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Podcast"Good" Adversity with Malcolm Gladwell

"Good" Adversity with Malcolm Gladwell

Writer and podcast host Malcolm Gladwell is on Radio Headspace all week! Today, he discusses how overcoming adversity can benefit us in the long run.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace

(sand sifting) (mouse clicking) (peaceful music) Head Space Studios. Hi, everyone. Welcome to Radio Head Space and to Friday. It's Malcolm Gladwell here. Thanks so much for having me as your guest host this week. Today, I'm gonna talk about adversity. Adversity can be coded as a negative thing we have to overcome but a lack of obstacles can rob us of the grit we need to build character. So let's talk about how to approach life's challenges in a way that's productive and overcome adversity in a way that benefits us in the long run. What strikes me when I look around at the people who are successful are the ones who have a certain amount of determination and are willing to persevere. You know, in writing all of the best writers I know are people who do not just a few more drafts but like twice as many drafts of any given thing they're working on than the people I know who are not successful. Unsuccessful writers in my mind tend to be people who just are not willing to persevere at a given piece of writing until it works. They give up too soon. My first drafts aren't terribly good. I sometimes start over. Instead of thinking of that as evidence of my weakness or failure I just think of that as normal. That's what it takes. And I'm also a big believer in small victories. When you are faced with an overwhelming task what you need to do is divide it up into many different, smaller tasks. And when you win at one of those smaller tasks to pat yourself on the back, you know, there's a standard running workout that middle distance runners do which is 10 times 400 meters. So 10 times once you're on the track, it's pretty daunting. When you think about that workout going in. So as opposed to you finish one or you go, oh God, nine more. They finish one. And they, they say we've finished one. Wow, that was great. Right? It's like they divide it up into 10 different activities and you conquer one at a time. And that way, it sounds like a really simple thing but it's so liberating, dividing stuff up and making sure that you give yourself credit for each stage along the process is I think a tremendously important way of dealing with the fear of failure and with feeling overwhelmed. 'Cause we get overwhelmed when the mountain seems insurmountable. But if you think of the mountain as actually 10 much smaller hills, it's not so insurmountable. Let me give you an example of how a challenge can be productive in a kind of roundabout way. In my book, David and Goliath I did a whole chapter on why it was that so many entrepreneurs were dyslexic. The reason for that is that you can divide dyslexics into two groups. There are those who are defeated by their disability and for many good...


Duration6 min

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