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Learn the key ideas of the book by Michele Borba


The underlying reasons behind our successes and failures

Young people growing up in the twenty-first century belong to a generation that is among the most loved in history, and the opportunities available to them are infinite, but many of them demonstrate unprecedented levels of fragility and unhappiness. Among the main reasons for this is a society devoted to competition and approval, and an educational style that focuses on academic success, forgetting to teach young people certain key character traits that are necessary for anyone to live peacefully. In her book Thrivers, Michele Borba explains what is happening to our young people, and provides a series of practical tips to help them develop the seven fundamental character traits that will help them become adults who are self-aware, autonomous, and equipped to overcome the struggles that are a part of normal life: self-confidence, empathy , self-control, integrity, curiosity, perseverance and optimism.

Read in 20 min.
Listen in 24 min.

Today’s young generation is more loved than ever, they have more opportunities than ever before, yet they are the most unhappy and fragile

Our society is raising a generation of young people who, although they work hard, are chasing an unattainable level of perfection – more ‘likes’ on social media, better marks at school, and a greater level of approval in society – and this constant striving is draining them. Girls and boys, both as children and adolescents, are like a sort of puzzle with missing pieces. These twenty-first century youngsters are lacking certain mental qualities and morals, such as the ability to cope with making mistakes, and with stress, they lack optimism and curiosity, empathy, and perseverance. The main consequence of this type of incomplete character development is the inability to become individuals who work hard to achieve certain objectives, and adults who are successful in an ever-changing world.

The root of this problem lies in the adult obsession for their children to develop their cognitive skills, with the belief that excellent academic performance will be enough to ensure their success in life. From when they are very little, today’s parents jam pack their kids’ days with activities such as sports, private lessons, and other extracurricular options, based on what the grown-ups think is most suitable to help further their academic careers. There are hardly any children nowadays who have the chance to spend their free time gazing wondrously at clouds, building sandcastles, or flying kites. This frenetic time management, added to the complete impossibility of them ever getting bored (and therefore having the opportunity to invent their own entertainment) has contributed to a generation of kids who are seriously lacking in the inner strength required to overcome obstacles, and pick themselves up when they fail. Young people today no longer feel in control of their own destiny, nor do they have an “I can do it” mindset: when they enter adulthood, they are already exhausted, anxious and fragile.


The key ideas of "Thrivers"

Today’s young generation is more loved than ever, they have more opportunities than ever before, yet they are the most unhappy and fragile
To help our children break free from this situation, we must learn to teach them certain essential character traits which will help them overcome their struggles, and become the best versions of themselves
To become the best possible versions of themselves, young people must understand who they really are, even though other people dictate many aspects of their lives
Human relationships are a key component to leading a full life, and they are built through empathy
Self-control is the foundation for an autonomous adult life and children often lack it because their parents are too controlling
Integrity is required to distinguish between right and wrong
Curiosity is also guided by passion, and can help people learn to think outside the box
Perseverance helps us learn to pursue an objective when it would be much easier to give up
Optimism can help us believe in our ability to overcome challenges and obstacles
Take-home message
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