Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Read: Brene Bown's Daring Greatly

Title: Daring Greatly
Author: Brene Brown
Publisher: Gotham Books (2012)

A TEDX video led me to learn about the work of Brene Brown a few years ago. I learnt that she has spent years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity and shame.

Daring Greatly is one of her recent books that I have read. A quote that resonated with Brene Brown eventually contributed to the naming of this new book. Here goes the quote by Teddy Roosevelt,

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
In this book, Brown explains how "vulnerability is both the core of difficult emotions like fear, grief and disappointment and the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, empathy, innovation and creativity".

The concepts and ideas in this books stem from Brene Brown's research. Brown has written the book in an accessible fashion.

Admittedly, while I have found the book comforting, the concepts are rather overwhelming to comprehend through one single reading of the book.

The chapter on "The Vulnerability Armory" provided practical insights on the common shields used to protect oneself from vulnerability and insights to experience joy even in difficult times of sorrow. Brown shared three key lessons that she has learnt from the people whom she has spoken with:

1) Joy comes to us in moments - ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.
2) Be grateful for what you have.
3) Don't squander joy. Every time we allow ourselves to lean into joy and give in to those moments, we build resilience and we cultivate hope.

This is probably a book that is worth reading more than once. The concept of daring greatly, as best as I could gather from Brown's writings, is essential for us to connect with others and to live whole-heartedly. I was pretty surprised to realize that many major book-stores carry numerous copies of this book. Then again, perhaps her video on TEDX have moved many?

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