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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.


Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom—Here’s How Mastery Can Help


In a little known book called Fear of Freedom, first published in 1942, the philosopher Erich Fromm argues that humans long for both independence and individuation on the one hand, and belonging and community on the other. The modern person,…

When You Feel Lost, Go Local.


For a very, very long time in our species’ history, we were stuck in small tribes. These were groups of a couple dozen family members and our closest friends to help us live, hunt, and survive on the savannah. And…

Amusing Ourselves to Death in the Attention Economy


Recently at the gas station, I was filling up my tank as a beautiful woman appeared on the high-definition screen placed on the pump. She told me when I’m feeling stressed out and overwhelmed, I need to repeat to myself…

Improve Your Cognitive Performance by Ditching Your Device


In an increasingly distractible world, we’re slowly losing the ability to sit with our thoughts and experiences. When our inner self becomes foreign, we become hyper-reactive to anything it says. The explosion in mindfulness books, podcasts, and apps is a…

Internet Brain is a Real Thing


If you feel “off” more often than you’d like, you aren’t alone. Many people do. In The Practice of Groundedness, I traced this general sense of dis-ease to a concept I called heroic individualism: an ongoing game of oneupmanship against…

Want to Be a Better Leader? Embrace Reality.


Conventional wisdom tells us that leadership is about confidence and control. The best leaders project a sense of self-assurance; they are here to show us the way, to lead us to the promise land. Often this means adopting a bit…

How to Overcome the Arrival Fallacy

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Wherever you are, the goal post is always 10 yards down the field. If you develop a mindset “If I just accomplish ___, THEN I’ll arrive,” you are in for a rude awakening. There is no arriving. The sooner you…

The Difference Between Tolerating Pain, Suffering and Performing

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Since the release of Do Hard Things, the questions I’ve received most are some variety of “What about the David Goggins, be a badass and ignore your limits, approach?” In what follows, I’ll answer it. First, what Goggins has accomplished…

The Perils of Heroic Individualism


It has been a year since The Practice of Groundedness was first released, and well over two years since I finished writing the book. Much has happened since. COVID-19 went from being a novel virus to a full-blown pandemic, dramatically…

The Truth About Quiet Quitting


The term “quiet quitting” has become a thing. It all started with a seventeen second TikTok video that went viral, in which the narrator says “it is not outright quitting your job but quitting the idea of going above and…

Knowing When You Are Ready To Rise to the Occasion

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In 1985, Neil Gaiman was a twenty-five-year-old writer with a smattering of fantasy stories, magazine articles, and two books to his name. They weren’t glaring successes. One book was a collection of quotes. The other, a biography of the pop…

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…