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carole-kincher

Learning resilience in a changing world

Businessman climbing the career stairs drawn on a chalkboard

Credit: rangizzz/Shutterstock

How do you react to unexpected challenges? Do you rebound from major setbacks stronger than before? Or do you play the victim, blame others? It’s essential to strengthen resilience to adapt and succeed in changing times.

How resilient are you?

Answer “yes” or “no.”

  1. I like trying new ways of doing things.
  2. I find it challenging to recover emotionally from losses.
  3. I adapt quickly to new situations.
  4. I can’t tolerate ambiguous situations.
  5. I’m persistent when working on challenging projects.
  6. I’m a sequential problem solver.
  7. I’m comfortable being myself.
  8. I’m cautious.
  9. I’m usually non-judgmental about people.

Scoring: One point for each yes to odd-numbered statements, and each no to even numbered statements.

Interpretation: 7 or higher, very resilient; 4 to 6, moderately resilient; 3 or lower, consider suggestions below.

Resilient people thrive on challenge and change. Confident, creative, and growth-oriented, they turn setbacks into opportunities. They use both left-brain and right-brain thinking styles, and maintain optimism during tough times.

Developing Resilience

Resilience is learned. Below are tips for strengthening flexibility.

  • Look upon something different or unknown as an opportunity to challenge yourself. If you don’t try something new , how will you find out you can do it? Expect things to work out. View mistakes as learning experiences.
  • Note what you’ve learned from a negative experience. Indicate how it has made you stronger, wiser. Identify early clues you ignored, and what you’ll do differently.
  • Detect and dispute inaccurate thoughts and causal beliefs. Are you or your circumstances responsible for your beliefs? Are your beliefs based on fact or fallacy? Why or why not?
  • Approach problems from different perspectives. Ask for feedback from people with diverse backgrounds. Take things out of their ordinary context and create new patterns for them. Notice the number of ways you can use eggs or milk cartons. Develop a playful, childlike curiosity. Ask questions, experiment.
  • Build self-confidence. Make a list of everything you like about yourself. Include personal traits and accomplishments. Post this where you can see it. Set your own standard of excellence. Realize that perfection is an unattainable goal. Accept the ideal as a guideline, not to be attained 100 percent. Work toward improving your performance each time.
  • Be authentic. Your actions should be consistent with your thoughts and feelings. Don’t succumb to peer or family pressures.
  • Develop meaningful, supportive relationships. Link up with like-minded people with whom you can share feelings and receive positive feedback and assistance.
  • Continue to learn. Keep updated on local and international news. Build knowledge in your discipline. Develop critical thinking skills. Ask questions. Compare and contrast, link ideas, and evaluate.
  • Learn to risk. Identify three successful risks you’ve taken. What did you do to make each turn out well? Take small risks daily. Experiment with a different hairstyle or food. At work, offer new ways of tackling a problem. Reduce risk by developing back-up plans.

What can you do to strengthen resilience today?

Dr. Carole Kanchier, registered psychologist, coach, speaker, and author of the award-winning book, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, helps individuals and organizations dare to change.

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