Maria Konnikova’s New Yorker article, How People Learn to Become Resilient, shares the history of research on resilience. Interestingly, some people are born to be resilient, some people learn resilience, and some people lose it, while others gain it.
In the end, however, it all comes down to a mindset and an “inner locus” that creates optimism.
The education site, Edutopia, simplifies the research into what it terms the ABC of resilience.
The ABC of Resilience
Adversity (A): Let’s say Tom has just performed poorly in an interview for what was to be his dream job. He meets up with his friend Sally later in the day, and she shares a similar story about her last interview. Both Tom and Sally have faced the same consequence – not getting a job they badly wanted.
The assumption is both Tom and Sally are crying into their beer as they share their disappointment.
The reality is Tom is heartbroken, but Sally is less so. Sally is actually upbeat and talks about other opportunities for which she is excited.
Beliefs (B): The difference between Tom and Sally, is Sally is resilient. Tom has decided he just isn’t adept in interviewing. He is worried he will never get past this stage to receive a job offer. Sally, on the other hand, has that “inner locus,” that “mindset” that she can learn from the mistakes she made in her interview and emerge as a stronger candidate in her next interview. Rather than worry, she has taken the time to analyze her experience and to work on her weak points before her next opportunity.
Consequences (C): Optimistic and realistic, Sally is prepared to face the consequences of a poor performance, learn from her mistakes, and move forward stronger for her next interview. Pessimistic and worried, Tom has decided he cannot effectively perform and will face his next interview at the disadvantage of lacking confidence.
Believing you are in control of your outcomes and can learn from failure to bring about success will build resilience, and ultimately, you will succeed in your journey.