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Q: What is the science behind resilience?
A: We develop resilience the way we develop athletic or academic skills: By practicing and getting better at it. Here’s the catch: Most people don’t want to fail, and parents in particular don’t want their kids to fail. So we’re programmed to avoid failure. To some extent, that’s a mistake. The good news, if you will, is that some sort of failure is inevitable for most people. So when it happens, it’s important to acknowledge it and learn from it. Researchers think of this in terms of building blocks: Learning how to recover from small setbacks, even as children, helps us build the reflexes and durability that will allow us to overcome bigger setbacks in the future. The vital thing is to recognize failure as a learning opportunity and not hide it, deny it or pretend it didn’t happen.
Q: What are some examples of people who have turned setbacks into success?
A: One of the things I discovered while writing this book is that many successful people have endured some kind of significant failure. These crucible moments often provide insights that open the door to success later on. Many of the titans we consider landmark Americans, such as Ben Franklin, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, experienced serious setbacks along the way. They became indomitable because they learned how to stumble and recover.
It’s not just a historical phenomenon. In the book, I profile a dozen contemporary Americans whose failures helped make them successful. Tim Westergren was a burned-out musician when he got the idea for the Pandora Internet radio site, and realized it might be a way for struggling bands like the one he had been in to connect with new listeners they wouldn’t find any other way. As a player early in his baseball career, Joe Torre struggled with weak confidence and a raft of personal problems. But that later gave him a unique ability to manage the complex personalities on a team like the New York Yankees (not to mention the combative owner, George Steinbrenner), and turn them into world champions. Many of the people we envy and admire are far more familiar with failure than you’d ever guess.
Q: What are some modern misconceptions of success?
A: There’s a familiar slogan, “failure is not an option.” But that’s for amateurs; true achievers know that failure is often an option if you’re trying to do something difficult. Here’s another one: “Follow your bliss,” popularized by the mythologist Joseph Campbell and millions of baby boomers who sort of misunderstood what he was saying. Baby boomers made it trendy to seek passion in your career. Sounds great, but many people have followed their passion straight into a career dead-end because they didn’t think about what might go wrong. Passion alone usually isn’t enough.
You often hear people talk about optimism as if simply looking on the sunny side will lead to riches. But optimism can be dangerous if it leads to a blind belief that things will work out with no need for extra effort. Resilient people believe they have the power to make their lives better, but they believe that because they’ve learned how to anticipate what could go wrong and developed “rebounding” skills they can summon when they need to. They’re not blind-sided by setbacks. Anticipating them helps surmount them. The best optimism comes from gaining experience at bouncing back.
Q: Is an American renaissance possible?
A: Many Americans feel a frustrating sense of decline, which I think is legitimate. I also think it’s reversible—but it’s going to take a newfound self-sufficiency to turn things around. New government policies won’t do it. Traditional safety nets will probably get weaker, not stronger. Anybody waiting for somebody else to solve his/her problems will be waiting a long time. But people who learn to channel the bootstrap ruggedness of the nation’s great achievers still face a very promising future. And self-sufficiency is a core virtue possessed by Rebounders. That’s why Rebounders will be the vanguard of the American renaissance.
I like this book. It was worth my time to read and I was able to harvest some diamond ideas that I can apply in my own life. Read morePublished 5 months ago by John Spessard
Good read. Would recommend to help in your professional career.Published 8 months ago by Marybeth S.
Sure gives you insight to one's own situation that anything is possible to turn around as long as you have the right attitude and strategy.Published 11 months ago by Peter Schleider
Changed my view of perceived failings from being personal disasters into learning processes. At the same time provided insight into some causes leading to failure, how to overcome... Read morePublished 19 months ago by V. H.
don't bother. Author does not provide anything of value. better to read a comic book and have a good laughPublished 22 months ago by jm
This author must really believe that he is addressing an entirely naive audience. A series of anecdotes, interspersed with platitudes, does not make for much of a compelling... Read morePublished on September 26, 2013 by Novalis
Easy to read book. I loved the stories of Pandora and Netflix guys the most. Definitely the book is worth readingPublished on June 15, 2013 by Sergio
Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success by Rick Newman
"Rebounders" is a good collection of stories from successful people who have been labeled rebounders... Read more
This is a magazine article's worth of good content surrounded by boring filler. I just could not get into or feel compelled by much in this book. Read morePublished on May 1, 2013 by Book Fanatic