Daring Greatly is a book about understanding shame and embracing vulnerability. Based on twelve years of social research, Dr Brene Brown explains how taking risks, feeling exposed and embracing the fear of failure can help us to be more courageous at home, in relationships, in the workplace and as parents.
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Daring Greatly is an invitation to explore our own vulnerability.
Exploring how feelings of shame and vulnerability shape our lives, self-esteem and decision making, the author looks at society re-enforces a widely accepted myth that it is a weakness for men and women to admit that things are not perfect.
Following on from a viral TED talk, this book has been instrumental in popularising conversation around vulnerability as well as introducing the lexicon of gratitude into the self help genre with authors such as Gretchen Ruben influenced by the author.
Below are some of the key insights I took from this book:
- The idea of “Daring Greatly” comes from a speech by Theodore Roosevelt and refers to the idea of showing up, performing and allowing yourself to be open to criticism.
- The notion of scarcity sits at the root of all feelings of vulnerability. The simple idea that despite our efforts to be wealthy, thin, attractive and popular we are never enough in comparison to our peer groups.
- Allowing ourselves to embrace vulnerability is a way to overcome this but many people assume that it is a weakness, that it is self-indulgent or that we can go it alone in life.
- If left unchecked, mistakes and guilt [where actions are bad] can become shame [where essence is bad] and different people feel different pressures here including shame about looks, popularity, parenthood, status, wealth or achievements.
- People respond to shame with foreboding, perfectionism and numbing but we can counteract these defence mechanisms by embracing joy, not letting perfect get in the way of good and setting boundaries with numbing techniques like drugs and alcohol that we use to take the edge off the day.
- To effect any change, we have to practice the values that we aspire to which will help us to feel more complete as a person and less subject to external criticism.
- In a society where people are increasingly dehumanised, we can take steps to humanize the workplace or education by using disruptive engagement to acknowledge the social pressures that impact us all.
- As parents, embracing wholeheartedness is also an important concept as it allows our children to model their behaviour and adjust to a world where ‘never enough’ is all around them.