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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.


Why People’s “Deeply Held” Values Can Change So Quickly


This is what I stand for. These are my principles, my values. A common line we’ve all heard, and probably said ourselves, many times before. We tend to think of principles and values as items that are stable and consistent. We…

The Myth of “One Percent Better Every Day”


Every year around January first, a popular notion of getting just a percent or two better every day spreads far and wide. It sounds great, but it’s often unrealistic, especially if you are already skilled to begin with. For example,…

Avoiding the Trap of More, More, More


In 1950, the average new home was 983 square feet. In 1960, that grew to 1,200 square feet. 1970? 1,500 square feet. Fast forward to 2018, and we’re at 2,300 square feet. The 1950’s version of ourselves would walk the…

Tony Hsieh’s Tragic Death—and why Chasing Success, Happiness, and Health is a Trap

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A few weeks ago, Zappos founder and CEO Tony Hsieh tragically died in a house fire. It is unclear whether the death was accidental, if Hsieh was intoxicated at the time, or if he locked himself in a room. What…

Put Your Ego Aside; Play The Long Game


In 1858, Abraham Lincoln ran for US Senator of Illinois against Stephen Douglas, a man who Lincoln held little sympathy for. About Douglas, he once remarked, “He does not quite know himself. Like a skillful gambler, he will play for…

Two Simple But Underused Rules for Progress in Anything

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My family just got a new puppy. An adorable, little—for now, anyways—German Shepherd. Sleep hasn’t been great. Ananda needs to go out at least once in the middle of night, and sometimes more. This is the first time since my…

Fake Work is Easy and Alluring, Real Work is Hard


When you are a writer and you sit down at your desk with a massive project ahead of you, all sorts of alternative items that you could work on arise. Your deadline isn’t for months, but you know you need…

Best Books of 2020 For Success and Well-being


Welcome to the annual reading list. If you’re familiar with our work, you’ll know that it integrates ideas, research, and practices from diverse domains. People always ask us how we do this. The answer is simple: We do our best…

A Minimum Effective Dose for Sustainable Success


Let’s start with a simple fitness story, and expand from there: About two years ago, for a wide variety of reasons—including time, mental energy, and a calf that becomes painful and explodes with repetitive motion—I decided to shift my armchair…

4 Rules for Running Fast


When it comes to exercise, we often get extremely complicated. For strength training, we get lost in the exercise type, the sets and reps, and the speed of the bar. In running, we look at different speed or intensity zones,…

Mistaking Complexity for Understanding


Let’s start with some science: The athlete’s aerobic glycolysis occurs via mitochondrial biogenesis delivered via ATP phosphorylation… Wait, before you stop reading, what does that mean? Nothing. I threw together some exercise science jargon. Every field has its own jargon,…

A Better Way to Think About Exhaustion and Rest


One of my coaching clients, who I’ll call Jenny, is a 39-year-old entrepreneur. Lately, she’s been struggling with fatigue, nothing too severe but a general sense of exhaustion, or, in her words, “not feeling as sharp and energetic as I’d like.” The first solution that…

The Simple Reason That 2020 Polls Were So Wrong


First off, rather than you make assumptions and have implicit bias, some facts: I’m an independent person who voted for Bush two; then Obama—barely the first time (Sarah Palin swayed me), and enthusiastically the second time. I would have voted…

Driven Apart or Coming Together: It’s Our Choice


In 1954, two separate groups of 11-year olds arrived at a sprawling 200-acre Boy Scout camp in Oklahoma. Both groups of children arrived at the camp, unaware of the existence of the other. For the first week, each group spent…

Three Experiments That Show We are Born to Belong


Imagine for a moment that you are sitting in a chair at the center of a room, with dozens of your peers surrounding you. All eyes are on you, as the boss-man standing across the way begins to speak. “You…