking into a room with all kinds of people or do I want to be a little bit more deliberate and intentional about how I build that community? So for introverts is kind of like, you know, you’re getting out of your comfort zone and when you feel that typically is a good sign, And so the other two that I wanted to briefly go over Brad, if you could help us explain you also follow the ancient wisdom of Buddhism and a Taoism what are the kind of like the two big takeaways from those two, for those people who aren’t super familiar.

Yeah. So like stoicism, a huge takeaway from Buddhism is this notion of impermanence, which is the everything changes. As an investor, it’s really important to remember that because it prevents you from clinging to the highs and then being really disappointed when they’re no longer high or getting so caught up in the lows that you become despairing and depressed.

So you could sum up Buddhism. In two words are the teachings of Buddhism, which is everything changes. And. I actually think that’s really empowering because what it means is that the future is not yet determined. And if we can build again, the strong foundation of grounded-ness to support everything else that we do in our life, the stuff that comes and goes and changes will be able to hold all of that.

See it clearly, and then take wise action as a result. And Taoism is very much about paying close attention to what is going on around you. Ancient houses and they called it the way and the way is the flow of the universe. And what Taoism teaches is that we are always operating in harmony with what’s around us at the highest level.

Alluded to this earlier, you never really go at it alone and paying attention to what’s happening around you is so important for yourself. And I think all of these ancient wisdom traditions, they really point toward the value of I’m going to sound like a broken record, but accepting and seeing things clearly so that you can take wise action being really present

that’s a part of seeing things, clearly paying close attention. Patience which is letting things unfold on their own time. Taking small steps for big gains, realizing the consistency compounds, not trying to always hit home runs, but being really deliberate and just walking a long path, having a long view and vulnerability, which is about putting your skin in the game it’s really easy to fake it and be too cool to care.

And I believe that’s a protective mechanism because you’re scared to actually try something because if you try something you could fail and you have to be okay with that.

Other than picking up your book, the practice of groundedness on Amazon. Brad Stulberg , B R A D S T U L B E R G, any other last parting thoughts?

I really appreciate you having me. If you all liked what I had to say I’d be honored if you read the book. I tried to write it in a way. I guess this will be my last thought. I wanted to close the knowing doing gap in this book

so many books are all about knowing. So they help you understand the topic.

Which is great, but they miss the doing part. Which is okay, now that I understand these principles, now that I understand this philosophy, now that I can express this mindset, how do I actually show up day in and day out and implement it.

In every single page of this book I checked against the criteria of, will this be valuable for someone to actually do something in their life that is productive and different as a result.

And I think that for anything that you read, whether it’s my book or something else. I would really push yourself to realize it’s one thing to know and be able to talk about something. It’s another thing to do it and practice it, which is why the title is not just groundedness. It’s the practice of grounded.

Yeah, thanks for thanks for doing that because that’s, it drives me crazy. And why don’t I try not to read too many books? Cause like they like tell me all these stupid scientific studies, like what’s the one, the power of habit. That was a horrible book. It just told me all these stupid like scientific studies and nothing like nothing practical that I could implement.

It just wasted my time. I hope that if you guys read my book, it’ll be a very different experience because I tried to write like the kind of anti at that book. I want every single page to be hey, here are concrete practices that you can implement in your daily life that will make you more grounded.

And I think that’s maybe that’s a type a and me like everything. I do everything I spend my time on. It should create some kind of habit change or actionable item if it isn’t, it’s just wasting your time. Yeah. But I need to be more grounded. Shut out a little bit too. You’ll read the book and hopefully your whole community does too.

I appreciate you having me on the show today.

Thanks, Brad. Again, the practice of groundedness and get out of your comfort zone guys. Join our community simple, passive cashflow.com/club. I don’t know why you haven’t signed up yet and reach out to me.Book your onboarding call.

I won’t fight. I’m a real person. So many people have been listening for two to three years. And it just finally now picking up the zoom call and talking to me. Those are your action items. Pick up practice of groundedness, read practice in pick up the phone and call Lane, or schedule your onboarding call. I won’t yell at you guys.

I promise. All right lane. Thanks for having me on. Thanks everyone for listening. And if you pick up the book, I appreciate it. Take care of everyone.

 

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