Vulnerability is not really a subject in which I have any interest at all. But since I do take the recommended reading list of Tim Bilyeu, a entrepreneur and influencer, quite seriously, I decided to give this book, Brené Brown’s Darling Greatly, which is one that is on his recommended list, a try. Although this book isn’t too relevant to me, there are a few key points, especially those that are about parenting, that are quite useful. Here are those points that just seem to stick to my mind better than many other ideas in the book.
Vulnerability is Neither Good or Bad, It’s Part of You
A lot of emotions we have can be just something how the human brain work. Think when human are still hunters. We need fear to protect ourselves from challenging animals that are way too strong for us to handle. Although we are now in the internet age, how the human brain works may not have changed over time to suit the modern day lifestyle. Vulnerability or shame is just one of those emotions that is produced to protect us if we are still in the hunting era. It may still be useful being able to be aware of our shame to check whether there is actually any danger or any room for improvement, but we shouldn’t get depressed by vulnerability, especially if we assume how our brains work is something that we can’t change. Just let the bad emotions fly by like clouds in the sky and reflect on them without feeling high or low if you want to check whether there is something you can learn from it.
Bad Event Doesn’t Mean Bad Person
We shouldn’t feel shameful just because we did something that simply suck. The best basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, only hits half of his shots. Do we say that he is a bad basketball player when he misses a shot? No. Then don’t be that harsh on yourself. Looking for ways to improve is great, while beating yourself up for longer than minutes is bad.
A Good Person Can Have Bad Thoughts, Like Harry Potter
Sometimes, we have bad thoughts in our mind. For example, you may have evil thoughts about how you can make the co-worker you hate look bad in front of a crowd. They can be scary thoughts like losing your closest family member. You should not place any judgement on these bad thoughts. They are simply some random thoughts produced by your brain that can be related things that are put into your subconscious when you watch the news or your favorite drama series. It’s like Harry Potter having some scary or other bad thoughts in his mind, assuming we all agree that he is a good guy. If you want to reduce your chance of having bad thoughts, may be stop watching the news is a good place to start.
Shame Can Make You Unproductive
As Seth Godin mentioned in his book Linchpin, being too picky on whatever you are creating, especially as an entrepreneur or any type of creator, often leads to products that never get shipped. One can get really picky when he or she is afraid to get critized. It is shame that prevents us from being productive. When is the last time that you started to make something and never get it even closed to complete? Laziness can definitely play a role, shame can also easily be half of the problem.
Just Show Up and Let People See You
Like many things in life, as long as you show up, you have a much better chance of finishing it. I still remember there were two times in my early career that I have to work on a job that is way outside my comfort zone. I thought I would never do well, yet I showed up, due to necessity in that case, and everything else just worked fine naturally after just a few weeks. In the book, Brown said that simply showing up and letting people see who you are is the best way to tackle shame. That usually means that you are exposing yourself to critisims, but what can critisims do to you if you simply decide not to let them move you up or down emotionally.
Don’t Share Your Thoughts to Everyone
Letting people see you, or in order words, letting people know about what you think is good, but only if you share the right things with the right people. For thoughts that are very personal, you should only share them with people that you can trust. In her book, Brown said that she told her daughter to think of trust as a jar of marbles. Every time a person does something that make you trust him or her more, put a marble in the jar. With enough marbles in the jar, that person is someone that you can trust and share your thoughts with.
Parenting Tip #1: Preaching to Your Children is Useless, Be a Role Model
When you read a book, have you ever find a good idea that you have already been told by your parents but you have never listened to? That’s just how things work. We naturally don’t listen to what our closest ones told us but we listen to people that we don’t know that well. But, at the same time, we do subconsciously copy what our parents do, and I bet you should have noticed that by now. So, in order to teach your children to become good people, you must lead by example instead of preaching.
Parenting Tip #2: Share Your Past Failure with Your Children to Help Them Handle Shame
When your children are growing up, they would encounter things or do things that they are shameful about. To help them learn how to handle the shame, simply share with them some of your relevant past experience with them. By connecting with them and making them know that they are the only ones that make those silly mistakes, they should be more easily let go and learn from the so-called failures.
Although this book is not really my type of book, I am surprised that there is one idea from this book that really have helped solved a question in my mind that has stayed there for a long time. That idea is the Harry Potter idea: a good person can have bad thoughts, just like Harry Potter. I now know that these bad thoughts are just part of how the human brain works. Just let them fly by my mind like clouds. Say hi to them without giving much attention.