A radical rethinking of resilience and what it means to achieve success in the face of life's challenges.
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Bonus Deleted Chapter: Why We Quit and What We Can Do About It?
Online Course: 30+ hours of written, video, and audio content to walk you through improving your mental game. (A $200+ value for free!)
Guide to Toughness: A guide outlining how to apply the key concepts from the book to your team or organization.
Practices of Toughness: A guide to help you develop the tools to handle adversity.
The Principles of Toughness: The key attributes to apply to your business, athletic, and home life to develop resilience.
How Tough are the best performers in the world? Exclusive research I conducted on the world's best performers. Are they gritty or like the rest of us?
11 Things Do Hard Things Will Teach You
Navigate discomfort, pain, and uncertainty with equanimity.
Build a quiet confidence that works. Not bravado, but one based on reality.
Understand what your emotions mean and how to utilize them.
Change your inner voice so it works with you.
Design an environment that allows you to tackle difficult challenges.
Create a culture and team that allows people to thrive instead of just survive.
Prime your mind for performance, whether that's to get in flow, recover from stress, or come through in the clutch.
How to know when the right choice is to quit, and when you need to make the decision to persist.
Make sense of and process loss, grief, and tragedy.
Keep your mind steady and maintain control during life's greatest challenges.
Work with your biology, not against it.
And much more!
What is Real Toughness?
About the Book
Toughness has long been held as the key to overcoming a challenge and achieving greatness, whether it is on the sports field, at a boardroom, or at the dining room table. Yet, the prevailing model has promoted a mentality based on fear, false bravado, and hiding any sign of weakness. In other words, the old model of toughness has failed us.
Steve Magness, a performance scientist who coaches Olympic athletes, rebuilds our broken model of resilience with one grounded in the latest science and psychology. In Do Hard Things, Magness teaches us how we can work with our body – how experiencing discomfort, leaning in, paying attention, and creating space to take thoughtful action can be the true indications of cultivating inner strength. He offers four core pillars to cultivate such resilience:
Pillar 1- Ditch the Façade, Embrace Reality
Pillar 2- Listen to Your Body
Pillar 3- Respond Instead of React
Pillar 4- Transcend Discomfort
Smart and wise all at once, Magness flips the script on what it means to be resilient. Drawing from mindfulness, military case studies, sports psychology, neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy, he provides a roadmap for navigating life’s challenges and achieving high performance that makes us happier, more successful, and, ultimately, better people.
Praise and Reviews
“In Do Hard Things, Steve Magness beautifully and persuasively reimagines our understanding of toughness. This is a must-read for parents and coaches and anyone else looking to prepare for life's biggest challenges."
—Malcolm Gladwell. Author of Outliers and Talking to Strangers and host of the Revisionist History podcast.
“A thoughtful examination of what it really means to have the right stuff.”
~Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of THINK AGAIN and host of the TED podcast WorkLife
"In Do Hard Things, Steve Magness dismantles the widely endorsed but damaging suggestion that toughness is about bulldozing your way through difficult situations. Magness' version of toughness—"real toughness"—is more nuanced, forgiving, flexible, and learnable. Real toughness means processing stressors thoughtfully, deliberately, and with vulnerability, rather than superficially and rigidly. Do Hard Things changed how I think about stoicism and strength, both on the sports field and more broadly, and I can't recommend it highly enough."
—Adam Alter, Professor of Marketing and Psychology, New York University Stern School of Business, New York Times Bestselling Author of IRRESISTIBLE and DRUNK TANK PINK
"We celebrate stories of coaches and leaders who practice the ‘weed-out’ school of toughness, but research shows that is precisely the wrong way to cultivate fortitude. It is past time to bring the stories in line with the science, and that's what Steve Magness does in Do Hard Things."
—David Epstein, New York Times bestselling author of Range and The Sports Gene
“Steve Magness is one of the giants of modern thinking about high performance across domains, blending a broad knowledge of cutting-edge psychology with hard-earned practical experience from the world-class athletes and other experts he coaches. In his new book, he takes on an age-old question—who triumphs, and why, when the going gets tough?—and reveals that many of our cherished instincts and assumptions are wrong. A crucial read for anyone who cares about delivering their best when the stakes are highest.”
—Alex Hutchinson, New York Times bestselling author of Endure
"Do Hard Things will change your mind about what it means to be tough. Steve Magness makes a beautiful and compelling case for the value of inner strength over outer strength and humility over bluster. A must read!”
—Annie Duke, author of Thinking in Bets
"Steve delivers a critical message for our current age of posing and performance: real toughness is not about callous bravado, but instead about the ability to navigate difficulty with grace and an unwavering focus on what matters."
—Cal Newport, New York Times bestselling author of Deep Work and Digital Minimalism
“Steve Magness possesses an incredible range of wisdom and knowledge about the science, psychology and practical sides of sport performance. This book is a master class in how to develop resilience, persistence and confidence under pressure.”
—Christie Aschwanden, New York Times bestselling author of Good to Go
"Do Hard Things is an incredibly deep and completely new approach that examines why and how people overcome the toughest situations. Explaining different stories in a very entertaining lecture for the readers, Steve Magness, one of the most recognized authors and thinkers in sports science, gives us a master class on how to develop resilience and skills to perform at our best in difficult situations."
—Killian Jornet, World Champion Endurance Athlete
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About Steve Magness
Steve Magness is a world-renowned expert on performance, well-being, and sustainable success. His most recent work is Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness. He is coauthor of the best selling Peak Performance and The Passion Paradox.
In his coaching practice, Steve works with executives, entrepreneurs, and athletes on their performance and mental skills. He's served as a consultant on mental skills development for organizations and sports teams, including some of the top teams in professional sports. He's worked with numerous Olympians and individuals in the NBA, MLB, and a variety of other sports.
His writing has appeared in Outside, Runner's World, Forbes, Sports Illustrated, Men's Health, and a variety of other outlets. In addition, Steve's expertise on elite sport and performance has been featured in The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Guardian, Business Insider, and ESPN The Magazine.
Steve received his undergraduate degree from the University of Houston and a graduate degree from George Mason University. He currently lives in Houston, Tx with his wife Hillary. Once upon a time, he ran a mile in 4:01 in high school, at the time the 6th fastest high school mile in US history.