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Learn the key ideas of the book by Brené Brown

Rising Strong

How to turn a failure into a moment of growth

In her book, Rising Strong, Brené Brown provides an in-depth analysis of all the various phases of failure, and the subsequent moment in which a person has to try and climb their way back up again, after having hit rock bottom. Chapter by chapter,  the author shares the testimonies of people with whom she has come into contact during her years of research, and explores failure and growth, through both personal and second-hand experiences. Rising Strong shows the reader how to pick themselves back up again, stronger than before, transforming their failures into signposts, providing direction and guidance on their path to professional and personal growth.

Rising Strong
Read in 31 min.
Listen in 39 min.

Many useful tips to:

  • Find the strength to be courageous in difficult times, by understanding how important  it is to fall down, so as to learn, and to get back up, better than before.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of yourself and others, and use every failure as a way to increase your mindfulness.
  • Give due consideration to the opinions of others, and the negative thoughts you have about yourself.

The author of the book:

Brené Brown is a professor and researcher at the University of Houston who has devoted the last ten years of her career to the study of courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy. She is also the author of five New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness and Dare to Lead. Her TED talk on the power of vulnerability went viral and became one of the most viewed video-talks in the world.


It is painful to go through the process of picking oneself back up, but you need to live that pain to avoid closing yourself off through “emotional stoicism”

We all know that to be courageous, we have to be vulnerable, to put ourselves out there, and risk falling. It is through this process that our values are forged.

To grasp the importance of feeling fragile and showing one's weaknesses, you must understand that vulnerability (intended as the willingness to show other people your true self, and be seen for who you really are) is the only path to receive, and give, more love, a sense of belonging, and joy. This journey brings with it extremely positive results, but it is the experience of getting back on your feet emotionally after a fall that really makes the difference, even though it can be the hardest part.

The author is truly convinced that the most useful type of information that we can gather regarding people's behaviour comes directly from lived experiences, whether they be personal experiences or ones lived by others. This is why she loves to define herself as a researcher-storyteller: after years and years of research, analysis, and insights, she has come to the conclusion that everyone in life wants to be seen, to be heard, and to receive the attention they think they deserve, which inevitably involves challenging oneself, and the consequent risk of failing.

If you want to experience the thrill of love, you know that, in some way, you are going to suffer.

If you want to embark on new adventures, you know that at some point you will fail.

If you want to do good and give, you know that somehow you will inevitably be disappointed at some stage.

When you fall down, there are several phases in the lead up to the moment in which you will find the strength to pick yourself back up again. In addition to the physical or emotional fall itself, there is another fundamental moment that needs to be considered, and that requires careful analysis: it is the moment that you find yourself "facedown". The idea behind Rising Strong is precisely to analyse the falls, and the moments in which you get up, in slow motion, so as to be able to take into account all the choices available in moments like those, as well as to analyse the consequences of each of those choices.

Everyone lives with the scars that they have accumulated over the years, but it is much easier to talk about these wounds once they have healed, than to allow others in during the healing process. Stories of phoenixes rising from the ashes are always uplifting and painted in a positive light in one way or another, glossing over the worst moments, to quickly arrive at the happy ending. Rather than “gold-plating grit”, to show that your failures have only made you stronger, riding on the coattails of some passing trend in which failure has become fashionable, it is much better to learn how to recognise the value of truth and tenacity.

Those who resist actually experiencing their pain, right to the very end, are bound - instead of acknowledging it, owning it and absorbing its every last drop - to inflict it on others, through a sort of "emotional stoicism", which is not in any way to be considered synonymous with true grit.

Humanity needs there to be a sufficient number of people who are willing to risk falling without hiding their wounds (thereby sharing them with other people who have the strength and sensitivity not to look away or change the subject), and who then pick themselves up again, inspiring others to do the same.


The key ideas of "Rising Strong"

It is painful to go through the process of picking oneself back up, but you need to live that pain to avoid closing yourself off through “emotional stoicism”
You need to personalise the 10 "basic laws of emotional physics" in order to benefit from them to the fullest
Every difficulty you encounter is a small "hero's journey": the dark moments are what make us grow
Recognise that you have hit rock bottom and explore your experiences: how to get up stronger than before
Denying pain out of fear is more dangerous than pain itself
If you don’t honestly recognise the stories you make up in your mind, you won't be able to get back up, stronger than before
Establishing boundaries, however hard it may be, is the best way to defend and value yourself
You need to honestly manage your expectations to avoid becoming poisoned by resentment
Hope goes hand in hand with struggle, which is why we must not hide our failures or our shame
Nostalgia can be just as risky as cowardly criticism
There needs to be a revolution in order to start living wholeheartedly
Take-home message

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