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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 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.


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…

Feel Anxious or Stuck? Realign with Reality.

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“The greatest to ever do this event…there is no question, no female gymnast in history has ever taken this event on like Simone Biles,” veteran NBC announcer Tim Daggett gushed as Biles was standing at the end of the vault…

What To Do When You’re Tired of Being Tired


In our first session this year, my coaching client Jane told me that she has rested, given herself permission to feel down, and lowered her personal bar, just as we all have been advised to do as we wearily approach the third…

The Case for Ambition


There is increasing momentum behind a movement that I’ll call broadly “anti-ambition.” I think this is misguided. We need ambition. For example, I am certainly glad Kati Kariko, the researcher who worked tirelessly for years pushing the science of mRNA until vaccines were finally…

Sometimes the Only Way is Through

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This week I’ve spent too much time thinking about controversial topics. Brad is well aware of this. In our collaborative partnership, I’ve uncharacteristically been the initiator of calls that end with long discussions on the day’s hot topic. (Normally Brad…

15 Science-Backed Ways to Get Work Done

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  “I get to the arena 5 hours before a game to start prepping—mentally, physically, and spiritually” —Lebron James The King, as James is affectionally called, has a pre-game routine that seem a bit excessive, but elite athletes are masters at…

Finding Meaning in Our Never Enough Culture

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Let’s start with a simple question: If you are hungry, distracted, and rushed, and someone places two bowls in front of you—one of brown rice and baked potatoes, the other of peanut M&Ms and Swedish fish—which one would you choose?…

How Failure Can Unlock Performance

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Maddie had just failed. She walked on the start line ranked third in the 10k, attempting to go from barely making the team as a walk-on to securing a medal at the conference championship. The race started out well, but…

What Happens When You Do—Or Don’t—Identify with Achievement

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This past weekend I was at the gym testing my strength across the three big lifts for which I train: squat, bench-press, and deadlift. I’ve been training somewhat seriously for the last 18 months, and this was my first chance…