We just got done with a rousing book club discussion of C’s pick, Brené Brown’s Rising Strong, which acts as a sequel to her highly-acclaimed Daring Greatly. I’m not one for self-help books, but Brown touches on something that most of us don’t think explicitly about and runs us through mental processes that affect our daily lives and self-worth.
This book works best if you’ve already read Daring Greatly, because Brown talks us through the Roosevelt quote about lying facedown in the arena and uses it as her jumping point for this book—rising strong amid failures. She slows down the “lying facedown” part wayyyy down so that you actually get to experience the meta-cognitive aspects of the “rising strong” process. She discusses narratives as a way for you to analyze the stories you tell yourself and then explain why these stories can be deceptive or lead you away from the actual truth. I found that helpful as a way to understand my feelings but also understand how they might be getting in the way of logic.
Another concept I found helpful was the idea of “rumbling.” This is part of the “facedown” process where you are struggling with a story and don’t quite know how to get on to the next part. As I’ve alluded before, I’ve been rumbling with career stuff for the past few years. I’m an academic struggling with three adjunct jobs right now and no clear end in sight. I feel lousy about my career prospects, but I *love* teaching with every fiber of my being. So, this summer, I’ve done some rumbling, and it’s been really helpful as a metaphor (I’m still not sure how my story ends, but I’m working on the in-between parts at the moment).
If self-help is not your thing, I get it, because I’m right there with you. Brown takes away some of the ick factor that goes into overly saccharine books and smartly helps you focus on productive emotions and “rising strong” from inevitable failures that can only come when you dare to try and try and try. I do really recommend this book.
Cross-posted to my blog.