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“The one who falls and gets back up is so much stronger than the one who never fell”

Watch this interview on YouTube here

On the episode you will learn:

✔ How a personal story from Howard Rankin, can help all of us reach our highest levels of potential.

✔ The power of honesty and truthfulness with relationships.

✔ Why seeing the “spirit” in others is so very important.

✔ The steps we can expect to take if a “Fall” happens so we can recover quickly and gracefully.

✔ The importance of rising above our “primitive brain” when dealing with difficult situations.

✔ What happens to our physical and mental health if we hold “trauma” within.

Welcome back to The Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast, for EPISODE #229. I’m Andrea Samadi, author, and educator, with a passion for learning, understanding difficult concepts, and breaking them down so that we can all use and apply the most current research to improve our productivity and results in our schools, sports environments, and modern workplaces.

Today we are welcoming Howard Rankin back for the 4th time to the podcast, to cover his newly released book, Falling to Grace.[i] Before reading Howard’s book this month, I had no idea of his story. I saw his book come out in April, on his birthday and knew we would have him back on the show to discuss it, knowing it would be full of thought-provoking lessons, but I had no idea just how personal, and deep his story would be. If you recall, Howard Rankin first appeared on the podcast this time last year for EPISODE #146[ii] where he taught us “How Not to Think” and that our thinking is full of cognitive biases. While reading this new book, I found myself asking a question, that he would answer later in the book, showing me that it’s easy to jump to a conclusion but that we should all be aware of the “limitations of our thinking.”

This book also brought to light that we are all “spiritual beings having a human experience” and the importance of seeing the spirit in everyone, and treating them without judgment as we never know what their internal struggles might be.  We learned from Dr. Marie Gervais on EPISODE #214[iii] on her book The Spirit of Work that there’s a shift when can see someone’s spiritual side, and can also connect science to everything that we do. If you have ever looked at someone and noticed their spirit, you will know exactly what I mean. I’ll never forget the first time I looked at someone and saw them shining brightly, seeing their potential that they were unaware of. They were sitting in front of me, and it’s a moment I’ll never forget, and was probably one of the reasons why I do what I do today. We all have tremendous potential within us, and this podcast was designed to help us to become aware of it, then use it.

But sometimes things happen in our life that make us question the direction we are going, but there is always a way around life’s obstacles. Howard’s book shows us that we can move beyond anything and connect our internal struggles to the most current brain research, in this quest to move towards redemption and healing.

I knew Howard lost his license as a psychologist and that it was important to cover, but I didn’t know how…which didn’t really matter to me. None of us are exempt from the story Howard will share—no one is exempt from Falling, in our personal or professional lives, but if we do, will we know how to Fall to Grace, with the lessons Howard shares for us? Howard’s story of tremendous loss and pain hold lessons we can all benefit from, especially if we want to reach our highest levels of productivity and achievement in this thing we call life. And if there’s something inside holding us back (like Howard will share) or anything else that might be bothering us, internally—that there is a way around it, to what he calls redemption—and it’s available for anyone who wants to do the work to achieve it.

“We can be redeemed only to the extent to which we see ourselves.” – Martin Buber

Let’s welcome back Howard Rankin for a 4th time to the podcast and see what we can learn from his lessons of Falling to Grace.

Welcome Howard, it’s wonderful to see you again. Thanks so much for coming back for a 4th time to the podcast.

I’ve got to say, your story is beyond painful for anyone to read, and witness first-hand the tremendous loss that occurred. It was heartbreaking to know this happened to you (and your family) and like the note I sent to you when I began reading your book, the lessons you are sharing with us are priceless because none of us are exempt from falling, but your experience gives us a pathway to fall with grace. Thank you for sharing such a personal story to help others find their way back up in a way we can all take something of value from and apply it in our own lives.


You say in the beginning of the book that you use your own story “mainly as a guide to the challenges of illuminating one’s conscience and what that entails” and that people can read the details about your circumstances in the appendix but the general idea is that you were a well-known psychologist with a very good reputation, had appeared on ‘The View’ and was featured on 20/20 as well as in many other media outlets.

Then you crossed a line into this grey area that changed everything for you.

For those who want to read your entire story, they can read your book, for today’s interview I want to focus not so much on what happened, but for someone listening, who might be struggling with something internally, what can we all learn from your experience about the importance of dealing with those difficult emotions of guilt or shame?

Q1: You mention in your book that “While some studies have suggested that as many as 70% of people who experience trauma come back stronger, there has been concern that this can be misleading and there are clearly large numbers of people who struggle to get back to pre-trauma baseline, or never recover at all.” I noticed during a recent interview with someone who had recently lost his license that there was tremendous pain around everything that stemmed from false accusations that were written online, to everything he went through, and he lost so much in the process. Whether someone is in the public eye, or not, your book is a guide to help people begin the healing process, (after a Fall) but can you describe the steps or stages that people should consider going through while rebuilding their life after such a significant loss? Where does someone begin?

Q2: As I was reading your story, I kept thinking “How could this entire situation have been prevented in the first place” (I’m sure this thinking is flawed—first off, what cognitive bias[iv] would “how could this all have been prevented” be? What trap do I create when I’m thinking like this?

Q2B: Then I wondered, for the co-author of the book Intuitive Rationality[v], was there anything that you saw or felt back then that might have alerted you to “this person could destroy my life, career and future?”

Q2C: I thought about this question while hiking this morning. Why couldn’t both parties rise above their primitive sides and have fallen to grace together? Is emotional intelligence not enough? At what point do we all need to be aware of personality disorders?

Q3: When you talked about false accusations and that “the limited brain doesn’t easily undo past associations and emotions especially to ‘flashbulb’ moments, critical events of high emotion. To change the association requires some effort and the fact is that few people are prepared to make the effort to go beyond the first biased, egocentric thought that comes into their minds about anything.” In a world where words spread fast online, and are permanent, how do you deal with your personal life being broadcast all over the internet for people to read and put their own spin on whatever it is they are reading, with their own cognitive biases?

3B: When someone says something about another person online, that’s enough to highly consider a lawsuit, since this type of behavior can damage a person’s future. I remember you mentioned there was something written online that you wanted removed (and it’s not there now, or I would have been sure to find a way to help you to remove it). What did you learn about the importance of knowing our “digital imprint” and when do you know when to take legal action, or just let some things go?

Q4: You mentioned that there will be people who make up their minds based on what they read online, but for the people who know you, nothing changes, like your son who said, “I know who you are.”  What did you learn from your son when he said that?

4B: How did you handle the people who you thought were your friends?

Q5: Some lessons stuck out that struck a chord for me because I know you are right, but it still burns me to think there are people like this in the world. You said, “There will always be someone wanting to profit from your misery.”

Your advice: For the most part the best plan is to ignore them. Don’t give them any power over you and that “your redemption really depends on you acting differently. Your redemption is about not getting drawn into useless fights and emotional spats but rising beyond that primitive mindset.”

Besides meditation and long jogs, how did you get to this place of rising above where most of us would be operating at a lower level?

Q5B: How have you learned to listen to other people’s criticism without being defensive?

Q6: How did an understanding of the brain help you here?

Q7: What did you learn from Mary-Frances O’Connor and The Grieving Brain[vi] that can help someone to get through Grief with their Brain in Mind?

We covered this question in the beginning. One of the first lessons I learned from Bob Proctor when I worked with him all those years ago was the importance of taking responsibility for my thoughts, feelings and actions, and never blaming anyone else for what I think, feel and especially my results. You said it loud and clear that “you cannot escape the hell without taking responsibility” and that “until you take responsibility you have no credibility.” Can you explain that?

Q8: What did you learn about how trauma impacts the body? (Bessel van der Kalk and Dr. Lief). Why is forgiveness important for our physical and mental health?

Q9: If I was to sum up the top lessons learned from your story, Falling to Grace, what would they be?

Howard, I want to thank you very much for writing this book to help all of us to learn how to fall to grace, and reminding us that we are all human beings, hard wired with emotions (Jaak Panksepp) and we can with an understanding of our brain, learn how to control the feelings we have attached to these hard-wired emotions, helping us to rise above our primitive selves, and be our best selves, like you have shown we all can accomplish. Thank you so much for all you contribute to the world with your books, podcast and teachings. I’ve learned How Not to Think, and many lessons from the importance of Falling to Grace that would be a blessing if we could all master in our lifetime.  Thanks Howard.

To learn more about Dr. Howard Rankin

Facebook page;

A website where he posts blogs:

LinkedIn and Instagram



NEW BOOK FALLING TO GRACE: alling-Grace-Art-Science-Redemption-ebook/dp/B09KHK9ZC1


[i] Falling to Grace, by Howard Rankin, Published April 2022

[ii]Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast EPISODE #146 with Howard Rankin on “How Not to Think”

[iii] Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast EPISODE #214 with Dr. Marie Gervais on “The Spirit of Work: Connecting Science Business Practices and Sacred Texts for a Happier and More Productive Workplace”

[iv] List of Cognitive Biases

[v] Intuality AI Website

[vi] The Grieving Brain: The Surprising Science of How We Learn from Love and Loss by Mary Frances-O’Connor Feb. 2022