Ep03: The Science Behind Success and Creative Burnout (And Why You’re Approaching Both Mostly Wrong) | with Eric Barker

If you work in a creative profession and put your heart and soul into everything you do, burnout (and ultimately depression) seems inevitable. You work crazy hours, you eat crap, your deadlines are insane, and you’re stuck in front of a computer for what seems like an eternity. But creative burnout isn’t as inevitable as you might think.

Even though you may feel like you’re spinning your wheels, you aren’t getting any closer to achieving your goals, and your colleague with half the talent is getting paid twice as much and advancing twice as fast as you, there are specific things you can do to overcome creative burnout and make more significant progress towards achieving your true goals.

In this episode I have an in-depth conversation with Eric Barker, author of “Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong” about why creative burnout is so common in our 24/7 technology addicted go-go-go society, and more importantly, what you can do about it.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • Eric Barker’s history tackling the concept of “success”
  • Embracing a variety of paths towards and definitions for success
  • Pursing academic information in a creative industry
  • The cultural impact of High School Valedictorians
  • The relationship between academic and personal success
  • Separating perfectionism from fulfillment
  • Environmental influences on creative burnout
  • The importance of refining your specialties
  • Strategic quitting and focusing on signature strengths
  • “Happiness breeds success,” not the other way around
  • Optimism’s role in the path to success
  • The cultural stigma of depression

Useful Resources Mentioned:

www.bakadesuyo.com (Eric’s blog)

Our Generous Sponsors:

This episode is made possible by Ergodriven, the makers of the Topo Mat, my #1 recommendation for anyone interested in moving more at their height-adjustable workstation. Listen, standing desks are only great if you’re standing well, otherwise you’re constantly fighting fatigue and chronic pain. Not like any other anti-fatigue mat, the Topo is scientifically proven to help you move more throughout the day which helps reduce discomfort and also increase your focus and productivity. And they’re really fun and a great conversation starter.

Guest Bio:

Eric Barker’s humorous, practical blog, “Barking Up the Wrong Tree”, presents science-based answers and expert insight on how to be awesome at life. Over 310,000 people subscribe to his weekly newsletter and his content is syndicated by Time Magazine, The Week, and Business Insider. He has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, and the Financial Times. Eric is also a sought-after speaker and interview subject, and has given talks at MIT, Yale, Google, the University of Pennsylvania, NPR affiliates, and on morning television.

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, and the show notes were prepared and published by Jakin Rintelman. Special thanks to Krystle Penhall and Sarah Furie for helping to spread the love!

The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).

Note: I believe in 100% transparency, so please note that I receive a small commission if you purchase products from some of the links on this page (at no additional cost to you). Your support is what helps keep this program alive. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor & producer (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, an American Ninja Warrior, and the creator of Optimize Yourself. He believes we all deserve to love what we do for a living...but not at the expense of our health, our relationships, or our sanity. He provides the education, motivation, and inspiration to help ambitious creative professionals DO better and BE better. “Doing” better means learning how to more effectively manage your time and creative energy so you can produce higher quality work in less time. “Being” better means doing all of the above while still prioritizing the most important people and passions in your life…all without burning out in the process. Click to download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”