I first heard of Sheryl Sandberg when I “accidentally” came across a video of her commencement address about 1 ½ years ago. It was a fantastic speech that really stayed with me. Then a few months ago I listened to an interview with her on Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast (which I highly recommend!), in which she spoke of her book, “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy”, co-written with psychologist Adam Grant.
My interest well and truly piqued, I got hold of the book, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I think it’s a book everyone should read.
If you’re not familiar with Sheryl, her husband died suddenly and tragically a couple of years ago, and the book is a combination of her story, how she and her family found their way through their grief, and many other stories – but more than that – a book about how people in all kinds of circumstances can build resilience and cope with, not just grief and trauma, but life’s daily disappointments and twists and turns.
“We plant the seeds of resilience in the ways we process negative events. After spending decades studying how people deal with setbacks, psychologist Martine Seligman found that three P’s can stunt recovery: (1) personalisation – the belief that we are at fault; (2) pervasivenss – the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life; and (3) permanence – the believe that the aftershocks of the event will last forever……Hundreds of studies have shown that children and adults recover more quickly when they realise that hardships aren’t entirely their fault, don’t affect every aspect of their lives, and won’t follow them everywhere forever. Recognizing that negative events aren’t personal, pervasive, or permanent, makes people less likely to get depressed and better able to cope.”
This is one of those life-changing books. It’s a really easy read (although you will need tissues) yet its messages are profound and it offers some great practical tools (p68 is one I’ve found particularly helpful). Little did I know when I ordered the book that just a few weeks later I would lose my dad unexpectedly, so the timing was quite spooky, but as they say, there is no such thing as coincidence. And even had I not had to deal with the death of my dad, this book is a real gift.
For me, the most powerful quote of the book, and the one that sums it up, is Sheryl’s quote: “Just weeks after losing Dave, I was talking to Phil about a father-child activity. We came up with a plan for someone to fill in for Dave. I cried to Phil, “But I want Dave.” He put his arm around me and said, “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of Option B.” Life is never perfect. We all live some form of Option B. This book is to help us all kick the shit out of it.”
I hope you love this amazing book as much as I did, and I’d love to know what gifts you most take away from it! Share your thoughts…