More on Resilence

People need more resilience (mental toughness or hardiness or grit) so that they have an inherent self-trust and confidence to handle the negative impacts of stress and anxiety. In recent times people have been more comfortable discussing mental health issues, which is seen as a positive development. 

Research dating back to the 1980s has reinforced there are 4 components to resilience, ie 4Cs 

i) control (this refers to personal control, ie you are responsible for your own life, eg actions, responses, etc. There are many things in life that you cannot control, like other people, the past, etc but you can control your response to them. Need to be aware of the quality of your own internal dialogue, ie your thoughts, as these will have a profound impact on your attitude, responses, etc. A balanced lifestyle which includes adequate sleep, nutrition, exercise, etc is also needed as this can have a major affect on the way you think. 

NB Small changes can make big differences.) 

ii) challenge (the event is seen as a challenge, ie you have a positive attitude to a difficult situation like a growth mindset, eg you are going to learn and grow as you handle the challenge. Neuroscience shows that the brain grows when challenged and exposed to something novel. Also, this process strengthens your immune system.) 

iii) commitment (means you are fully engaged and committed to the process plus have a positive vision or purpose for the future to handle any tough times) 

iv) community connections (means that you have friends with whom you are able to share your inner thoughts openly and receive support from) 

"...if you have a strong enough why, you can put up with any how..." 

Paul Lynch 2018 

Research has shown that under stress the brain changes, ie the amygdala (controls the automatic responses) expands and its connections with the prefrontal cortex (thinking part of the brain) shrink. Thus we become more reactionary and automatic in our responses and less rational. 

We can reduce the negative impacts of stress by 

i) continually practising certain positive techniques, like stretching yourself with incremental challenges so that self-confidence is increased with each success and achievement. 

ii) receiving regular objective feedback from an expert, like a mentor. 

One of the best ways to build resilience is to encourage people to move outside their comfort zone by supporting them to gradually face situations they find challenging or anxiety-provoking.
"...one of the strongest......predictors of whether a young person is happy in adulthood is their emotional health as a child..."
Jennie Hudson 2018

Grit (3Ps)

It is linked with resilience and involves a dogged persistence, perseverance and passion or directional consistency, ie the ability to stick unswervingly to a single, superordinate goal over a period of years.

For students, it is as important as IQ in predicting educational success. To develop grit you need to have the opportunity to experience setbacks and learn how to overcome them.

For adults
"...grit - perseverance plus exclusive pursuit of a single passion - is a severely underrated component of career success, and that grown-ups, too, need a better understanding of the nature and prevalence of setbacks..."
Angela Duckworth as quoted by Jerry Useem, 2016

Need to understand how you persevere just a little longer in tackling problems that exceed your current skills. Part of the answer involves 'short-term impulse control', ie an immediate reward for success. However, some people still persist at something in the absence of positive feedback, like success.

"...What distinguished high performers......was largely how they processed feelings of frustration, disappointment or even boredom. Whereas others took these as signals to cut their losses, high performaners did not - as if they had been conditioned to believe that struggle is not a signal for alarm..."
Angela Duckworth as quoted by Jerry Useem, 2016

You need to change people's belief about how success happens so that you can change their behaviour, ie delaying the quitting point.

Need to understand the importance to success of effort vs talent and intelligence vs industriousness. Generally, people will choose effort and industriousness as the more important.

However, some research suggests otherwise, ie people's bias is for talent and intelligence over effort and industriousness, ie natural vs striver. There is some suggestion that people don't like strivers because it can invite self-comparison!!!!

Based on this, need 'private toil and public ease' for success, ie fail in private and succeed in public and to make success look easy.

"...Try hard enough and you can do just about anything, as long as you don't seem to be trying very hard..." in public
Angela Duckworth as quoted by Jerry Useem, 2016

However, grit can be risky, ie like putting all your eggs in one basket.

NB Changing direction requires grit

 

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