10 Tips for a Happy Life From 'Good Bones' Renovator Tad Starsiak
What you didn't know about Good Bone's Tad Starsiak: He's a mental health and wellness guru. Get inspired by the indelible optimism within this demolition beast below.
HGTV fans know Tad Starsiak best for his rough-and-tumble handiwork in the hit home renovation series Good Bones, helmed by his half-sister, Mina Starsiak Hawk and her mom, Karen E Laine. All sledgehammers aside, when the Indianapolis native isn't ripping apart old houses, he's focused on building others up by spreading love and positivity. We talked to Tad about his knack for optimism, the benefits of meditation, his role models, the book he's writing and the super-inspiring show he's dreaming up. Ahead: All the feel-good lessons Tad wants to share.
1. Stay Authentic
When filming began on the first season of Good Bones, Tad was only 20 years old. Throughout the seasons, viewers have watched him evolve from a "goofy, crazy demo guy" (as he puts it) into a skilled builder in his own right. Though he admits being on television was a bit awkward at the start, it never deterred him from being himself.
"There's a lot that's happened in my life that's made me my carefree self and it's something I'm unwilling to give up. I've never been super worried about being in front of the camera. As long as I am who I am, then I'm satisfied with that," he says.
2. With Perseverance Comes Mental Growth
The self-proclaimed "Demo God" has come a long way since the first time he gutted a house for Mina, which he confesses left him covered in soot and in tears. Now, when it comes to long demo days, he shares it's about keeping mind over matter.
"I always joke with people that I have the 'ox gene.' If you put an ox on a yoke, it wants to pull," he says. "And for some reason 90- to 100-degree weather and hard manual labor is something I really enjoy. I think it's a good head space … when you get tired it gets philosophical because it's a challenge of the mind."
3. There's a Silver Lining to Deep Sadness
Tad's mental strength is an attribute he gained from an immense amount of loss during his formative years (his mother, grandmother and his childhood best friend). When he was 14, Tad attended a retreat run by monks in Colorado that restored his faith in love and changed the trajectory of his life.
There's nothing wrong with optimism.
Tad shares: "These strangers loved me in a way I [hadn't] really felt loved since my mom died. After that, I was like, 'You know what? I can be this love that I feel like I lost.' There's a lot of different approaches you can put on that, but there's nothing wrong with optimism. An optimist is somebody who is constantly conveying the best of their heart and saying, 'This is the world that I want to live in despite the negativity that is currently here.'"
4. Pack Your Morning With Mindfulness
"Each day I wake up and stretch for 20 minutes. Keeping the body loose is super helpful. Emotion tends to build up in the body and get tight. I work on memorizing the Dhammapada, which is a Buddhist kind of bible, but it isn't a religion, it's more of a practice. I do a 10-minute meditation. I practice a language on Duolingo. Then I journal and I'm off to the races for the day after my morning coffee," he says.
5. Meditation Is a Must
"I think learning the background information on meditation is helpful — you're creating new neural pathways and connections to synapses. So it helps both of your hemispheres work together at the same time for better brain function. It can stave off different diseases. It helps regulate blood pressure and autonomic functions," he says.
6. Spread Positivity With the Way You Dress
And you can, too! With the intention of radiating light and love into the world, Tad started a clothing line in 2020 called Love Heals.
"I felt like I could create apparel with positive messages that will reach people and knock them out of their day-to-day. Maybe they had a bad day and that's what they needed to see. It seemed like a good starting point with the resources I had at the time," he shares.
7. Take a Cue in Compassion From Furry Friends
Growing up, Tad — who now has three dogs of his own — always had a four-legged friend to help him through the hard days.
"If we all acted like our dogs act, the world would be an immensely better place. There's an unending amount of love that you can receive from them and people could learn a lesson from that," he says.
8. Lean On Your Role Models
"My older brother William … was really the person that reached out and grabbed me and helped me get my head right. Him and I share a lot of the same beliefs, ideologies and thoughts," he shares. "And then my stepdad, Lenny. His way of saying 'I love you' is my favorite: 'If you ever get lost, I'll come find you.' Which may be hard to convey, but when he makes eye contact with you, you know he would span the world to make sure that you're safe. My character and work ethic come from him raising me."
9. Live As Big As Your Dreams
At 29 years old, Tad has a lot of plans for the next decade of his life, which include growing the construction company he started last year and expanding his rental portfolio. In addition to his work in real estate, he's also writing a guide to emotional intelligence with the working title Constructing Happiness.
"I've really shown myself how willing I am to work to make something happen," he shares.
10. Put Your Intentions Into the Universe!
For Tad, this means manifesting his own HGTV show. Constructing Happiness is also the name of the television series he plans to host one day, and, of course, it's all about his core mantra of spreading good vibes.
"I would go somewhere, build something with somebody and talk about what they think happiness is and how one finds it. I could travel the world, speak to people, see them, hear them and give them this enormous amount of love that I feel like I have in my heart," he says.