"True nobility is being superior to your former self."
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on October 18, 2021
No matter the breadth and depth of our family ties, friendship circles, and professional networks, we live alone. We all get up every morning, put on our clothes, brush our teeth, and meet the day with a smile or frown. We head out into the world to make choices and decisions of all kinds about what kind of person we are (and will be), how we will continue to learn and develop (or not), and how we will contribute to the lives of those we encounter (for better or worse).
If we want to have any chance of looking in the mirror at age 28, 48, 68, or 88 and not just see a more wrinkled version of our 18-year old selves, we need to figure out how to grow from our life experiences. The word flex has many meanings but one is important here: “to change something slightly to make it more suitable for a particular situation.” If we hope to grow into our lives as accomplished, kinder and wiser versions of former selves, we need to learn to flex. Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” Susan Ashford helps us here become noble versions of ourselves.
Drawing from her own life as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, friend, teacher and research professor, Ashford draws upon her own and so many others’ lived experiences, as well as decades of social and organizational psychology research, to help us become our better selves.
It is impossible to read this book and not come away inspired to grow, better equipped to learn, and eager to be that noble new person. To be sure, we are not alone on this journey. As Ashford points out, relatives, friends, colleagues, coaches, and even strangers can and will help us along the way but at the end of the day, we have to do the growing. Susan Ashford helps us do just that.
What I love most about this book is that it is rooted in self-compassion. There is no sense here that we are broken. Susan Ashford never tells that we must grow, must learn, or must change. She simply takes us as we are and with a durable faith in the possibilities of the human person, encourages us to take a look at ourselves. Ever optimistic, she inspires, gently coaxes, and ultimately helps us be better than we might ever imagine.
Give this book a read. You, and everyone in your world, will be glad you did!
13 people found this helpful