EP. 45: SURVIVING SURVIVAL: LAURENCE GONZALES ON TRAUMATIC EVENTS AND NEW NORMALS
Play • 52 min

What can we learn from survival science about recovering from trauma? What can survivors of extreme events teach us about creating a new normal?  

My guest on this episode is Laurence Gonzales.

Laurence Gonzales is the author of numerous books and has won many awards, including two National Magazine Awards and the Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Laurence also received a Journalism Fellowship from the Santa Fe Institute and where he was also appointed a Miller Scholar. 

Laurence wrote the best-selling books Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why, its sequel Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience, and Everyday Survival: Why Smart People Do Stupid Things.

In these books, Laurence chronicles not only how some endured life-threatening situations and somehow survive them, but also their second acts; the difficulty of moving on from their trauma to the equally challenging return to or re-creation of a "normal" life.

The extreme events that Laurence writes about are helpful to study as it lends perspective; we realize we are one among many who may have it far worse than we. Also helpful are the lessons learned on how the brain and body work during and after traumatic events. 

Some of our talking points….

  • How evolutionary wiring works for us and against us 
  • PTSD or PTS
  • Why some survive, and others do not 
  • Problems with narrow domain expertise and ego 
  • Active coping skills and suggested activities 
  • Awareness, behavioral scripts, and accidents
  • Cognitive dissonance 
  • The brain's rage pathway 
  • Goal seeking behavior and the power of hobbies 

I've been trying to get Laurence on for over a year - schedules just didn't align, but we finally made it happen happy to say and it was well worth it. 

Enjoy! 

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