Fortitude: The Myth of Resilience, and the Secrets of Inner Strength: A Sunday Times Bestseller

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Fortitude: The Myth of Resilience, and the Secrets of Inner Strength: A Sunday Times Bestseller

Fortitude: The Myth of Resilience, and the Secrets of Inner Strength: A Sunday Times Bestseller

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So, if you're going to make one thing change, then you might say, "If I'm feeling no autonomy at work, is there something I could do to reduce the amount of time I'm spending in meetings? Is there something I could do to set some time aside to do something separate?" The illusion of modern work is we all feel like we've got infinite time, and we'll just answer this, then I'll answer this, and if I just need to work later, I'll work later; and we never make decisions of scarcity. But I guess one of the critical things you'd say is, if people are feeling an absence of control, if people are feeling no resilience, then thinking about how you can gift them some space, and there's a solution to it as well. So, I think I would say, I'd broadly categorise grit and growth mindset as the resilience orthodoxy. I think it's probably slightly unfair to growth mindset, because I think there is vaguely some substance to growth mindset, but it's not remotely the substance that is pedalled, offered and promoted. It's worth saying that people have really struggled with any degree of clinical desire to replicate the effect of growth mindset. In fact, pretty much the first model of growth mindset has been pedalled; I don't think there've been any replications of it. Bruce is an expert on the evolution of work – taking in remote working, workplace culture and nurturing innovation. He regularly appears on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Television talking about how our relationship with work is transforming, and how organisations can be ready for it.

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But the actual experience of a trauma, an adversity, is an incredibly harmful one. And through those two things, I think you can see a path to understanding where our response to adversity comes from. For me, all of that is about identity, because all of that -- if you hear Kelly Holmes, Kelly Holmes will say, "Sport became my identity". She was adopted, she had parental abandonment, she was very severely bullied at school, I think latterly we clearly learned that she's been wrestling with issues with her own sexual identity and feeling ashamed about that. And so, you look at all of those things and you go, "Well actually, her then channelling all of her interest into sporting excellence, now you recognise that redemptive power of that power of identity, I think". Resilience is the buzzword of the moment. We're told that if we have it, our lives will be happy and successful ones. If we don't, we need to acquire it. But what if the version of resilience we've been peddled is a myth? What he said is that, he gave me some stats that were astonishing. Anyone who'd been I think physically abused was nine times more likely, as a professional athlete, to take performance-enhancing drugs; and anyone who'd been sexually abused was about eight times more likely, and these are multiplicative. So, if someone has been physically and sexually abused, they're massively more likely to take performance-enhancing drugs.The expectation of resilience was playing out right before my eyes, the assumption of recovery now looked like something more toxic. There's a lot to this book. Having heard all the hype about 'grit' over the past few years, it was refreshing to read something that offered a different view about resilence. He has been rated as the top leader in the UK tech sector by Campaign Magazine. In a prestigious survey of CEOs and MDs, in 2020 Bruce was again named the “ Fantasy Hire” that most leaders would like to make – his fourth time of winning the accolade (other names placed included Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Martin Sorrell). He regularly ranks as the top-rated speaker at conferences in the US and the UK.

Fortitude: The Myth of Resilience, and the Secrets of Inner Fortitude: The Myth of Resilience, and the Secrets of Inner

Speaking about identity, the best-selling writer said. “When people can’t assemble an identity, when their life story is just this random assembly of events, that’s when they really struggle to connect with their identity.” By calling for a resilient response we both gloss over the hardships that we hope individuals will recover from but also save ourselves having to ask if some of us are affected disproportionately by these injustices. Bruce Daisley: Yeah. There are a couple of igniting factors, the reason why I did the book. Firstly, the resilience word I was hearing all the time when I was in Beirut. So, I was researching stuff, I was in Beirut, my partner's Lebanese and there was a big explosion in 2020, and all of the news coverage referred to resilience; so, that was one of the things. So, we're starting to learn that there's intention paths of what people are actually doing, and I think it undermines a firm's credibility firstly when it's three days a week, and no one's doing the three days a week. But it's also missing something, because people say to me, "Oh yeah, I made the journey in, I didn't see anyone from my team. I had a bit of a chat with people". It's missing the objective. Now, I love, I don't know if I put it in the book actually, the phrase "simcha"? Bruce Daisley: There's a wonderful guy who passed away a couple of years ago, called Enrico Quarantelli, and Enrico Quarantelli was obsessed with natural disasters and when things went wrong. It's almost like, if you've got an earthquake or people flying out of somewhere, he was the lone car driving in the other direction. He was obsessed with going to see when things went wrong.So, I think they're probably two quite big questions, but community and fortitude, let's explore that so other people can learn about it. And then, the way that work works now, what do we need to change so that we have the community that we need? This expectation of resilience frequently serves the purpose of making help unnecessary, if a victim proves unable to cope it suggests an additional weakness, maybe they weren’t worth helping in the first place. You mentioned a researcher called Ericsson, who talks about how important our sense of identity is in terms of providing us with our ability to see ourselves in the same way with continuity, but something that's separate to the work that we do, or maybe the family that we're part of; we have this own sense of self. I wonder if you could just talk a little bit about how that helps us to be resilient and to have that fortitude, and I think probably the killer question, and it might be an impossible one is, if you don't feel like you've got that, what do we do about it? An absolute revelation . . . It's with collective support that you can develop resilience. Your own resilience or individual fortitude is not something you do or don't have, it comes from the extent to which you are supported by others. The extent to which people face these issues of resilience is massively divined by the structural inequalities we face. Ed Miliband



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