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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.


When Something that is Supposed to be Easy Feels (Really) Hard


On Thursday, June 22nd, Jim Ryun ran a mile in 4:07. In his training log, he wrote “was hard.” The mile race was the prelims for the AAU National Championship. Ryun had advanced to the final. But as someone who…

Overcoming Extremism (In All Areas of Life)

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Fact: the oldest parts of our brains evolved to make quick judgements. “That’s a big snake. Bad! Run away!” “That’s an attractive person of the opposite sex! Good! Pass along the DNA!” Not only did snap judgements help our species…

The (Unfortunate) Power of a Story


At the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, women were allowed to run the 800m for the first time. Up until that point, women were restricted to the short sprints, while men had a full plate of events to contest, ranging all…

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…