Posted 20 hours ago

Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness

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If you teach someone to work hard when they're showered in praise, what do you think happens when you're not there to hand out the stickers? They exist to put people in situations that simulate the toughest parts of what they might face on the job.

You are training your mental muscle to be in control, to be considerate, and deliberate with your response. It was mostly a compilation of studies to show you how some people are lil babies and others are not. In one study of over 1,200 parents, authoritarian parenting was linked to a much higher rate of child misbehavior. The kind of toughness that chooses to accept reality, coexists inside of grit and grace, and that is framed fully in the uniqueness of each individual.When we satisfy basic needs, we create an environment where people play to win, instead of playing not to lose. My favorite quote from the first chapter that really sets up (and summarizes) the book: “Real toughness is experiencing discomfort or distress, leaning in, paying attention, and creating space to take thoughtful action. And the surprising science of real toughness did not seem to have much rigorous science quoted and discussed at length, only select studies cherry picked and quoted which confirmed the author’s priors.

When they dug further, the expert meditators had a “greater ability to fully embrace the feeling of pain and … let go of the appraisal of what the pain meant to them. The writing is broken into well-defined chapters, and each chapter into segmented writing with relevant headers at the top. It is written in a straightforward, down-to-earth manner that should have no trouble holding even the finicky reader's attention. Before we dive into the review, I want to digress for a moment and preface that I’ve been a fan of Steve Magness’ work for ~3 years now (alongside co-author Brad Stulberg).

If you’re honest with yourself, and acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses, what you’re capable of and what might scare you, then you can come to terms with what you’re facing and deal with it. I'd be happy if more coaches (and teachers and parents) read this one, and I'm likely to go back through at least my highlights if not a full re-read, especially of the first 3/4 or so. I might be biased because as a runner and someone who works in mental health this book was somehow extremely relevant to both aspects of my life.

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