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The Psychology of Resilience Part 3

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan

The first part to this feature on resilience was covered in the May edition which looked at how we view hardships and how we can develop a well-balanced emotional response to life’s challenges. The June edition featured a second key component in developing resilience, which is taking steps to ensure that we have a sense of belonging.

This time, the focus is on ‘learning’ as this is another key component to developing resilience. This article will make more sense if it is read alongside the previous two articles. Learning does not only take place in educational environments but also in work environments and in less formal ways such as developing interests, talents and life skills. It involves daring to have a vision for a life plan or a future full of new things to do. Learning reminds people to get organised, notice their achievements and develop new skills. It can involve following up old and new interests. By continually learning, it sets us up to be flexible and adaptable. Learning anything new can feel like being on an emotional rollercoaster, from feeling fully absorbed and engaged to experiencing self-doubt or even fear. Sometimes you may even fail at learning a new task or developing a new skill. It is when you gain some knowledge from this type of experience that resilience really builds up.

Have a look at the following approaches and give them a go to develop your resilience: Find yourself a trusted mentor: research shows that people do better in learning experiences if they have one or a few trusted role models to whom they can turn when things get tough. This is highlighted in professional and amateur sports players, actors and chefs who have a coach that helps them to develop their skills or even in the work environment when there might be a buddy or group of people to work alongside whilst developing new talents.

Learn a skill or embark on a task that is slightly difficult: research shows that people learn best from slightly difficult tasks that they have to work at. Perseverance is an essential skill to learn so that you do not give up easily when the going gets tough. It also means that you will experience a greater sense of reward when you accomplish the task, knowing that you had to exert effort to succeed.

Learn from your mistakes or failures: it is an important life skill to learn that everyone can fail in their attempts at accomplishing tasks / new skills. Allowing ourselves to accept that it is okay to make mistakes is important and learning from these errors is even more important. So if you fail at your learning task, hold your head up high again and ask yourself, “what can I do differently in the future to accomplish this task?”. Then tackle the task in a different way and see what the result is.

Monitor your progress: ask yourself “what can I do now that I was unable to do when I started learning this skill a week ago or two months ago?” This will help you to look at the steps that you are taking as you make progress towards accomplishing your new interest or skill.
Highlight your achievements: rather than congratulating yourself on the eventual outcome that you have achieved, congratulate yourself on the effort that you have put in, as ultimately, it is your effort that has got you to where you are. It does not matter what the outcome actually is as what is important is that you worked hard to get to where you are and you are learning from your experiences, thereby developing your resilience to deal with life changes.

So go on, bake that cake or plant a new vegetable or paint a picture or make something. The list is endless, just find something new that you want to do and give it a go.

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Jul 01, 2016