Brené Brown — Striving versus Self-Acceptance, Saving Marriages, and More | The Tim Ferriss Show
- Tim Ferriss introduces Dr. Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, as his guest on The Tim Ferriss Show.
- Dr. Brown has spent two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy.
- She's authored five #1 New York Times bestsellers and has one of the top five most-viewed TED talks.
- Dr. Brown released a Netflix special called "The Call to Courage" and hosts a podcast titled "Unlocking Us."
Why women love Brené (00:01:31)
- Brené Brown's name elicits excited reactions from women, signifying that she has struck a chord with her audience.
- Brown theorizes that people connect with her vulnerability and struggle, as she openly shares both her research and personal challenges.
- Her approach differs from the "highlight reel" by also showing the messiness of real life, making her more relatable and trustworthy.
On setting boundaries (00:06:10)
- Dr. Brown discusses the challenges of suddenly becoming a public figure after her TED talk went viral.
- She emphasizes the importance of setting and adjusting personal boundaries on a daily basis.
- Denotes her gratitude that fame did not come at a younger age, as she believes those primarily seeking fame contribute little of interest.
Chasing the extraordinary vs. embracing the ordinary (00:08:09)
- Brené Brown believes it's her ordinariness that resonates with people, despite how society often shames the ordinary.
- She discusses the paradox of ordinary people doing extraordinary things and the importance of appreciating ordinary moments.
- Brown explains that during times of hardship, people yearn for ordinary moments that they might otherwise overlook.
Brené’s confronting photo session (00:11:43)
- Dr. Brown recounts a confronting experience during a photoshoot for her podcast.
- She grapples with societal expectations, her own aging, and the pressure on women to appear perfect.
- Brown chooses to embrace her authentic self and encourages openness about parts of our lives that are often kept hidden due to shame.
Self-acceptance vs. complacency (00:14:58)
- Self-acceptance and striving for excellence are not mutually exclusive but striking a balance is key.
- Brené Brown and Tim Ferriss discuss the boundary between accepting oneself and falling into complacency.
- Both engage in practices that promote self-acceptance, like gratitude journaling, while maintaining high achievement standards.
- Brown emphasizes that self-acceptance is necessary for positive, lasting change and that complacency often does not arise from a true self-aware acceptance but rather from denial or narcissism.
- Ferriss schedules time for both self-acceptance and striving to ensure neither is neglected.
- Brown has shifted her perspective to setting her own internal standards and boundaries rather than adhering to external expectations.
- The concept of ‘making room for both’ self-acceptance and striving is explored, influenced by a book Ferriss read called "Already Free."
- They agree that self-cruelty is ineffective for long-term success and that there are multiple types of self-acceptance, some of which can lead to complacency if they're not carefully examined.
- The paradox of self-love and the desire for improvement captures the complex nature of human experience—they suggest both are necessary for genuine change.
Reflection on personal experiences and philosophies
- Ferriss reflects on self-loathing driving his performance in the past and recognizes the importance of self-forgiveness.
- Brown acknowledges the importance of self-acceptance for real change and views self-criticism for performance as unsustainable.
- They both explore the types of self-acceptance, indicating that an honest acknowledgment of the current experience is vital, but it should also be coupled with actions to improve upon the recognized issues.
- The discussion circulates around the idea that knowing and accepting oneself is crucial for lasting, meaningful self-improvement.
- Narcissism and denial are viewed as forms of complacency that are not genuinely informed by self-understanding or acceptance.
- Ultimately, they conclude that self-acceptance is essential for any positive change, as opposed to self-loathing or delusional self-concepts.
Worries about losing my audience (00:29:22)
- Concerns about audience retention when switching from performance improvement topics to inner self-awareness
- The realization that many high-performing individuals are miserable, raising questions about the reason for their unhappiness
- Willingness to risk losing some of the audience to explore deeper topics of self-awareness and unlocking people, not just performance
- Narcissism is a shame-based disorder, not about self-love but grandiosity driven by self-hatred
- It stems from a fear of being ordinary
- Recognizing the importance of self-awareness and its challenges in personal development
- Efficiency and effectiveness have their places, but self-awareness is a complex, non-efficient process
Shedding our pathological armor for our superpower (00:34:36)
- Social needs for connecting with others lead to the development of protective armor or behaviors from past trauma
- Discussion about the challenges of feeling vulnerability and the risks of opening "Pandora's Box" of emotions
- Emphasizes the importance of questioning how avoiding vulnerability serves a person
- Midlife development involves confronting the protective armor that no longer serves us, often resulting in a "brutal unraveling"
- The fork in the road during this unraveling involves a choice: to double down on denial or to become curious and increase self-awareness
- It's suggested that the replacement for protective armor should be curiosity
- The challenge of addressing trauma, which requires a nuanced approach, sometimes necessitating therapy
- Acknowledges various levels of trauma in all individuals and points to "The Body Keeps the Score" as a resource for understanding the somatic aspects of trauma
The control self-awareness brings (00:44:17)
- Acknowledging emotional and cognitive aspects is crucial for decision-making.
- People may avoid confronting their issues, but they manifest regardless.
- Dealing with one's issues directly allows for better control and self-awareness.
- The alternative is inadvertently letting these issues affect one's life.
- Self-awareness can be frightening but is necessary for personal growth.
Accelerated self-awareness (00:46:22)
- Curiosity about subconscious programming can lead to important self-discoveries.
- Personal changes do not necessarily require decades; they can happen rapidly with proper tools and support.
- Patterns in behavior can be identified and addressed with structured communication.
- Relationships can improve when partners communicate clearly about positives and desired changes.
Marriage hacks (00:48:55)
- The belief that marriage is a 50/50 effort is false; it varies depending on each partner's capacity at a given time.
- Transparency about one's current state allows partners to support each other effectively.
- Preemptive strategies are developed to handle collective low-energy periods.
- Determining and serving the family as a system that includes prioritizing collective health over individual desires.
Family decision-making at Brené’s house (00:54:02)
- Decision-making at home is an open dialogue between family members.
- Parents maintain veto power over decisions and use it sparingly.
- Children are encouraged to participate in discussions, but parental guidance is prominent.
Brené’s approach to parenting (00:55:03)
- Parental goal: shift from compliance to commitment in kids' behavior.
- Explains reasons behind rules; promotes understanding of family values.
- Involves children in decisions, like choosing extracurricular activities.
- Limits imposed based on wellbeing, e.g., balancing school workload.
- Encourages exploration in college rather than early specialization.
- Values knowing what you don't want to do as highly as knowing what you do.
Take service jobs when you’re young (00:59:09)
- Advocates for young individuals to work in service jobs.
- Believes it teaches valuable lessons about interaction and respect.
Five things Brené has changed her mind about (00:59:55)
- Slowed down from a "further faster" mentality to prioritize quality of work.
- Reached a place where sobriety is considered a superpower for clarity and commitment in life.
- Embraced a food plan that works personally but is also flexible.
- Believes in the power of neutrality related to temptations like food and drink.
- Changed thought on perfectionism: doing something is better than waiting for the ideal conditions.
- Prioritized sleep for overall well-being and embraced functional medicine.
- Notices a thematic issue with the British in personal absurd loves and interests.
The summary captures the essence of Brené Brown's parenting philosophy, personal changes in mindset, and the importance of certain life experiences. Her approach to life reflects a balance between commitment, self-exploration, sobriety, and imperfection, advocating for conscious living that aligns closely with one's personal values and health.
Five absurd, stupid things Brené does (01:08:06)
- Hosts movie nights just to watch movie trailers, enjoying the emotional rush without full movies.
- Engages in bad trash talk while playing competitive games like ping-pong, four square, and cards.
- Watches Rick Beato videos on YouTube to learn about music, notably rock and acoustic guitar intros.
- Enjoys viewing British crime procedurals and the show "Gogglebox" which features people watching TV.
- Spends time on TikTok, shares favorite videos on Instagram, and jokes about it being addictive.
Five things Brené is excited about (01:13:09)
- Taking a visiting professorship at Texas McCombs and bringing "Dare to Lead" program to UT.
- Launching a new podcast, "Unlocking Us," and looking forward to less travel because of this project.
- Adopting new work structure with 30% leadership and 70% white space for creativity and research on human experience.
- Plans to write a new book and is committed to thoughtful content that makes a contribution.
- Enjoys making #wholesometictoc content, expressing a joyfulness for simple, light-hearted activities.