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  • Writer's pictureAdrian Bethune

Workplace Culture Enthusiast, Bruce Daisley, on Fortitude

Updated: Feb 26, 2023

Bruce Daisley is the former European VP of Twitter, turned workplace culture enthusiast. He is an author with his first book The Joy of Work making the Sunday Times best seller list, and his podcast, Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat is the number one business podcast in the UK.

His latest book, Fortitude, was named as ‘The Best Business Book of the Year 2022’, by the Financial Times. It investigates the notion of resilience, questions our understanding of what resilience is and how to get more of it whilst putting forward his own theory for building fortitude.

We caught up with him to discuss some of his theories and how they might relate to the education system...

Why is our common understanding of resilience wrong?

Building more resilient children is a topic that has exploded in the UK education system in recent years. But what if our understanding of resilience is misguided?

In this clip, Bruce explores his theory of resilience as something that resides within us and is evident all around us, but which is difficult to ‘reproduce’ through resilience training. In fact, when the impact of resilience training in schools has been studied, he argues the research shows that these formal programmes has had no effect. Instead, he suggests that resilience is not an individual trait but is actually the strength we draw from each other.

Why don't happy kids make great sports people?

Research indicates that children that have higher levels of wellbeing do better academically and are more successful in life.

However, in Bruce’s book he unpacks compelling research that shows most of what we might call ‘super elite’ athletes have all suffered adversity and trauma in their childhood. Watch as he discusses this in more detail.

How does trauma affect our minds and bodies?

Trauma informed education is becoming more common within mainstream schools. In this clip, Bruce discusses why this is so important and how the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) index can be a useful tool for educators to help understand some behaviours in their classroom.

He also explores the idea that trauma doesn’t have to mean a set outcome for adulthood, and the that a certain level of adversity can actually improve life satisfaction.

What is fortitude and how does it differ to resilience?

Resilience is a term that has become part of common, everyday language. But, for Bruce, the term has become problematic in what he calls a ‘toxic reframing’ where the onus is on the individual to be more resilient rather than addressing the excessive demands and stresses we often live through today.

So, what does the term fortitude mean, and how can it help us to move away from those problematic associations now linked to resilience?

Why do identity, control, and 'the group' matter?

According to Bruce’s book there are three key pillars to fortitude – identity, sense of control and feeling part of a group.

In this clip he addresses each of these pillars, how they interplay with each other and what they mean for people’s wellbeing.

Inspired to read more?!

3 lucky readers can pick up a copy of Bruce's 2 best selling books simply by heading to Twitter or Instagram and liking and re-Tweeting our posts.

Winners will be selected at random on Sunday 5th March. Good luck!

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