Thursday, November 8, 2012

On Our Vulnerability and Strengths

Today I don't want to talk specifically about the classroom, our teaching practices or ideas for our academic world. I 'm with this thought marinading over and over for the past days, and it all came to full circle this morning after watching and feeling deeply touched by researcher Brene Brown. The main point of her talk with Jonathan Fields was about understanding our own stories and putting vulnerability and fail into perspective. There are just so many powerful ideas and thoughts in this video...

Only those who are able to put themselves out there in a state of emergence and a bit of trust in themselves, even if it means to be in a position of vulnerability, will  be able to add value to every endeavor they pursue in their lives. Only when we let ourselves say that, "I don't know, but just let's  give it a try", will we get to something bigger and probably above us, something with true meaning, innovative, inspiring. We, Brazilians, come from a very rooted catholic ethos in which we need to be humble, and whenever we do something good and people praise us, it is unholy to fill up our breasts in pride of our achievements. Generally, we do the opposite, we hide our greatest conquers into diminishing their true value, saying, "Oh, no. It was nothing. Oh, no I did nothing." How many times have we hidden ourselves into inaction just because we just didn't have a little faith in our own skills and knowledge and talents, considering the others around us to be the most competent, the most suitable for that job or position, the most qualified professional we know? How about us? Don't we have anything worth it? I know many very talented people and professionals who would answer no, thinking that they are just ordinary people, when, in truth, they are a treasure box of genius. 

Our main challenge, then, is to inhabit our own world and take action, having the guts to seek a meaningful, whole-hearted life that feels fulfilling. As Brené Brown says, it is really sad when the world misses the chance to engage with people because they've just decided to be part of the audience, sitting in the breach, observing the crowd, but not taking the risk to be out there.

As teachers, we are more lenient to the vulnerability scale, for we put ourselves out there every single day, but, are we really doing that or just faking it through the same old safe routines, same beginning, middle and end? It is about time we started taking a certain number of risks and letting our learners perceive our imperfections not as flaws, but as spaces for collective explorations and growth. 

Vulnerability. Action. Emergence. That's what we should be considering right now to bring the best of us to the ones whom we care for, for a better world. So, can you shamelessly name five of your strengths and with a prevailing trust that, yes, we are good at something that is worth sharing with others? Can you do something to your life that will impact positively on how you live with your life and how you connect to the ones around you?


  1. Very interesting Carla. Thank you.

  2. This is awesome, Carla. I see we teachers who are connected to online learning are learning about themselves and how to be authentic as teachers and colleagues. Thank you. I also wrote a blog post on the topic after speaking with Michael Wesch at the EdMedia conference in Denver in the summer of 2012:

  3. Carlota,
    I´m glad that you watched this video and that you liked it. I am reading Brene Brown´s book ¨Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead¨

  4. Carla
    You are most certainly one of those treasure boxes!
    Since many of us are humble, which is ok, and are indeed normal people, then I would suggest the following:
    Tell the people who have inspired you "thank you", and tell them why they are inspiring.
    We will still remain normal people but can open up the treasure box inside ourselves a little wider and show our treasures.
    Thank you, Carla for sharing on this blog.

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