Become More Resilient by Learning to Take Joy Seriously by Brad Stulberg

Become More Resilient by Learning to Take Joy Seriously by Brad Stulberg

Become More Resilient by Learning to Take Joy Seriously


Grant — who, among other things, studies how people find motivation and meaning in life — showed up at Goldberg’s funeral, assured Sandberg that even though she is strong, he’d be by her side.

He offered her evidence-based tips on how to become more resilient (for both her own good and for that of her children), then helped her apply them.

The two teamed up to write a book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, which details Sandberg’s experience and the topic of resilience more broadly. Though it was inspired by a deeply personal tragedy, the book is filled with insight that is useful for anyone overcoming loss or failure.

I recently spoke with Grant to discuss the book and some of the key concepts in it.

You write that there are “three Ps” that often diminish resilience: personalization, pervasiveness, and permanence. Can you briefly describe each?

These are common traps that people fall into after a negative event. It’s so easy to get stuck in rumination: It’s all my fault (personalization); this is going to ruin every aspect of my life (pervasiveness); I’m going to feel like this forever (permanence). There is a wide body of evidence that if you can minimize this kind of thinking, you’ll be more resilient.

Is one most challenging to overcome?

Permanence seems to be the hardest, by far. When we are feeling horrible, we tend to project that out indefinitely, and it’s sticky. It’s hard to convince yourself that the awful feelings won’t last forever.

It seems that a large part of avoiding the three Ps — and being resilient more broadly — is related to the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves and our lives. Yet it’s human nature to focus on negatives over positives. How can people encourage themselves to tell positive, but not delusional, stories?

It’s a tightrope walk to embrace the feelings as they come and still find a way to craft a hopeful narrative. We have to give ourselves permission to feel sadness, but at the same, realize some meaning or happiness is out there, and include that in our story, too….

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Why the Best Success Stories Often Begin With Failure by Amy Crawford

Why the Best Success Stories Often Begin With Failure by Amy Crawford

One writer’s unexpected bout of unemployment inspired him to catalogue the misadventures of those who came before him

Long before the iPhone made him the god of gadgets, Steve Jobs launched his tech career by hacking land lines to make free long-distance calls.

Bob Dylan’s band, the Golden Chords, lost a high-school talent competition to a tap dancing act.

Behind every success story is an embarrassing first effort, a stumble, a setback or a radical change of direction. It’s these first clumsy steps on the road to fame and fortune that fascinate writer Seth Fiegerman, who edits the blog, a collection of case studies on the origins of famous careers.

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Why the Fear of Rejection Overrides One’s Ability to Ask for What They Want or Need

Why the Fear of Rejection Overrides One’s Ability to Ask for What They Want or Need

In “The Terror of a No“, the ever-insightful School of Life addresses through animation by Simon Biggs, an all too common problem in which the fear of rejection so disables a person’s confidence that they cannot ask for what they want or need, leaving them lacking on so many fronts.

…not asking is not cost free. We are avoiding the pain of rejection; but we are settling for something that is more insidious and troubling: a lack of opportunity. Not asking life for something means implicitly asking it for something else, failure from the outset. And this is especially sad because life is so very short. What we should really be scared of is not a ‘no’, but of reaching our deathbeds unfulfilled. We should ask.

Watch and listen to the video here:

See Also:

You’re Not Failing Enough, by Diane Paddison

Nay-Sayers and Failure on the Way to Success: Singer Elvis Presley

Best-Sellers Initially Rejected

Become More Resilient by Learning to Take Joy Seriously by Brad Stulberg

How People Learn to Become Resilient by Maria Konnikova

How Successful People Stay Calm by Travis Bradberry

Songs – Motivational and Encouraging (a list with embedded You Tube videos)

This Man Read 2000 Obituaries in a Year and Here’s What he Learned

Why the Best Success Stories Often Begin With Failure by Amy Crawford

Best-Sellers Initially Rejected

Forget Positive Thinking: This Is How To Actually Change Negative Thoughts For Success by M. Wilding

After 27 Rejections, Dr. Seuss Almost Burned His First Unpublished Book – But He Hung In There and Went on to Become a Best-Selling Author

Songs – Motivational and Encouraging

Here are some songs I’ve found motivational, or helpful, in times of emotional duress – some of these listed below are ones I listened to on repeat in the years following the death of someone I was very close to and kept me holding on (when nothing much else helped).

I used to have clinical depression, still have anxiety (at times, including full blown panic attacks), and I have insomnia – and on occasion, self-doubt. Some of the songs below help me out during times of worry or insecurity.

Some of these songs deal with getting up and trying again, even though some of your dreams didn’t come true, or you failed at something. Others may deal with some kind of loss or with depression. Some are religious in nature, others not.

Because videos are sometimes pulled from You Tube due to copyright infringement, I’ll place links to the same song on other people’s accounts, in case the embedded video (or first link) gets pulled.


Hold on Tight – by ELO (Electric Light Orchestra)

Link 1 Link 2 | Link 3

Sample Lyrics:

Hold on tight to your dream
When you see your ship go sailing
When you feel your heart is breaking
Hold on tight to your dream


The Promise – by The Martins

Link 1 | Link 2 (with Lyrics on screen) | Link 3

Sample Lyrics:

I never said that fear wouldn’t find you in the night
Or that loneliness was something you’d never have to fight
But I did say I’d be right there by your side
And I did say I’ll always help you fight

‘Cause you know I made a promise that I intend to keep
My grace will be sufficient in every time of need
And my love will be the anchor that you can hold onto
This is the promise, this is the promise I made to you


I Believe I Can Fly – by R. Kelly

Link 1 | Link 2 | Link 3

Sample Lyrics:

I used to think that I could not go on
And life was nothing but an awful song
But now I know the meaning of true love
I’m leaning on the everlasting arms
If I can see it, then I can do it
If I just believe it, there’s nothing to it
I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky

Continue reading “Songs – Motivational and Encouraging”