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

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

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

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This section has a lot of good insight into having different ways to respond to situations and knowing which response is appropriate for which situation. 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). Do Hard Things' by Steve Magness is a motivational book that challenges the notion of settling for mediocrity.

The section on the brain and the inner voices was helpful and something new I’ve walked away with from this book. From beloved performance expert, executive coach, and coauthor of Peak Performance Steve Magness comes a radical rethinking of how we perceive toughness and what it means to achieve our high ambitions in the face of hard things. Our definition of toughness has, unfortunately, revolved around a belief that the toughest individuals have thick skin, fear nothing, constrain emotions, and hide vulnerability. With that in mind, I of course had high expectations going into this book and spoiler alert: Do Hard Things far exceeded my expectations.

As someone who has repeatedly faced this in life, and especially so in the last few years, and as someone who used a combination of aggressive and disciplined workout regimens and mindfulness practices to take back a little bit of control of my own life, and to set in on a more sound footing despite external circumstances, I can very strongly relate with his suggestions.

But Magness then redefines toughness in this way, “Real toughness is experiencing discomfort, or distress, leaning in, paying attention and creating space to take thoughtful action. Each chapter is chocked-full of interesting anecdotes (some personal, in-the-trenches experience), and the latest scientific discourse packaged in an engaging and digestible way. 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. They throw tantrums because they have little idea what that barrage of emotions is when their teacher tells them to redo their work, or when a friend rejects them on the playground. What does a child who was taught to follow the rules unquestioningly out of fear do when a parent isn’t there to dictate his behavior?

Magness was a columnist for Running Times magazine and is now the co-host of two podcasts: The Growth Equation podcast, with Brad Stulberg, and On Coaching with Magness and Marcus, with Jon Marcus. I’ve always subscribed to this type of mentality, and I believe that having an easy life just leaves us feeling unfulfilled, contrary to our preconceived theories. He helped guide Roberta Groner, a forty-one-year-old full-time nurse, to 6th place in the marathon at the 2019 World Championships. In the popular imagination, being tough means projecting confidence, pushing through pain without complaint, and ignoring soppy emotions.

In evaluating almost seven hundred players’ performance, those who played under a coach with an abusive leadership style saw a drop in performance, as measured by a player efficiency score. 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. Both Apple and Google state that they ensure that only users who have actually downloaded the app can submit a review. To create space so that you don’t jump straight from unease to the quickest possible solution, but to the [correct] one.What’s the X factor that allows one smart, innovative thinker to found a company or invent a product that makes waves, while their equally smart, innovative peer makes barely a ripple? It fails in sport, where athletes who fall for the old model play out of fear, leading to worse performance.

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