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The growth equation NEWSLETTER

Weekly insights on the art and science of success from Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness. Join over 20,000 subscribers and unlock your full potential with our weekly newsletter. Every Thursday, we share original articles and links on cultivating a more enduring and fulfilling kind of success, along with tips for day-to-day application. Our goal is simple: to help you do better and be better, whatever your craft may be.


Want to Do Better and Feel Better? Pay Attention.

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I’ve been on a bit of a George Saunders binge. For those who don’t know, Saunders is an American writer most known for his short stories and, more recently, novels, including the popular Lincoln in the Bardo. In his latest book, A…

The Science of Freaking Out

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Acute stress can be debilitating. It can cause professional baseball players to lose the ability to throw a ball 30 feet, something they’ve been doing since elementary school. In theater, it can cause stage fright, freezing, and forgetting lines that…

The Limits of Growth and When Smaller is Better


For myriad reasons, the culture of the past two decades has been obsessed with growth. I am going to call this the growth era. In the growth era, it doesn’t so much matter what you are growing—your company, your audience,…

What 6-Year-Olds Can Teach Us About Handling Adversity


Adults often look down upon children. Not in a mean-spirited type of way, but more so in holding the belief that kids are fragile and need of protection from the harshness of life. Yet, it’s often the other way around.…

A Brief Guide to Developing a Deep Reading Habit


Deep reading, or full engagement in a book, is an absolute joy. It is good for mind and spirit, and it is also a competitive advantage in today’s knowledge-based economy. Increasingly, people struggle to pay attention to just about anything,…

Hard Work Is Necessary, But Not Sufficient.

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As I peruse the self-help book aisle or stumble upon the latest entrepreneurial guru on YouTube, I’m often met with a simple message: work hard. There’s truth to that message, of course. If you want to get better at just…

Self-Absorption on Social Media is Making us Sick


In one of his more popular short stories, on “The Depressed Person,” David Foster Wallace wrote that they are “far too self-involved” to form nourishing and meaningful relationships. The story goes on to argue, and quite convincingly, that perhaps the…

Getting Better Gradually, Not Miraculously


At the 2012 London Olympics, the home country put on a show. Team Great Britain captured 29 Gold medals, trailing only the US and China in that regard. It was their most successful Olympics in over 100 years. There was…

Categories Like Depression, OCD, and Neuroatypical Work Until They Get in the Way


There seems to be two camps, or at least two vocal camps, on categorizations related to identity. There is the category defines me and my view of the world and is everything camp. And there is the categories don’t matter,…

Growth Comes From Struggle


When it comes to getting better in sport, many of us walk around with the idea that we need to push until failure. To grow our muscles, we lift until they are Jell-O; to improve endurance, we run until we’re…

3 Psychological Qualities that Prevent Attachment to External Validation


Whether it’s a boss’s praise, a book or song hitting a bestseller list, or a ranking in sport or chess, we humans crave external validation. As a social species, this is part of our hardwiring. The more liked and valued…

Stop Talking About Your Values If You Aren’t Acting On Them


Nike released an advertisement this week that was well-presented, with an incredibly powerful and much-needed message. The ad featured a montage of pregnant women exercising and moving, with the uplifting message that they, too, are athletes. We see video of…

Is Technology Alienating You From Real Life?

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A new technology drops. Some people immediately adopt it, assuming all that is new is good. Other people immediately shun it, assuming all that is new is bad. Neither of these approaches is ideal. There is a middle—and better—way. It…

Stop Comparing Your First Draft to Someone Else’s Final


Writing a book is a long and arduous process. It takes months, if not years, of researching, exploring, and outlining before you even get to the actual writing. When you finally sit down to write, you’re left with an inevitable…

Stop Hiding Behind Complexity—It Can Be a Soul Sucking Barrier to Progress


Complexity is a way to avoid facing the reality that what really matters for most things in life is simply showing up and doing the work. Not thinking about it. Not talking about it. Not dreaming about it. But doing…