The Character Building Project

Michael J. Kerrigan

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As a “recovering lobbyists”, I maintain an interest in observing how influencers interact in insightful ways, often with these interactions producing exponentially raised success rates.

I was honored to be invited by Team Red White and Blue (teamrwb.org) to speak to cadets at the United States Military Academy. One of the many highlights of this trip was the opportunity to meet with Michael D. Matthews, the Professor of Engineering Psychology at West Point. Soon thereafter Oxford University Press published Matthews’ most recent book, Head Strong, How Psychology is Revolutionizing War. I was so impressed with Head Strong that I chronicled it in five posts on The Character Building Project. (Please see the Head Strong Chronicle #1: Does War Stimulate Science Or Vice Versa?)

Mike is now on sabbatical working for the Army Chief of Staff in the Pentagon. Hoping to put two thought influencers together, I introduced him to Paul Stoltz,… Continue reading

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Consider supporting a group of UVA students working with a local non-profit organization, ParadeRest, to collect and preserve the stories of military veterans with a focus on WWII. Please join in our venture to gather and share these incredible stories before it’s too late.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/paraderestva/a-nickel-for-your-story

Our Story:

May 8th, 2015 will mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day.  Unfortunately, the men and women of “the Greatest Generation,” who remember this day, are leaving us too quickly. Many of these men and women still have sharp memories and meaningful experiences to share. We had the opportunity to experience this at the Memorial Day event hosted by ParadeRest last spring. While the event honored all veterans, it focused on those from the Second World War. As these elderly men and women gathered, they began telling stories and accounts of the war that surprised even their family members who were now hearing these… Continue reading

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Another great article from CLAIRE DOROTIK-NANA, LMFT

It’s a coveted trait. It’s what coaching gurus promise, athletes embody, and secretly we all want. It’s what separates though who can take a hit and those who will quit. It’s often what divides those who will fight until success is theirs and those who will only hope for it.

It’s mental toughness. And here are five things that grow it.

Adversity. If physical stress builds physical strength, it’s adversity – which is a form of emotional stress – that builds mental toughness. And if we define mental toughness as the ability to take life’s setbacks and turn them into springboards, then setbacks are the fuel that mental toughness feeds on. For evidence, we can look to the research of Tedeschi and Calhoun, the foremost researchers of post-traumatic growth, who studied groups of trauma survivors, to determine that undergoing trauma ignited a growth… Continue reading

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Readers have asked me to share a solid definition of Post Traumatic Growth (PTG). The following article by CLAIRE DOROTIK-NANA, LMFT  does just that.

Depression is debilitating. Heartbreaking. Hard to get over. Well, just depressing. For depressed people, the news is not good.

But wait…It’s not the truth either.

And there is an entire field of study that shows that the things that often lead to depression — trauma, setbacks, stress, adversity — can have just the opposite effect, meaning they don’t lead to depression. Instead they lead to growth.

It’s called post-traumatic growth.

And studies on post-traumatic growth show that after major life traumas more people show post-traumatic growth than PTSD (Morris, Finch, Scott, 2007).

So just what is post-traumatic growth, you ask?

Post-traumatic growth can be defined as the positive psychological change that results from the attempt to find new meaning and resolve after a traumatic event… Continue reading

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Courage in America has been aurally transcribed for the visually impaired, thanks to Volunteers of Vacaville, California. Tel: 704.448.6841 ext 2044.