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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.


To Perform Better, Own Your Space

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There’s something different about playing at home. It feels familiar, welcoming, and less threatening. Back in my competitive running days, whenever I competed at my home track, it was as if I knew every inch of the track surface. Sure,…

How Awe Helps With Anxiety


Most people have had the experience of losing themselves while listening to a musical album, viewing art, watching an athlete’s peak performance, or hiking in nature. What all these events have in common is that they minimize your ego. Not…

The Benefits of Learning How to Lose

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“I can’t function as a human being after a loss. I can’t eat. I can’t shave. I can’t hug my kids.” Urban Meyer said this in 2003 when he was head coach at the University of Utah. For the next…

Motivation is Over-Rated: Here’s What Works Instead


Conventional wisdom says that positive thinking, enthusiastic mood states, and inspiration are key to a good and productive life. But that’s not entirely true, at least not according to the latest psychological science. A more accurate representation of the relationship…

It’s Hard To Do Everything At Once


My plan was simple (or so I thought) and straightforward: come the end of December I would ease back on promoting The Practice of Groundedness and ratchet up on my next book project. As those of you who follow my work…

Do Difficult Things that Force Engagement

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I remember the comment clearly. I was lying on the ground, drained of all energy, exhausted, unable to get up. My legs were a mixture of on fire and full of lead. I wanted to puke. “Your parents haven’t felt what…

Own Your Distractions So They Don’t Own You

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It is the turn of the year and one thing seems certain: the pace of information, stimulation, and distraction is not slowing down. The culture of heroic individualism—an ongoing game of oneupmanship where measurable achievement is the main arbiter of…

5 Principles for More Excellence With Less Angst


As an executive coach, I saw a troubling trend among my clients even before Covid-19: Many were exhausted and on a path to burnout, if they weren’t already there. The chief physician of a large healthcare system came to me…

Nailing the Basics is Simple Not Easy—The Growth Equation Manifesto


If you are overwhelmed and exhausted by competing information, claims, purported secrets, and so-called biohacks in health, fitness, and performance, you are not alone. We are tired too. In this post, we are going to go deep on debunking myths,…

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…