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The Growth Equation Newsletter

Receive weekly insights on the art and science of success from Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness. Join over 40,000 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.


What’s Behind the Relentless Pursuit of Excellence?

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For many athletes, passion is the driving force behind their relentless pursuit of excellence. Michael Gervais, PhD, sport psychologist and counselor to some of the world’s best athletes, puts it simply: “Sustained passion is a hallmark of mastery.” Many groundbreaking athletes, artists,…

How Your Local YMCA Could Save the World


Our country, it should come as no surprise, is increasingly polarized. The divide is worsened by the bubbles we live in, and the internet makes it easier than ever to only associate with like-minded people. As a result, we become more entrenched in our views…

No Such Thing As Writer’s Block; Just Getting-Started Block

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Something I think about a lot in writing is the benefit of just getting a draft on paper. All my best work begins as a crappy first draft. Because ALL my work begins as a crappy first draft. There is…

How to Get the Most Out of Yourself, Even On Your Worst Days

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When it comes to performance often worry about the ceiling, the greatest performance that someone is capable of. What’s their personal best? How good are we on our best day, when everything clicks? But the more I’ve coached, the more…

Struggling to be Content

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I often imagine that people exist on a metaphorical barbell⁠. On one side is drive and passion and on the other side is ease and contentment⁠. Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is whether or not it’s problematic to tilt too strongly to…

Staying on the Path

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I’ve recently written quite a bit about the path of mastery, or a journey of personal growth and development that knows no end and is worthwhile in and of itself. This has included posts on some of the core principles…

The Keys to a Consistent Physical Practice

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“The athlete that dwells in each of us is more than an abstract ideal,” said George Leonard, the philosopher of human potential and Aikido master. “It is a living presence that can change the way we live and feel.” I love this…

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

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At the Canadian Olympic marathon trials, the odds on favorite was Cam Levins,  who had recently broken the 43-year old national record in the marathon. It wasn’t Trevor Hofbauer, a former basketball player who had risen through the ranks of…

Stop Hiding Behind Complexity


Lots of people make things overly complex. Sometimes complexity is necessary but often it’s not. A lot of times people make things complex so they can sell them. It’s hard to monetize the basics; but come up with an intricate…

What To Do When You’re Feeling Lost

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If you’ve ever pushed hard or cared deeply about something then you’ve probably experienced a feeling of being lost. Perhaps this manifests as being unsure of what to do next; unsure of how to do it; or even unsure of…

Choosing the Difficult Path


It’s been an interesting week. Nike coach Alberto Salazar was banned for cheating. For those who don’t know, I was a main whistleblower. That identity has consumed my life for the last 7 years, hovering over me like a cloud; occasionally…

Growth like a Gardener


Improvement is about planting seeds, nourishing them, and providing them with a safe space to grow.

Performance Lessons From The Wild World of Elite Chess


ESPN recently published a story exploring how chess masters often lose 10-15 pounds during a week-long tournament. According to scientists, this is related to the human stress response. During tournaments—which can last 5 to 10 days—it is not uncommon for competitors to experience elevated heart-rates,…

The Best Natural Performance Enhancing Drug

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Mention Testosterone and Human Growth Hormone (HGH) to a group of sports-minded folks and their mind jumps to the illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs. In fact, according to the book Game of Shadows, these two drugs were prominent in the cocktail…

Quit Being So Hard On Yourself: Self Compassion and Performance


If you’ve ever been stuck with a crying baby you know that yelling back at it does not make matters better. It only makes them worse. There are two skillful ways of working with a crying baby: 1) Hold it,…