Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness

with Steve Magness

About the Episode

This week’s episode of The Growth Guide podcast features Steve Magness, a performance coach who works with athletes, entrepreneurs and executives. He is the author of the book “Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness”.  He talks about his book which brings a radical rethinking of how we perceive toughness and what it means to achieve our high ambitions in the face of hard things.

Being physically strong and being tough are two different things. Toughness comes from within. According to Steve, toughness includes not only physical strength but also emotional and cognitive flexibility in dealing with situations. 

Being optimistic is important because you can find a little glimmer of hope in the darkest of hours. But being optimistic isn’t enough in real-life situations. What matters is what it’s going to take and what you are capable of to achieve goals. Steve dives into what it takes to shape reality, what it takes to accomplish things in real life. 

According to research, showing too much confidence means you have too many insecurities. Steve talks about the difference between arrogance and confidence and what you need to do to build confidence inside you.

It is critical that we respond appropriately to various situations. Overreacting or not reacting at all can cause you pain or suffering. Steve walks us through creating space between stimulus and response. 

Self-determination theory is a broad framework for the study of human motivation and personality and also happens to be one of the most robust theories in psychology. Wrapping up the conversation, Steve dives into the three components that you need to cultivate intrinsic motivation in yourself.

Topics Discussed

Defining toughness [02.41]
What people commonly think toughness means, comparing physical toughness vs. inner strength.
Training model [08.48]
Why are people caged in an outdated training model to develop children using archaic military-style methods, when the US military has updated their training model.
Ditching the facade [15.03]
Acting or appearing tough is just faking it until you make it, until reality smacks us in the face.
Duality of life [25.00]
We only show people what we want them to see. Steve dives into how dangerous it is when people show only their bright side on social media.
Arrogance vs. confidence [35.52]
Confidence is not about being perfect. Steve explains what is lacking in people who try too hard to let others know they are confident and how you can build inner confidence.
Overcorrecting [41.30]
We have a bias towards always correcting and what happens we tend to overcorrect.
Being alone in your head [56.32]
How to learn to practice cognitive behavior therapy by making it simple and consistent in your life.
Stimulus and response [01.16.09]
Increasing the gap between a stimulus and a response to improve your response.


Book by Marcus Aurelius
Man's Search for Meaning
Book by Viktor E. Frankl

Connect with Steve Magness

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