Suddenly the worst happens: violence, accidents, life-threatening illness--traumatic loss—and life is never the same again. Many people are defeated by traumatic loss, but others emerge stronger¸ more hopeful and resilient, going on to live more vibrant and meaningful lives.

What makes the difference?  The fascinating new book, Supersurvivors¸ answers this question with dramatic accounts of men and women who’ve experienced post-traumatic growth.  One man loses a leg in an accident, then becomes a Hollywood stunt man. A woman recovers from a life-threatening illness to become a world-class violinist. Another woman awakens from a coma, rebuilding her life and bringing her company back from bankruptcy. And after losing a friend in the September 2001 attacks, a multimillionaire CEO  gives away his possessions to become a priest, then helps rebuild his community in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (Feldman & Kravetz, 2014).

What can we learn from these “super survivors”? The ability to:

  • See beyond superficial “positive thinking.”
  • Connect with our deepest values.
  • Believe in the power of our choices to control our destiny
  • Live with hope, combining goals and strategic problem-solving with a powerful sense of possibility (Snyder, 1994).

And ultimately, we discover our ability to deal with unforeseen challenges and realize the remarkable potential of the human spirit.


Feldman, David B. & Kravetz, Lee Daniel. (2014). Supersurvivors: The surprising link between suffering and success. New York, NY: HarperCollins. For more information on the book see or

Snyder, C. R. (1994). The Psychology of Hope. (1994). New York: Simon & Schuster.


Diane Dreher is a best-selling author, personal coach, and professor at Santa Clara University. Her latest book is Your Personal Renaissance: 12 Steps to Finding Your Life’s True Calling.

Follow Diane on Twitter: Diane Dreher (@dianedreher) on Twitter

Like Diane on Facebook: Diane Dreher | Facebook

You are reading

Your Personal Renaissance

A Surprising Way to Deal with Stress

New insights from recent research.

Why Your Dog Is Good for Your Health

The benefits of canine companionship.

The Narcissist Next Door

Do you know someone like this?