Angela Duckworth: Finding the Margins

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My name is Kate Bowler.
I’m a Duke professor, author and incurable optimist.

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I was sort of hoping my life would follow the checklist model that I'd set up: go to college, marry my high school sweetheart, get a PhD, have a kid. Did I mention tenure? Live happily ever after, don't be a dink. Check, check, check, check, check. But what about when life comes apart? How do some people find a way to live beautifully alongside their limitations? I wanted to talk to someone who would know.
Psychologist #AngelaDuckworth studies the significance of resilience in high achievers. I spoke with Angela about the importance of finding your calling and how to develop resilience in ourselves and our kids.
Listen in (or read the full transcript) through the link in my bio. This beautiful illustration was created by my sister, @WeGotThisArt (
Sesame Street
Happy 50th Birthday to @sesamestreet! The work that people like Sherrie Westin and her team of muppets do is amazing. They work to make the tiniest among us braver, smarter, and kinder. I loved hearing more about the history behind the show and their work internationally (but seriously, did you know they have dozens of co-productions meaning they make brand new #SesameStreet shows for specific regions and contexts?! Unreal.) Click the link in my bio to listen to my conversation with Sherrie.
Phoenix Convention Center
What a wonderful opportunity to talk with Dr. Tracy Balboni in a room full of doctors and healers. One of the things that really struck me is the reality of how many doctors hold the stories of others. Sending so much love to all of you who care for people like me. #AAMC #AAMC19
I loved what @drvivekmurthy said when he talked about the cure to loneliness. “We can be the medicine that each other needs,” he said. “We can be the solution other people crave. We are all doctors and we are all healers. The question is, do we have the courage to speak up and stand up for others, to reach out to them when we feel they may be in need.” That’s what I needed to hear right now. Loneliness may be the disease, but we are all medicine. Listen to our full conversation or read the transcript using the link in my bio.
When you are so happy that @cnn doesn’t film below the waist. When you are coming from the airport, you wear the only clean clothes you have. #yogapants4life
When @drvivekmurthy was appointed as America’s Doctor, he embarked on a listening tour to determine what was ailing Americans. The answer surprised him. Twenty percent admitted to feeling lonely. We can have a million people in our contact list and no one to bring us a casserole when we’re struggling. I’m starting to realize that I need to look more closely at the kinds of connections I am making… do they bring life? Do they bring meaning? Do they bring casseroles?
In this soulful conversation, I spoke with Vivek about loneliness as a public health crisis and how the experience of disconnection affects our ability to weather life’s most difficult storms. Listen or read the full transcript using the link in my profile.
This gorgeous custom illustration is by @WeGotThisArt (
He chose this pose. And the fact that I still can flip him when he runs toward me FULL TILT is a surprise to both of us. Durham was going bananas tonight because there was a beautiful art exhibit about the full moon and people were out dressed as wolves and turkeys on stilts and crows flying midair. And whenever I’m in a crowd I think “People are so incredible.” Because I guarantee that the lady who made the giant crow costume did not wake up this morning and think “Thank God everything is perfect and I have all this spare energy and resources to make a giant crow.” The coffee grinder probably broke and her mom was sick and her kid got a report card that raised some issues. But she made something anyway. We make things for zero incentive except it is in us to create. For some reason, people make beautiful things even when they don’t have enough. God bless all the makers. You bring delight and crows and full moons to the rest of us who also need a minute to feel wonder that, somehow, we survived another beautiful day.
Jurassic family. This does not capture the fact that Zach roared for the next two hours. But mostly politely. But otherwise Zach was a velociraptor and Toban was Owen (Chris Pratt) and I was the lady with Red Hair but mostly a Jurassic Park Jeep with working lights. And we had friends come over dressed as cats or pirates and I couldn’t believe how lucky I felt that I was not wearing a giant pair of Canadian snowpants. But also PROGRESS because last year I spent the two subsequent weeks with injuries I sustained from wearing a giant box against my skin when I was dressed as a human Traffic Light. We live and learn. And shine. And wear our jeeps.
I didn’t think it was possible to have a photograph, a perfect record, of the best moment of my life. But here it is. Zach’s birthday. The first moment he looked into my eyes and I looked into his and we loved each instantly. Like electricity. After a 36 hour horror show delivery, I couldn’t even believe that he was so... himself and so was I. I knew that this was the great “After” in my Before and After. And that I would count my life by his years. And my favorite part is that kid is not trophy because I didn’t deserve him or earn him or even will him into being. This kid was pure, untarnished gift. And I thank God every day that this dreamboat dinosaur made my delicate life worth every needle and heartache. Today all he wants is a pumpkin carved into a shark but also a fleet remote control dinosaurs so he can definitely get the pumpkin.
Thinking of all of you who need one thing to go right. I hope you get your One Thing too. 💕
Pullen Memorial Baptist Church
And this is how I feel about @noraborealis. It was such a privilege to talk about grief with my obviously-somehow-separated-at-birth twin, who knows all of my secret hard thoughts and tells me it is okay that everything is different now. She is pure gift. Thanks to all the people who came to talk with us today at #GriefFest and thank you to @katiehawk for hosting and to @nationhahn for your incredible example and hospitality.
I hate being away from home when big moments are happening. So it makes it a thousand times sweeter to be able to swoop in for a second and say “Happy Birthday!” to a mom who redefines kindness and service. It surprised no one that the moment she “retired” she began taking on the duties of the church—visiting the sick and loving anyone who needed a hand to hold. Geez Louise, mom. I am so proud to be your daughter. Thanks for always putting notes in my lunch and braiding my hair and letting me eat all your food well into my 30s. I love taking all your stuff... and also stealing a little of your character. I’m still hopeful I’ll turn out like you. Happy birthday 🎉
A video surfaced this week of a prominent evangelical pastor telling Bible teacher Beth Moore to “go home.” Unfortunately, this reaction to women leading, serving, and teaching is nothing new. While Beth Moore routinely outsells and outperforms her fellow evangelists, her power can never lie in the wooden pulpit of a brick-and-mortar church. She rules a theological kingdom that hates to need her.
This week on the #EverythingHappens Podcast, I talked with another evangelical darling: @JenHatmaker. As an author and speaker, Jen ruled the Christian marketplace. But when her theology shifted, she learned how harsh the penalties could be. I spoke with Jen about what it means to lead faithfully when you lose certainty.
Listen to our full conversation (or read the transcript) through the link in my profile.
This custom illustration was done by my amazing sister, @WeGotThisArt (