The Resilience Project- Hugh Van Cuylanburg


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Finding happiness through gratitude, empathy & mindfulness.

Hugh van Cuylenburg was a primary school teacher volunteering in northern India when he had a life-changing realisation- despite the underprivileged community the children were from, they were remarkably positive. By contrast, back in Australia Hugh knew that all too many people found it hard to be happy, or suffered from mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. His own little sister had been ravaged by anorexia nervosa.

How was it that young people he knew at home, who had food, shelter, friends and a loving family, struggled with their mental health, while these kids seemed so contented and resilient? He set about finding the answer and in time came to recognise the key traits and behaviours these children possessed were gratitude, empathy and mindfulness.



BOOK REVIEW by Leanne Williams

The Resilience Project – Finding Happiness through Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness. By Hugh van Cuylenburg

I entered 2020 where self-development was at the forefront of my thoughts. For many reasons, to be a better partner, to be a better friend, to be a better employer, to be a better teacher, to be a better daughter, to be a better leader, to be a better sister, aunt, great-aunt, sister-in-law… you name it, there is the possibility of development.

Conversations with like minded people were had and certain books were recommended, this one was one of those, I then started to see it in different places…. The petrol station in Glenburn, a bookstore window I was passing, the Post Office. The Universe was talking to me. 😊

So, I purchased it, this book had me from the first paragraph, Hugh van Cuylenburg whilst writing this book talks so openly about all facets of his life, his parents, siblings, work colleagues, students, and friends.

The fact that Hugh was Melbourne born, educated and then his workplace was here too, resonated with me, I knew his high school, his university and the girl’s school of his first teaching position.

Hugh’s sister struggled with anorexia Nervosa during her teenage years and into her 20’s, this impacted their family as a whole. From experiencing this, Hugh decided he would like to became a Primary School teacher to work with children from a young age and aid them in their development.

This led him to travels through Northern India, the contrast he saw there between Indian children who came from some very under privileged backgrounds and the children back at home who he had witnessed suffering from depression, social issues and mental illnesses was noticeable.

Hugh stayed and taught voluntarily with the children and found that they were happy and positive, he discovered that the amazing elements these children had was gratitude, empathy and mindfulness and this enabled them to live a fulfilled life contrary to their circumstances.

Hugh van Cuylenburg has since become a renown public speaker, speaking at more than 800 schools all over Australia. He has worked in primary and secondary schools for the last 17 years and completed his post-graduate studies looking at resilience and well-being.

Australian sporting Associations such as our National Rugby League, The Jillaroos, Australian Cricket Team, 10 AFL Teams, the Australian Netball Team and the Australian Women’s Soccer Team have had Hugh come and work with the players, aiding them in their development of wellness.

You will also find Hugh speaking Nationally at many venues through out Australia, speaking on his GEM (Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness) Project…. Building Resilience.

This has been one of the most honestly written books I have ever read, I could not put it down and a must read for any person of any age…


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