Guest Q&A with Author of Fearless Liam Hackett.
Welcome to the FCBG blog! Fearless! is your debut book for young people – can you tell us about the book and what it means to you?
The best way to describe the book is as the ultimate self-help bible to guide people along their own personal journey of becoming their true, confident self. To me, the word ‘fearless’ encapsulates everything I want to inspire my readers to be – authentic, confident, resilient and above all: proud to be themselves in a world that puts us all under pressure to look, be and act a certain way.
Why should young people read this book?
As the CEO of Ditch the Label, I hear from young people all the time about some of the issues affecting them the most – bullying, body image, social media, fitting in, identity and mental health are just some of the many issues I talk about in the book. This truly is the book I needed when I was growing up and it’s packed with shocking facts, weird history, true stories and advice from some awesome people. There’s something for everyone in this book!
What are the most important lessons in Fearless?
One of the biggest subjects explored in the book is the idea of ‘unconscious bias’, this is when our brains make snap judgements on individuals or groups of people based on the messages picked up from things like the news, movies, TV, social media and things we’re told. Quite often this leads to prejudice and stereotypes. The entire of chapter 2 explores the science behind unconscious bias and gives the reader the tools and techniques they need to make their unconscious bias kinder and less judgemental. Second to that is a huge focus on mental health – exploring our emotions, where they come from and how we can deal with them in positive ways as opposed to negative. The third lesson I would say, orientates heavily around stereotypes and explores how we’re all under so much pressure to conform with certain ideals – whether that’s how we look, our interests and personality or even the kind of career we aspire to have. I take the reader on a journey of exploring the science and history of stereotypes and understanding how they are mostly restrictive and can be overcome.
Tell us about your work at Ditch the Label.
Ditch the Label is one of the largest youth charities in the world, each month we help thousands of young people to overcome some of the issues affecting them the most; such as bullying, mental wellbeing, body image and relationships. The idea for the charity started when I was 15, after I experienced 10 years of bullying at school. I officially launched the charity in 2012 after graduating from University and last year we reached 3.6 million young people globally.
The book is packed full of inspiring advice from body positive activists, disability campaigners and those who have defied society’s gender stereotypes. Who are your fearless role models?
First and foremost – my mum! She’s fiercely strong and independent and worked so hard to be where she is today. She’s never let anybody tell her she can’t do something, in fact when they do it just spurs her on even more. Second to that, I take a lot of inspiration from individual and grassroot campaigners; young people and adults driving real changes in their community, country or world. A lot of the changes are driven through the use of the internet, just showing how amazingly powerful it truly is.
Fearless is written by Liam Hackett and published by Scholastic on 16th January 2020.
Opinions expressed may not truly reflect those of the FCBG.