Maybe you are one of the lucky ones and things go your way most of the time. But for me, most of my patients, and plenty of others around the world, life truly is just one thing after another. 

But what if we took a moment to look at our struggle and vulnerability with fresh eyes? The talks we’re sharing in this piece will help us do just that!

The TED Talks we are pointing you in this article are so transforming that they have had more than 31 million views to date!

The speaker, Brené Brown, explains our struggles in such a fun and insightful way that there are too many Ah-ha moments to count. (I’ve watched these TED Talks so many times and always hear something I missed!)

She helps us appreciate and even welcome, the struggle, vulnerability, and imperfections in our lives. Really!

It’s too hard for me to explain in brief. You’ll just have to see for yourself why 26 million people have shared this first talk:

Via: TED 1

Brilliantly fun and insightful, huh? That’s how all of TED’s talks are, just like this one! We at EWC absolutely love TED and think it’s one of the most interesting websites out there. On our own website here, we feature the best of their talks a couple of times each month. If I do say so myself, EWC and TED are the only places I have found where smart people, curious and hopeful, can always come away transformed. Check out our list of Must-See TED Talks here, and make sure to check out TED as well!

So many of Brené’s sentences seem to land like welcome punches!

About Struggle:

Dr. Chuck and I have been lucky to get close to the lives of thousands of wonderful patients and after having watched so many people negotiate life’s challenges, I’ve decided two things are true about struggle:

1.  If we manage the meaning of our misfortune and mistakes, we can come out remarkably stronger, more resilient and much wiser. But when we accept the role of the “a victim” through our struggles, we are almost always doomed to repeat them.

2. When we shield our children from having to struggle – fight their battles, make life easier for them – we prevent them from developing the coping skills and resiliency to handle life’s challenges when they finally have to face them alone.

Image: Family in an airport

Midnight, December 23, 2001 – Chicago O’Hare Airport – Our flight is canceled after we waited for 7 hours with one in diapers, and another with a raging ear infection. Dr. Chuck was folded like a lawn chair.
Source: Dr. Lynda

Think about the most successful, resilient and truly happy people you know. Not the outwardly perfect people; but rather the people who bounce back after great challenges, and rarely shrink after failure.

Most will have a story of struggles to tell. And they will also have the courage to be vulnerable because they have some mastery of that cycle of risk, struggle, growth.

On Vulnerability:

Every person we feature on Ever Widening Circles tends to pluck at a common chord in us all. Most of us can imagine their apprehensions.

Image: Kids with pots on their heads

Source: Dr. Lynda

I’m thinking many of us look at an innovator’s story with wonder because we can see they were willing to allow themselves to be vulnerable; doing something where there are no guarantees, working whole-hardheartedly, matching the struggle with equal resiliency.

Maybe we all recognize that if we let our guards down a bit, new territory would be open to us?

Here’s one of my favorite Brené Brown quotes. I think of it daily as my daughter and I work to make this website a movement for positive dialogue about the world.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity, innovation, change and connection. If it doesn’t feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive.”

I could not agree more. That’s why we keep it so “real” here at EWC.

We are transparent and unashamed of the simple story of our project. By letting people know that we are not some stealthily trained, web-savvy duo, we are leaving ourselves vulnerable, and inviting real people to join us.

Embracing Whole-Heartedness

What would a world look like where we raised our children to engage in the powerful mindset that Brené suggests? Could we be wired for struggle from the beginning?

So, now if your curiosity and interest is peaked, let’s continue with Brené’s second TED Talk.

Here is the next extraordinary talk that Brené Brown gave about two years after the first one we watched today.

Again, in another incredible TED Talk, she is funny and even more vulnerable, but coming from an even deeper place of transformation for us all:

Via: TED 2

And lastly today, if you just can’t get enough of Brené Brown’s transformational insights, I came across the most extraordinary interview with her, that is worth every minute of your time.

Now get another cup of coffee, or your favorite comfort beverage, take a soft chair, and finish this EWC journey of thought, with a kind of connection that can only come from listening deeply to a fellow traveler on this spinning blue ball.

Someone who is willing to be exquisitely “real.”

See what you think…

Via: OnBeing 3

The interview you just heard is from a podcast called “” and I encourage you to explore there. The host, Krista Tippet, is widely known and respected for interviews of remarkable depth, with some of the most interesting people in the world. It’s a great place to lose yourself in wonder.

I hope you have enjoyed this thorough exploration of struggle and vulnerability!

This is the kind of thing EWC was created for.  We are not counting the words or minutes in our articles, measuring every insight to fit in a box that matches attention spans.

We are letting some subject unfold in a completely organic way; perhaps the way we experienced them ourselves.

I’ll leave you with one last Brené Brown quote to ponder. I often think of this one, just before diving into a place of vulnerability with a patient who I know needs some deep connection.

“The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you and the last thing I’m willing to show you. In you, it’s courage and daring. In me, it’s weakness.” – Brené Brown

Try being vulnerable first – especially with the tough characters in your life – and it will be like riding a bicycle. I promise.

You’ll have a few crashes at first. Then graduate to “wobbly comfort”, and before you know it, you’ll be riding places with people you never imagined, wind in your hair, sun on your face.

Thanks for stopping by today! Check us out tomorrow and you never know what you’ll find!

Stay open, curious, and hopeful!

~Dr. Lynda

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  1. Brown, Brené. “The Power of Vulnerability | Brené Brown | TED Talks.”YouTube. TED, 03 Jan. 2011. Web. 25 July 2016. <>.
  2. Brown, Brené. “Brené Brown: Listening to Shame.” YouTube. TED, 16 Mar. 2012. Web. 25 July 2016. <>.
  3. Brown, Brené. “The Courage to Be Vulnerable.” The On Being Project., 29 Jan. 2015. Web. 29 Mar. 2018. <>.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world. Hear her latest conversations with thought leaders on the Conspiracy of Goodness Podcast--new episodes every Wednesday!