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359 Life Is In The Transitions with NY Times Bestselling Author Bruce Feiler

Wednesday 19th June 2024
FYD EPISODE 359 Bruce Feiler

Here at Christopher Lochhead: Follow Your Different, we’ve had the privilege of engaging in conversations that transcend the ordinary, delving into the depths of what truly makes us tick. On this episode, we sat down with Bruce Feiler, an acclaimed New York Times best-selling author, to explore his work, “Life Is in the Transitions.”

Bruce Feiler is a renowned American author, television personality, and speaker known for his insightful and thought-provoking work on family dynamics, religion, and contemporary culture. He is the author of several New York Times bestsellers, including “Walking the Bible,” “The Council of Dads,” and “Life Is in the Transitions.” Feiler’s work often blends personal narrative with broader cultural analysis, and he has been a popular columnist for publications like The New York Times.

This wasn’t your typical interview; it was a real, raw conversation about the seismic shifts we all face and how we can navigate them with grace and resilience. We believe that people are now more than ever being rocked by their life quakes, and hope that Bruce’s words could help us once again.

You’re listening to Christopher Lochhead: Follow Your Different. We are the real dialogue podcast for people with a different mind. So get your mind in a different place, and hey ho, let’s go.

Bruce Feiler on the Non-Linear Journey of Life

Bruce’s personal journey is a testament to the power of embracing life’s unpredictability. From battling cancer to supporting his father through Parkinson’s disease, he’s no stranger to what he calls “life quakes.” These are the massive, often unexpected events that shake us to our core and challenge the linear narrative we’ve been sold about how life is “supposed” to go.

During our talk, Bruce recounted a moment at his 30th college reunion that sparked a revelation. As he moderated a panel of distinguished classmates, he saw firsthand the universal struggle to maintain the facade of a perfect, linear life trajectory. This experience, coupled with his own, led him to question the societal pressures that bind us to outdated life narratives.

Bruce Feiler on the Myth of the Midlife Crisis

One of the most enlightening parts of our discussion centered on the concept of the midlife crisis. Bruce debunked this myth, pointing out the flawed research and biases behind it. He argued that we need to update our understanding of life transitions to reflect the modern, non-linear world we live in—a world where change is the only constant.

We also emphasized the importance of proactive life design. We must acknowledge and navigate through life’s disruptions, which often come at us like a “car pileup,” multiple and simultaneous. It’s about learning to dance in the rain, rather than waiting for the storm to pass.

Life Quakes: Voluntary and Involuntary

Bruce explained that life quakes are frequent disruptors, with most being manageable. However, about 53% of these quakes are involuntary—like a spouse cheating or losing a job—while 47% are voluntary, such as changing religion or leaving a job. Millennials, he noted, are more inclined to seek change, while older generations may feel more stuck.

The pandemic, a collective involuntary life quake, has heightened our sensitivity to change. Bruce stressed that while the quake may be involuntary, the life transition that follows must be voluntary. It’s about taking back control and making the decision to navigate through the transition effectively.

“If we look at life transitions as periods that we have to suffer our way through, we are wasting half of our life. If we look at them as periods, they’re going to be difficult and painful, but there’s also opportunities for growth and renewal. That’s the story of your life.”

– Bruce Feiler

Bruce’s book doesn’t just lay out the problem; it offers a toolkit for navigating life transitions. He provides practical guidance on what to expect, the phases involved, and the tools to get through it. This part of our conversation was particularly impactful, as it offered listeners actionable steps to take control of their life narratives.

To hear more from Bruce Feiler and know more about life quakes and the transitions that come with it, download and listen to this episode.


Bruce Feiler is one of America’s most popular voices in contemporary life.

He is the author of several New York Times bestsellers; the presenter of two prime-time series on PBS; and the inspiration for the drama COUNCIL OF DADS on NBC.

Bruce’s two TED Talks have been viewed more than two million times. Employing a firsthand approach to his work, Bruce is known for living the experiences he writes about. His work combines timeless wisdom with timely knowledge turned into practical, positive messages that allow people to live with more meaning, passion, and joy.

His book, LIFE IS IN THE TRANSITIONS: Mastering Change at Any Age, describes his journey across America, collecting hundreds of life stories, exploring how we can navigate the growing number of life transitions with greater purpose and skill. “One of those books that’s so profoundly aligned with the zeitgeist that you end up underlining the whole book,” wrote Arianna Huffington in Thrive Global. “Bruce Feiler is the perfect person to lead us on this journey.”


Connect with Bruce Feiler!

Website | LinkedIn | Twitter/X | Books

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Christopher Lochhead: Follow Your Different™! Christopher loves hearing from his listeners. Feel free to email him, connect on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and subscribe on Apple Podcast / Spotify!