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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.


The 21 Best Books of 2021 for Sustainable Success and Well-Being


Welcome to the annual reading list. If you are familiar with our work, you’ll know that it integrates ideas, research, and practices from diverse domains. (See our latest book for a great example.) People always ask us how we do…

Seeing Clearly in a Delusional World

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Most of us have what I like to call “Uncle Rico” or “Al Bundy” stories. The person who insists, like those two fictional characters, that if only they hadn’t gotten hurt, or had gotten that first audition, or had someone…

Don’t “Optimize” Your Way Out of Peak Performance


In the modern world, optimization is king. From athletics to the workplace, figuring out how to be more productive and more efficient is the never ending quest of high performers. The natural evolution of this mindset is to see, and…

Being More, Doing Better, and the Case for Less

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A common refrain amongst my coaching clients, and most people these days, is finding it challenging to pay deep attention to meaningful activities. Even after addressing low-hanging fruit—for example: eliminating distractions, designing the physical environment, and timing specific tasks—many people…

Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing


In 2019, only 35 percent of fourth-graders were proficient, on-level readers. After a year and a half of pandemic altered learning, various reports suggest that kids are months, if not years, behind where they should be. In classrooms across the…

Grit Only Works If You Also Have Fit—Otherwise It Can Hurt

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In my junior year of high-school, I applied to the prestigious Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. I didn’t get in. Over the years, I’ve submitted essays and articles to all kinds of publications, from my local newspaper to…

Making Sense of Who We Are


Nine years. Nine freaking years. That’s how long this cloud has been a part of my life, hanging over my head, the potential for a storm to erupt always in the back of my mind. For those who don’t know…

Two Rare—But Powerful—Words: “It Depends”


In a recent Growth Equation mastermind group, the topic shifted to what is lacking in so much of the mainstream so-called “wellness” or “productivity” or “self-improvement” movements. Someone named Jason said, They are always offering silver bullets and magical solutions.…

Distorted Expectations Are Ruining Your Reality


This past week, an internal Facebook document was released which showed, essentially, that Instagram is toxic, and Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, is well aware. One internal Facebook slide stated, “We make body image issues worse for one in three teen…

What Elementary School Teachers Can Teach You About Learning and High Performance


The education system in the US often gets a bad rap. We complain endlessly about how we’re falling behind, about how students aren’t taught the right things, or how students are stuck in a classroom that doesn’t look much different…

Go Slow to Go Fast


The day you launch a book feels like sprinting an all-out mile. The only thing is this: at the end of the all-out mile, you find yourself on the start-line of a 5K, which is launch week. So you keep…

A Better Way to Fuel Our Minds and Bodies


One of the biggest stories of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was mental health. From Simone Biles to Naomi Osaka, more and more athletes were speaking up about mental health. And for good reason. It is hard, if not impossible,…

Morality is Contagious


At the age of 21, an outfielder burst into the big leagues, drilling over 30 home runs in his rookie season. He wasn’t a sure-fire prospect, having been drafted in the 15th round. But by the age of 24, he’d…

The Cost of Caring—And Why It’s Worth It Anyways


One thing I remember about middle school gym class is that the cool kids never tried. Though I could sense the reason then, I did not have the vocabulary that I do now. The cool kids didn’t try because they…

A Simple Way to Evaluate Principles and Practices


Core to our work at the Growth Equation is looking for patterns across different areas of research, literature, history, and practice. We are interested in uncovering principles that are universal, or at least close to it: that is, they can…