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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 30,000 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 and excellence, along with practical tips for day-to-day application.


When Good Enough is Good Enough

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Let’s start with an interesting observation: so many “influencers,” “optimizers,” and “wellness” and “happiness” gurus don’t have partners or kids. Yes, strive to be healthy and excellent and all that, but sometimes the key to adult life—perhaps especially if you’ve…

The Basics of Fitness: A Program for Everyone


It is easier to train for a marathon than for general fitness. That might sound sacrilegious for the runners out there. But let me explain: of course marathon training likely takes more time, energy, and effort. But at least you…

How to Apply an “RPE” Scale to Life


On the wall of my local gym, where the coaches program training based on how athletes feel, hangs this chart: Rate of perceived exertion (RPE) is commonly used in high-performance sport to balance effort and recovery. More time in upper…

Learning How to Respond, Instead of React

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How do you handle life’s difficult moments? When stress and anxiety are high, and the path forward is uncertain. Whether it’s in making a crucial business decision, in the midst of an argument with our spouse, or standing on the…

How To Build Motivation (And Not Destroy It)

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In my coaching work with executives, I often run into the same question: “How do I keep people from quitting?” After all, we’re in the midst of the great resignation. From Fortune 500 companies offering sabbaticals to local school districts offering…

The Science of How Uncertainty Creates Stress and the Urge to Quit


We have a deep need to close the gap between not knowing and knowing. When stress is seen through this light, then our inner dialogue and responses make more sense. The desire to step in a hole while running a…

The Science Behind Holding Your Identity(s) Loosely


This past weekend, I had an essay run in the New York Times about the categories and labels we apply to our sense of self. If you missed the piece, you can read it here. As these things tend to go,…

How to Get Out of Your Own Way to Perform at Your Best

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Ninety percent of coaching is helping people to get out of their own way. In talking to some of the best athletes and executives on the planet for my new book, Do Hard Things, I heard many stories of when…

Why Society Loves Fake Toughness And Desperately Needs the Real Thing

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“He’s strong and he’s tough.” Who was Donald Trump talking about? Perhaps a medal of Honor recipient, or a mother who survived cancer, or a doctor who worked tirelessly on the front lines of a pandemic? No, Trump was describing…

7 Principles for Handling Life’s Challenges and Achieving Sustainable Success

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Stress is the norm. Whether it’s from work, finances, or relationships, experiencing stress is part and parcel of the human experience. The problem comes when it escalates to untenable levels, perhaps even taking over and becoming a dominant emotion. Unease…

Creating Team Cohesion That Actually Works


There is something special about being part of a sports team. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about little league baseball or playing at an elite level, being a part of a team has this sort of magic to create…

How to Raise a Champion—Chill Out


When it comes to their child’s athletic pursuits, parents can go a bit crazy. They lose it on the sideline, yelling at the referee at their 8-year-old’s soccer match. They stress over whether their kid is making progress and if…

To Perform Your Best, Let Go


  If you want to perform better, you’ve got to try harder. That may well be one of the central tenants of western culture. If things aren’t going your way, you need to double down on your effort. The problem…

Competition to Promote Excellence

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A few nights ago, a familiar scene: after the Boston Celtics swept the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA playoffs, all of the players were chatting, smiling, and hugging it out in the immediate aftermath of the game. It is a…

Why We Are All on Edge and Burned Out and What to Do About It

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Let’s have a quick thought experiment: How would you make an animal docile, depressed, and apathetic? You might start by making it feel low in status. Pitting it against its peers who are all bigger, stronger, or smarter. Pushing it…