It is possible to find strength during times of extreme hardship. Actually, not only is it possible, but it is during uncertain times that people can become more open to challenges, be more flexible, and more accepting of diversity. There is no way to predict the future and the idea of making a wrong decision or making mistakes can be nerve-wrecking; however, during times where the only certainty is uncertainty, those are the crucial moments to develop resilience.
Psychologist, Wharton professor, and best-selling author Adam Grant defines resilience as the strength and speed of our response to adversity. Essentially, how well does a person persevere when faced with difficult circumstances. Scientifically speaking, the younger you are, the better you can be at being resilient. The reason is that a young person has more neuroplasticity, or the ability to create new neural connections, and therefore, are able to adapt quickly to new and stressful situations.
Young or old, there are ways of helping you improve and strengthen your resilience. A major way that resilience can be strengthened is by expressing gratitude for the good things in our lives. Therefore, don’t focus on negative thinking and instead think about what is going right. It could be your health or your relationships, but just keep an optimistic mindset. That is not to say that a person cannot have moments of doubt or concern. What’s important is knowing that you can ask for help or speak to someone you trust. Therefore, developing strong personal connections is another way to improve your resilience. It is important to know that you matter, have people that care about you, and rely on you. Finally, use moments of adversity to focus on creating goals. Often times people will be most creative when forced to look at things from a different angle or perspective.
An example of accepting challenges and training resilience happened a few months ago, when a high school junior decided to learn web development and created a website that tracks the coronavirus. Seventeen-year-old Avi Schiffman would watch videos and started the site ncov2019.live in December, before there was much information available. The idea was to provide people with as much current data possible about the virus. He was able to turn a difficult situation into a learning and growing experience.
For this week’s #MakeItHappen, remind yourself that resilience is a skill set that you can build. We can build resilience over time by changing how we process negative events. Think about ways that you can find strength in difficult situations and let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or share your story and tag us on social.
Go make it happen,
Luly & the YTeach Team
“Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.”
– Bernard Williams