Everybody fails sometime, at something. Though a failure can feel devastating, Neil Pasricha argues in You Are Awesome that repeated failure is essential for success. What’s more, it is the key to building resilience.
A person lacking resilience crumples at minor setbacks and is unlikely to overcome obstacles and persevere, learning from each mistake and false start until they succeed. “You win some, you learn some,” from the book, illustrates this belief.
You Are Awesome shares nine “secrets” to building resilience and taking failure in stride. The secrets are mostly common-sense advice. Even so, Pasricha’s presentation is engaging and novel in its reframing of failure and the choices we have as we respond to disappointment.
Stop overreacting to small setbacks—or even large ones—the book advises. Instead, focus on what you can do with that experience. Learn to take inevitable changes and roadblocks in stride, affect the ones you can—and reframe the “failures” you can neither control nor avoid.
The book is a quick read. Each tip is presented with anecdotes that illustrate its meaning or relevance. The bottom line is, rather than seeing a setback or even a significant failure, like getting fired from a dream job, as a reflection on yourself—and confirmation that you will never amount to anything—Pasricha recasts these failure experiences as learning moments.
One “secret” or tip that resonates, though it seems to have little to do with resilience, is number eight, “Go Untouchable.” This section describes his habit of creating weekly (or twice-weekly) days where he is completely out of touch, off the grid. In this age of ubiquitous smartphones and expectations of instant 24-hour-a-day access, setting aside an entire day—every week! —where you cannot be found, interrupted, distracted, or bothered is bold.
It’s also a great way to make yourself more productive in ways that matter most to you. In fact, much of the advice in You Are Awesome amounts to releasing the hold that expectations—other people’s, society’s—have on you.
Pasricha writes often about intentional living—taking, and teaching, steps to toward building resilience and focusing on your own goals fits that mold. The book is simple but surprisingly resonant.
You Are Awesome was released November 5, 2019, by Simon & Schuster, which provided The eLearning Guild an advance copy for review.