July 5, 2023
Q&A 106

🥋 Resilience

In the past couple of days, I was lucky enough to take a step back and enjoy nature. A few hours into winding down, the first interesting reflections and observations started to emerge. One particularly stood out; many of my discussions with other people seem to center around what the best preconditions are to achieve more, grow faster or finish school with high grades. Looking at external factors rather than internal ones. I often felt uncomfortable in those discussions and it dawned on me why.

While society seems to fixate more and more on intelligence, creativity, and other cornerstones of achievement, we're overlooking an essential quality: resilience - our capacity to recover swiftly from adversity. Though pivotal to enduring life's challenges, it remains, in my humble opinion, an unsung hero in our education system, daily life, and workplaces. This is a tribute to that virtue, which I personally believe should have more attention.

In life, resilience is akin to an ever-reliable safety net, letting us bounce back from setbacks and withstand the rigours of daily challenges. From disputes with friends to unexpected expenses, life continuously tests our alertness. It's resilience that allows us to retain balance in the face of adversity and prevent these daily challenges from escalating into significant distress. Even better, it may turn the 'negative' energy in the opposite direction and let you reach higher than before.

Yet, our education system, primarily focused on academic prowess, seems not very interested in cultivating this critical skill. Students are ill-prepared to manage academic stress or failure, leading to anxiety and dampened motivation. In the professional sphere, resilience remains an under-appreciated commodity. In an era defined by change and uncertainty, resilient employees contribute to a more dynamic, yet stable organisation.

Admittedly, there will always be a group of people in society for which (Government) support is required to survive in our system. I'm all for providing such support to those that really need it. Yet, this safety net should perhaps not always be that visible or easily acccesible. Some form of (temporary) discomfort and (here it is again) uncertainty could just trigger the unfolding of your own safety net before it is supplied to you. It's about finding the right balance and targeting the right group of people in real need of external support.

It's time to bring resilience out from the shadows, giving it the prominence it deserves in our society's narrative. It starts in our homes, extends to our schools, and permeates our workplaces. Resilience can be learned through mindfulness, physical activity, social connections, and effective stress management. I especially believe you can train resilience by getting to know oneself much better. Practice self-reflection and once you have some observations, the journey really starts: be self-critical and honest.

Build up your discipline. It's like allowing yourself to be bored and see what happens next. Just like how I got to this subject in the first place. By reorienting our focus and investing in self-consciousness, we can craft a society that thrives, fortify our collective capacity to deal with setbacks, enhancing mental health and societal well-being, irrespective of the challenges that come our way.