Loss and adversity are part of the human condition, but an imperfect past isn’t always an indicator of what’s to come. Often the people with the hardest beginnings in life – children who experience displacement, financial ruin, abandonment or bereavement – become the most high achieving adults. From world leaders to CEOs, actors to archbishops, Olympic sports stars to Nobel Prize-winning scientists, many have overcome immense challenges, tragedies and difficulties in early life before going on to achieve extraordinary success and fame.
Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson (What I Wish I’d Known When I Was Young) consider why this is and how the psychological impact of trauma propels people to strive harder, commit more fully and not give up. They bring together the latest psychological research with interviews with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Russell Brand, Brian Cox, Andy Murray, Lemn Sissay, Grayson Perry, Sajid Javid and Hilary Mantel, to help us better understand the art of resilience, motivation, perspective and courage.