Focused on RESILIENCE, this
is about helping youth build SKILLS for RESILIENCE to cope and thrive in these unprecedented times.
What Resilience is –The TENDENCY and ABILITY to bounce back from difficult times.
What Resilience is not – Mental toughness. Resilience is what helps people recover from a setback, but mental toughness can help people avoid experiencing the setback. All mentally tough people are resilient, but not all resilient individuals may be mentally tough. As per research, Resilience is not a static personality trait … it’s an ability, which CAN be developed!
On an everyday basis, I interact with a large number of Youth – be it Gen Z or Millennials. Given my interactions with them, my own personal journey and some research studies, here are 5 skills that could help YOUTH build Resilience in these times -
1. Creativity amidst the chaos – THIS is my personal favourite way of cultivating resilience. Let’s try this – draw 30 circles on a piece of paper. Once you’re done, give yourself 90 seconds to create 30 different images with each of those circles (e.g.: the sun, a cap etc.). Trust me, you will surprise yourself. Now, think of the circles as our obstacles and the images represent 30 creative solutions to the obstacle. EVERY set back or tough situation has within it a creative solution. What is not commonly thought of is how creativity is close-coupled with the state of our mind. One influences the other in an almost invisible yet ever-present manner.
2. Learning to learn – Often, a setback requires us to do things differently or even cultivate new skills. While the obvious solution to this is beginning to learn the new skill, often we stop ourselves. There are multiple ‘enemies’ or ‘obstacles’ that come in the way of learning. One that I have experienced and heard other young people talk about is “What will people think about me?” In fact, Psychologist Carol Dweck’s experiments have shown that a concern about how we will appear to others inhibits our openness to learn new or unfamiliar skills/tasks.
3. Willingness to adapt – Adaptability is about learning from our setbacks, and leveraging this learning to create a new reality for ourselves. This is why a person’s Adaptability Quotient may be the “new competitive advantage.” Adapting requires us to let go of our own sense of wrong and right, absorb feedback and learn. When we are adaptable, we see that reality has changed. We don’t deny the situation. Accepting our new reality helps us find approaches to manage our response to changes/setbacks.
4. Purpose at the root – Through the last week, I’ve been interacting with many entrepreneurs & young business owners. While their challenges and ways of coping are all so different, there was one common thread through– a sense of Purpose and the drive to make a difference. Reflecting on our purpose or viewing situations with a broader perspective can help re-frame stressful situations
5. The intricate balance between AMBITION and CONTENTMENT - YES, achievement is important. Yes, we must set stretch goals for ourselves. AND yes, it is possible to practice contentment despite the ambition. There is, however, a thin line between wanting to excel and feeling feverish about success. While extreme ambition seems to suggest the ability to bounce back, it could actually create quite the opposite impact. In fact, it is said in the Bhagwad Gita (an ancient Indian text), ‘Yadrccha-labha-santusto Dvandvatito Vimatsarah’ – whatever is coming to us, we must have some level of contentment, without being upset with failure or envying others. With this contentment comes a quiet strength, and with this strength comes gratitude and resilience. A balance between Ambition and Contentment is also one that requires us to check our locus of control – i.e. do I hold myself responsible for everything (an internal locus of control) or do I blame an external situation/person for everything that goes wrong (external locus of control). An extreme internal or external locus of control can impact resilience. Taking responsibility to do our best while recognising there is a higher power that is at play can help us take action and remain resilient.