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Australian Story on ABC – Confronting family secrets can be difficult but for Hugh can Cuylenburg, it was the key to setting him free. 

Hugh is known as the founder of the Resilience Project and co-host of the highly successful Imperfects podcast. 

For years, he’s helped students and sports people learn simple strategies to prepare them for life’s ups and downs – currently he’s keeping spirits high for the Queensland State of Origin Team. 

His simple message of positivity and self-deprecating humour have won him a legion of fans. 

“Hugh is a very funny dude,” says friend Hamish Blake. “What he does is very close to comedy because, you know, the best comedy is honest.” 

“He doesn’t pretend to be a guru,” says friend and Imperfects co-host Ryan Shelton. “He’s mainly just telling his own stories and then using those stories to help other people.” 

Motivating Hugh’s interest in mental health was his sister Georgia’s experience with an eating disorder.  Her story became central to his presentations, but more recently he had to examine their complex relationship and face some uncomfortable truths. As Hugh tells Australian Story, it has allowed him to reflect on his work in a new light. 

“I was 28 when I started the Resilience Project and I’m 42 now, so a lot’s happened,” he says. 

“I think especially early on I felt like I needed to know everything, have the answers to everything but life is so complicated. Now I realise there is so much that I don’t know, so much I’ll never understand and that is a much more freeing mental space to be in.” 

Producer:  Rebecca Armstrong.

Australian Story – Monday 19 June, 2023 at 8:00pm on ABC and ABC iview

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