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

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A lot of stories trying to explain his points on the book, but everything had a reason and helps you digest the true meaning of Do Hard Things. As one soldier put it, “When there’s a difference between what you project and what you are capable of, it all crumbles under stressful situations. Our appraisal of a situation as a threat or as a challenge depends on the perceived demands of that stressor versus our perceived abilities to handle them. My hope is that this book is a small step toward a major course correction, one that teaches our children that acting tough isn’t the same thing as being tough.

Throughout the book Magness explains that when we see movie portrayals of military training and read books about SEALs hell week and watch Master Chef and take lessons from Olympic tryouts, we're trying to learn from the wrong part of the cycle. Disassociate through the easy parts and bank your mental stamina for later when you need to focus on the hard parts. They didn’t just register the pain of the probe; they also clocked the discomfort of anticipating the stimulus and the automatic, negative emotional response that kicked in immediately after.When we satisfy basic needs, we create an environment where people play to win, instead of playing not to lose. To know if that pain is a warning that injury is imminent, or if that feeling of shame is an uninformed feeling that we should scroll on by.

The title suggested that the author would be discussing both how people get resilience wrong, and the ‘surprising science’ of real toughness. There are several parts of his book that I marked that I would like to go back to and spend more time with so that I can fully appreciate all the insights this book has to offer.

And the surprising science of real toughness did not seem to have much rigorous science quoted and discussed at length, only select studies cherry picked and quoted which confirmed the author’s priors. To create space so that you don’t jump straight from unease to the quickest possible solution, but to the [correct] one. Read this and find out why expressions like “tough love” and “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” have got it wrong when we embark on the journey to “Do Hard Things”. A study of elementary school students found that overconfident readers often chose books way above their level of comprehension. 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.

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