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1. Ready

What is grounded confidence?

Grounded confidence is another trait that emerged from Brené Brown’s research and consists of three parts: rumble skills, curiosity, and practice.

Grounded Confidence = Rumble skills + Curiosity + Practice

Unlike the stereotypical idea of confidence, which may be associated with arrogance or self-absorption, grounded confidence is rooted in self-awareness and practice. It involves recognizing that mistakes and “failure” are inevitable but that these are learning opportunities, having the courage to engage in challenging conversations, and being willing to step outside of your comfort zone. To develop a better understanding of grounded confidence, let’s individually consider rumble skills and curiosity.

What are rumble skills?

According to
Brené Brown, Brown, B. (2019, August). Courage and Vulnerability Part II: Grounded Confidence and the Rumble. Brené Brown #daringclassrooms Hub.
rumble skills are “tools that help us engage in hard conversations”.

She suggests using the word rumble as an intention setter and a behaviour cue to engage in a real conversation even though it’s tough. Instead of saying, “Can we have a conversation? There are some things that I think we need to discuss. I know that it will be challenging, and I hope that we will both be able to brave trust and help each other lean into the discomfort”, it’s a lot easier to simply say, “Let’s rumble”.

However, for a discussion, conversation, or meeting to be a true rumble, there need to be
six shared commitments: Brown, B. (2019, August). Courage and Vulnerability Part II: Grounded Confidence and the Rumble. Brené Brown #daringclassrooms Hub.
1. Leaning into vulnerability.
2. Staying curious and generous.
3. Sticking with the messy middle of problem identification and solving.
4. Taking a break or time out if needed, and circle back when necessary.
5. Being honest in owning our parts.
6. Listening with the same passion with which we want to be heard.

What is curiosity?

The second part of grounded confidence is curiosity, which rumbling skills are based on.
Todd Kashdan Kashdan, T. (2009). Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life. William Morrow.
defines curiosity as recognizing, embracing, and seeking out knowledge and new experiences. Curiosity can otherwise be thought of as being a learner, rather than a judger. In her book, “Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 10 Powerful Tools for Life and Work”,
Marilee Adams Adams, M. (2009). Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 10 Powerful Tools for Life and Work. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
speaks about the learner and judger paths and our ability to choose which path we walk.

These paths are characterized by the questions that we ask. Learner questions promote progress and possibilities because of their open-minded, curious, and creative nature. The learner path often leads to understanding, discoveries, and solutions. Judger questions on the other hand are very critical, close-minded, and self-centered. They focus on problems and tend to lead to defensive reactions and negativity. Fortunately, you can choose to go down the learner or judger path by changing the kind of questions that you ask yourself and others.

Why is grounded confidence important?

Since grounded confidence is based on rumbling with curiosity, the more relevant question might be, why does curiosity matter? By studying daily diary entries from 97 students for 21 days,
researchers Kashdan, T., & Steger, M. (2007). Curiosity and pathways to well-being and meaning in life: Traits, states, and everyday behaviors. Motivation and Emotion, 31(3), 159–173.
found a significant relationship between curiosity and wellbeing: On days where students communicated more curiosity, they also reported more frequent growth-oriented behaviours, greater life satisfaction, and more meaning in life. Not only this, but greater trait curiosity on any given day also predicted greater persistence of meaning in life from one day to the next. Similarly, curiosity (alongside hope, zest, gratitude, and love) was found to be
one of five character strengths Park, N., Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. (2004). STRENGTHS OF CHARACTER AND WELL-BEING. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 23(5), 603–619.8
that most strongly correlated with life satisfaction.

The benefits of curiosity on our overall health and wellbeing are also apparent in the long run:
Population studies Swan, G., & Carmelli, D. (1996). Curiosity and mortality in aging adults: a 5-year follow-up of the Western Collaborative Group Study. Psychology and Aging, 11(3), 449–453.
have found that people high in curiosity have lower mortality rates. These relationships between curiosity and mental wellbeing can be explained by the pathway that curiosity catalyzes: Curiosity leads to exploration, which normally results in a discovery. This discovery creates a sense of excitement and pleasure. As you engage more with the discovery, you gain new skills. This mastery of new skills or knowledge is known to increase confidence, enhance self-esteem and increase your sense of security.

Curiosity, and taking on a learner mindset by asking “learner questions”, will also develop relationships and establish a deeper sense of connection. By being curious about your students’ lives and making an effort to get to know them (rather than knowing about them), you can
develop relationships Hammel, A. (2014). [Review of Teaching That Changes Lives: 12 Mindset Tools for Igniting the Love of Learning. (Book review)]. American Music Teacher, 63(5), 53–54. Music Teachers National Association, Inc.
that lead to respectful and purposeful learning that transforms lives. Furthermore, although it might seem challenging and exhausting to “rumble”, when you rumble with curiosity, you can strengthen relationships, broaden perspectives, increase empathy, and develop trust, which all contribute to better mental health and wellbeing, as well as success.

If the scientific evidence is not enough to convince you, perhaps you’ll consider the advice of Albert Einstein:

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing”.

Where can I learn more?

Brené Brown: Let’s Rumble

#daringclassrooms Learning Lab Video: How do we create a space that encourages others to contribute?

The Story Rumble Process: A Guide for Groups and Teams

TED Talk: Becoming a mad scientist with your life by Todd Kashdan

Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life by Todd Kashdan

Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends on It by Ian Leslie

University of Pennsylvania, Shifting Mindsets: Questions that Lead to Results

Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 12 Powerful Tools for Leadership, Coaching and Life by Marilee Adams

What will students learn?

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to…

  • Describe the rumble process, and use specific rumble starters to productively engage in challenging conversations
  • Understand the benefits of curiosity and how to cultivate it (i.e. learner questions)
  • Recognize when they are on the judger path and choose to change pathways
References
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Adams, M. (2009). Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 10 Powerful Tools for Life and Work. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Brown, B. (2019, August). Courage and Vulnerability Part II: Grounded Confidence and the Rumble.

Brené Brown #daringclassrooms Hub.

Hammel, A. (2014). [Review of Teaching That Changes Lives: 12 Mindset Tools for Igniting the Love of Learning. (Book review)]. American Music Teacher, 63(5), 53–54. Music Teachers National Association, Inc.

Kashdan, T., & Steger, M. (2007). Curiosity and pathways to well-being and meaning in life: Traits, states, and everyday behaviors. Motivation and Emotion, 31(3), 159–173.

Kashdan, T. (2009). Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life. William Morrow.

Park, N., Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. (2004). STRENGTHS OF CHARACTER AND WELL-BEING. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 23(5), 603–619.

Swan, G., & Carmelli, D. (1996). Curiosity and mortality in aging adults: a 5-year follow-up of the Western Collaborative Group Study. Psychology and Aging, 11(3), 449–453.

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