The Sources of Resilience

Findings from the largest global study of resilience and engagement from the ADP Research Institute.

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We’re all suffering through difficult times that we did not anticipate and challenges that we were not prepared for. In the face of all that’s going on in the world, how do we survive? How do we push through the muck of current events and continue showing up for the people who need us most?

The answer to many of these questions lies in our capacity for resilience: the ability to bend in the face of a challenge and then bounce back. It is a reactive human condition that enables you to keep moving through life. Many of us live under the assumption that a healthy life is one in which we’re successfully balancing work, parenting, chores, hobbies, and relationships. But balance is a poor metaphor for health. Life is about motion. Life is movement. Everything healthy in nature is in motion. Thus, resilience describes our ability to continue moving, despite whatever life throws in our path. The question for us, of course, is what causes us to be able to bounce back and keep moving, what ingredients in our lives give us this strength, and how do we access them?

Some aspects of resilience are trait-based; that is, some people will naturally have more resilience than others. (You only need to have two children to know the truth of this.) In this sense, resilience is like happiness: It appears that each of us has our own set point. If you have a high happiness set point, your happiness may wane and dip on bad days, but you will generally be happier than someone with a lower set point. Similarly, each person has his or her own resilience set point. If yours is relatively low, you will have a harder time bouncing back from challenges than, say, Aron Ralston, who got trapped while hiking in Utah and famously amputated his own arm to free himself.

How can you create for yourself — and for those you love and lead — a greater capacity for resilience, regardless of your initial set point? To answer this question, my team at the ADP Research Institute conducted three separate studies.

The first study experimented with many different sets of statements and asked respondents to rate how strongly they agreed or disagreed with each one.

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References

1. K.D. Olson, “Physician Burnout — A Leading Indicator of Health System Performance?” Mayo Clinic Proceedings 92, no. 11 (November 2017): 1608-1611.

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Comments (2)
Chris Prusiecki
Marcus,
Thank you so much for sharing, thought-provoking as always!

Could this be another perspective?
As we move through life, we build & use models of how our view of the world works, but if these models stop working as we expect, we can get stuck or fail to respond appropriately.
This can also mean that we no longer trust the data that is powering our models, or both.
Life is about motion, and going in the direction we choose, not the direction that life forces us to take. 

Resilience could be regarded as our ability to be at one with change without losing sight of our values and goals.
Maybe this is all about reframing, and these questions could be asked of individuals as well as teams.....

Question #1
What am I learning from this?
If you are learning, you cannot be a victim or be powerless

Question #2
Based on the new and possibly changing circumstances, should I reevaluate the goal & rethink a plan to get there?
You are now dancing with the external action.

Question #3
How often should I repeat #1 & #2?
You are now are developing resilience, maybe?

Chris Prusiecki
Chris Prusiecki
Marcus,
Thank you so much for sharing, thought-provoking as always!

Another perspective?
As we move through life, we build & develop models of how the world works, and if these models stop working as we expect, we can get stuck or fail to respond appropriately.
This can also mean that we no longer trust the data that is powering our models, or both.

Life is about motion, and going in the direction we choose, not the direction that life forces us to take. Resilience could be regarded as our ability to be at one with change without losing sight of our values and goals.

Maybe this is all about reframing?

Question #1
What am I learning from this?
If you are learning, you cannot be a victim or be powerless


Question #2
Based on the new and possibly changing circumstances, should I reevaluate the goal & rethink a plan to get there?
You are now dancing with the external action.

Question #3
How often should I repeat #1 & #2?
You are now are developing resilience, maybe?
(You could also spreadsheet this process).

Chris