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Making Resilience your Superpower

Growth mindset=love of learning + resilience. We explored love of learning previously. Here we explore Resilience. Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of challenges, adversity, tragedy, and stress. In simple, it’s how you cope with the ups and downs of everyday life. Building resilience takes time and intentionality.

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When I wrote to you last I shared my research to enable my newborn son to develop a growth mindset.

Growth mindset = love of learning + resilience 

Adapting Peter Bergman research we looked into how we can powerfully influence ourselves to reach our own learning goals with the right learning strategies.

Today, let’s look at Resilience.

Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of challenges, adversity, tragedy, and stress. In simple, it’s how you cope with the ups and downs of everyday life. Building resilience takes time and intentionality.

When I think about resilience I think about my dad. I always marvel at how he copes with adversity. He lost his father at the age of 12. He built a flourishing business on his own and was very well respected in his community. Around 1997-1998, he encountered a huge financial crisis that took about 7 years to resolve. A crisis that was a result of an error in judgement and being defrauded by people he trusted.

Some of his sibling and their families, who benefitted from his fortunate position were quick to tarnish his image, publicly humiliate him and turn their backs when he needed them the most.

Despite all the challenges, dad found strength in his faith, his family (mom & myself), his well-wishers and his purpose to clear all his debts. He was able to regain his goodwill in society and financial independence by harnessing his superpower – Resilience.

Dad always taught me lessons in life through anecdotes. When asked how he copes with emotions of hurt and stress he tells me this story of a donkey.

On how to shake it up and step up.

A farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The poor donkey cried helplessly for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the donkey was old, and the well needed to be covered up so it wasn’t worth to retrieve the donkey. 

He invited the village to help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realised what was happening and cried in despair. Then, to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down.

After sometime the farmer looked down the well. He was astonished. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey did something awe-inspiring. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As they continued to shovel dirt, the donkey continued to shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon to everyones amazement the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

It’s a good story to remind us that life and people are going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Shake it off, and take a step up.

On building resilience

When we developed our proprietary algorithm to calculate the Resilience Score of our past participants of Restory we identified 4 components of Resilience.

1. Connection (We vs I)

Behavioural scientists at CARRI have also recognised that the resilience of individuals is dependent upon the resilience of the communities/groups in which they are embedded.

2. Healthy thinking (positive vs negative)

This reminds me of another story dad shared with me–

A monk was teaching his students about life.

He said, “A battle is raging inside me…it is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”

A student asked, “Which wolf will win?”

The monk replied: “The one you feed.”

3. Wellness (physical and mental)

Quality of life captures how ‘well’ we feel about their lives as a whole – work, family life, health, leisure, and neighbourhood.

4. Purpose (having meaningful goal)

One of the most influential books, Man’s search for meaning by Victor Frankl, where he chronicles his experiences as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps during World War II, and describes how identifying a purpose in life helped him survive.

On Resilience and its forms

I looked deeper into Resilience and found this study full of insights. It takes decades of research on the human stress response and provides a behavioural science perspective on Resilience.

What caught my attention on Resilience was the three forms it takes (presented by Lepore and Revenson.)

1. Resistance

The tree that stands still, undisturbed, in the face of the wind.

Resistant people exhibit normal functioning before, during, and after the stressor occurs.

2. Recovery

The tree that bends to accommodate the wind.

The stressor disrupts the person’s normal state of functioning, but when the stressor passes, the person resumes his or her normal or pre-stressor level of functioning.

3. Reconfiguration

The tree does not simply make temporary accommodations and then resume its original shape; instead, it changes its shape.

Individuals may reconfigure their beliefs and behaviours in a manner that allows them to adapt.

Post-traumatic growth is an example of Reconfiguration. I noticed this growth in my dad’s life. His past traumatic life experiences positively shaped his future beliefs, relationships and values.

Reconfiguration particularly interests me as it relies on the experiences of the past to create a transformed future. Something that can be achieved with Reflective Journaling.

You can learn how to build your resilience with Restory – our free masterclass on the practice of Reflective Journaling.



Tiny tips

1. Connections

We vs I mentality

2. Healthy Thinking

Positive vs Negative

3. Wellness

Physical and Mental


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