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Resilience: answering the big question

Assoc Prof Marcus O'Donnell summarises the key principles and ideas covered in 'Professional resilience: building skills to thrive'.

The big question we set out to answer at the beginning of this course was: how can we learn to be more resilient in both our personal and professional lives?

By now, each of you will have come up with a very personal answer to this question. Hopefully the frameworks we’ve explored together in this course have contributed to your thinking.

What we covered

In the first week we explored some of the different ways that resilience has been defined – from individuals overcoming adversity to ecologies of community support.

Many academic psychologists will insist on the difference between resilience and other concepts such as flourishing, thriving or wellbeing.

From a theoretical point of view they are right, but – from a practical point of view – when we look at what skills, capacities, experiences and values drive these optimum states, there’s a lot of overlap, which is why, this week, we looked at how these help us to ‘bounce back’ in times of stress and difficulty, and to live well and fully in times of stability.

Final takeaways

To become more resilient, my four key takeaways from the research presented in this course are:

  • Resilience is something we build in concert with others: that is, we learn to become more resilient with the support of friends, family and colleagues both when we receive their help and when we help or engage with them.
  • We need to develop a suite of skills and capacities, such as problem solving, creativity and communication, that act together to enable us to live more resilient lives.
  • We need to be kind to ourselves and quieten our inner critic while remaining open and honest with ourselves; developing mindfulness practices can help with this.
  • Purpose drives us: we are meaning-seeking creatures, and a strong sense of purpose in our life helps make us resilient.

If you haven’t already, you may also want to download this contemplative exercises planner to try out four weeks of daily mindfulness activities and see what difference this makes to your everyday resilience.

Your task

Watch the video from Marcus to find out more about the key ideas and principles that you’ve covered in this course.

In the comments, share and discuss your own key takeaways.

You may also want to use this opportunity to clarify your understanding about any of the concepts we’ve covered before taking the test in the next step.

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Professional Resilience: Building Skills to Thrive at Work

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