Inspiration! The skills of resilience

I have basically stopped putting Seth Godin quotes in my Inspiration posts, because I could easily just cross-post most of his blog.  I have an old one I saved a long time ago, though:

Given how important it is, it's surprising we don't hire for it.

How easily do you bounce back from disappointment?  What is your reaction to change?... Resilience is a skill, one that's probably more valuable than most."
-Seth Godin
Resilience is a hot topic in research right now.  The mystery of what makes some people overcome challenges while others succumb to them is fascinating.

Some of it is luck: I remember in my psychology classes in university learning that one of the more telling factors for whether a child in a difficult environment would succeed was whether they had an adult who would "champion" them.  Someone to support, mentor, and encourage them along.  (Revealed in research by Emmy Werner in 1989).

Resilience is also a skill, however, that can be lost or gained.  It's how you look at the world and your life.  Do you see difficult, even traumatic, events as an opportunity to learn and grow or as a source of suffering?

This is a mental skill called "positive construal" and it can be practiced.  Similarly to practicing gratitude, it's a matter of looking for the positive in a situation and examining how you explain it to yourself.

When bad things happen, do you throw your hands up and say "why do these things keep happening to me?" or do you look at what actually caused them and wonder what you can learn from it?  Does your life seem like a fixed, unchangeable mass that you have no control over, or do you see yourself as an independent agent with power?

The best part is, we can practice these skills on the less-difficult parts of life so that when something truly hard comes along, we are more ready to deal with it.

Source: The New Yorker

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