I Dare You, Greatly

I’m actually excited about reading “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown, not just because it appeared on my recommended reading list twice but also because I get the chance to read it with a very good friend of mine. In fact, it was a gift! 🙂 I’m sure it will turn out to be a gift that keeps on giving! As always, I’ll highlight and comment on the ideas the wisdom that spoke to me the most.


 Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose. p. 2

At first, I had a hard time determining how vulnerability relates to a sense of purpose. But,  if you think about it, you have to really dig deep into who you are as a person to figure out what you’re passionate about and what fulfills you.

When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make. p. 2

This is so true. By refusing to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we deny the development that we need to reach our potential. Humbling ourselves lets us be open to feedback, guidance, and correction, and it opens our eyes to aspects of ourselves that we easily overlook.

We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering. p. 8

We humans have a tendency to define things by what they are not. This is especially true of our emotional experiences. p. 8

Those who feel lovable, who love, and who experience belonging simply believe they are worthy of love and belonging. p. 11

This changed everything for me. No one will be able to love you fully until you let them. And that starts with loving yourself. It took me awhile to figure this out. What do you do when you love someone? Just do those same things for you! It’s been an amazing experience. I’m not all the way there, but I’m moving right along!

The main concern of Wholehearted men and women is living a life defined by courage, compassion, and connection. p. 11

Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences. p. 12

When failure is not an option we can forget about learning, creativity, and innovation. p. 15

We are taught that failure is bad. I’m out to change that. The only way to never fail is to never try. And if we never try then we never move forward. And if we never move forward, we die. In short, if we don’t try, we die.

Chapter 1- Scarcity: Looking Inside Our Culture of “Never Enough”

This chapter challenges me in a different way. A lot of the issues that people face in the topics of the chapter are things that I have made great progress dealing with in the past 5 years of my life. It’s actually a bit difficult for me to read through the first chapter because my mind has a negativity filter which is going crazy trying to block out anything that threatens my mental equilibrium. I think the chapter will be good for helping me understand others and what they go through.

For instance, one of the sources referenced mentions that people go through out their day thinking about everything that they don’t have enough of as if that’s a bad thing. Whereas for me, everything that I desire is just a few steps away mentally since I know that all I need to do is map out a plan to achieve or attain those things. I don’t have a longing since of desperation or envy anymore and I think a huge part of that has to do with my spiritual connectedness and my faith-based moral foundation. Since I have a better sense of my worth and my purpose, I tend to focus more on what I do have than what I don’t have.

Despite my mental resistance to the material, the author does present excellent points on how we became narcissistic as  culture in order to protect our self-confidence. Folks define themselves based on how they are perceived and thus in order to constantly evaluate that they are indeed good enough, the spotlight must stay on them.

But now that I think of it, I do see how most folks use their “never enough” mentality to protect their egos. In my line of work, many people avoid seeking financial planning because they don’t feel like they have enough money to manage. Well, with that attitude you’ll never have enough to manage! Same thing applies to relationships, weight management, and spirituality. We use our “not enough” excuse to keep us from becoming vulnerable and being exposed. I always hear “I don’t have enough time”.

What makes this constant assessing and comparing so self-defeating is that we are often comparing our lives, our marriages, our families, and our communities to unattainable, media-driven visions of perfection, or we’re holding up our reality against our own fictional account of how great someone else has it. p. 26

It’s interesting that we use the media as our standard and yet we don’t necessarily try to pursue that standard. We basically use the media as a tool for diagnosing our social and socio-economic issues. I think this lends itself to all the contradictory statements that I hear from my peers. Some say they truly desire a relationship and yet their behaviors don’t agree. They say they want to be wealthy, and yet their actions don’t tell the same story. Instead of using that standard to elevate ourselves, we use it to re-affirm our debilitating actions, thus sealing us at our lower level of achievement.

There are many tenets of Wholeheartedness, but at its very core is vulnerability and worthiness: facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough. p. 29

The greatest casualties of a scarcity culture are our willingness to own our vulnerabilities and our ability to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. p. 29

This is huge. This was my game changer. Once you deem yourself worthy, it’s hard for anyone to treat you any other way! And as a child of God, no one can take that from you!

Chapter 2: Debunking the Vulnerability Myths

We’ve come to the point where, rather than respecting and appreciating the courage and daring behind vulnerability, we let our fear and discomfort become judgment and criticism. p. 33

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path. p. 34

Vulnerability without boundaries leads to disconnection, distrust, and disengagement. p. 46

…the most dangerous in terms of corroding the trust connection, I would say disengagement. When the people we love or with whom we have a deep connection stop caring, stop paying attention, stop investing, and stop fighting for the relationship, trust begins to slip away and hurt starts seeping in. Disengagement triggers shame and our greatest fears- the fears of being abandoned, unworthy, and unlovable. What can make this covert betrayal so much more dangerous than something like a lie or an affair is that we can’t point to the source of our pain-there’s no event, no obvious evidence of brokenness. It can feel crazy-making. p. 52

Trust is a product of vulnerability that grows over time and requires work, attention, and full engagement. p. 53

We simply can’t learn to be more vulnerable and courageous on our own. Sometimes our first and greatest dare is asking for support. p. 56

Chapter 2 was pretty straightforward. We need the help of others in order to embrace our vulnerability so that we can get on to enjoying the best things in life. All relationships require a degree of trust that can only be accomplished by becoming vulnerable.


About Ernest Levert Jr.

Aspiring Servant-Leader studying engineering principles, financial stewardship, business management, and psychology fundamentals in order to cultivate passionate leadership, disseminate positive energy, uplift the community and ultimately create a brighter future for generations to come.
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