Bruce Feiler | The Lie We’ve Been Taught About Life and How to Prepare for Lifequakes

In today’s episode, we cover the myth of linear success with Bruce Feiler. Bruce is the author of seven New York Times bestsellers, the presenter of two prime-time series on PBS, and the inspiration for the drama series Council of Dads on NBC.

Many of us have grown up with a misconception about how life is “supposed to go” – but where does that idea come from, how did people think about life before that better prepared them for major setbacks, and what can we do to better prepare ourselves now for the inevitable pain and suffering we will deal with in our lives?

What to Listen For

  • What is a life quake, how often do they occur in our lives, and how can we prepare for them?
  • Why do many of us have the misconception that life should follow a linear path, how does that prevent us from handling what life throws at us, and what can we do to change our mindset so the stress doesn’t kill us?
  • What is the best response to a setback in life?
  • How should we construct our identity when life will always throw unexpected, stressful, and potentially traumatic events at us that set us back from the linear life path we expect?
  • What can we do when the story we tell ourselves about life is “supposed to be about” is disrupted by unexpected events so we are not crushed by those events?
  • Why does it feel like we are dealing with more and more major life events than generations in the past had to deal with and how can we adapt to so many potential setbacks in life?

We have been led to believe life is supposed to follow a linear path. Many of us think as long as we keep a stable job and work for a good company, our wealth and our lives will keep improving over time. Unfortunately, that is not how life works. 

Everything in this universe is cyclical. Life is born and then life dies so more life can take its place. To get stronger, you must apply stress to your body and then let it rest. To navigate all of life’s obstacles, you must push forward, tackle one, and then take a moment to collect yourself before pushing forward to tackle the next one, and some of those obstacles can knock you down and keep you down longer than you “want to be.”

But we can’t let that stop us from learning and moving forward.

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Resources from this Episode

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AJ Harbinger - author of 1156 posts on The Art of Charm

AJ Harbinger is one of the world’s top relationship development experts. His company, The Art of Charm, is a leading training facility for top performers that want to overcome social anxiety, develop social capital and build relationships of the highest quality. Raised by a single father, AJ felt a strong desire to learn about relationships and the elements that make them successful. However, this interest went largely untapped for many years. Following the path set out for him by his family, AJ studied biology in college and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the University of Michigan. It was at this time that he began to feel immense pressure from the cancer lab he worked in and began to explore other outlets for expression. It was at this point that The Art of Charm Podcast was born.

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