This week, we are sharing two articles about resilience from the Harvard Business Review.  We want to thank Joy O’Neal, who is an active member of our Psychology at Work community, for sharing the first article with us. We encourage you to ponder the questions below as you read these articles. We will discuss them in our private Facebook group this week.  Click here to join the group if you are not a member.

  1. In what ways do you openly share “tough or dark” realities with others, and in what ways do you “sugarcoat” them
  2. When you are confronting a big challenge, what is the best way to give your brain and body the opportunity to recharge?  (For example, some people recharge most effectively through exercise while others prefer a warm bath.)

What Really Makes Us Resilient by Marcus Buckingham, September 29, 2020

Key passages from the article:

“We discover our resilience only when we are forced to meet unavoidable suffering full in the face. It’s when we face that reality, and see ourselves and how we respond to it, that we find the basis for resilience.”

“We humans do not function well when our senior leaders gloss over the reality. We don’t need them to sugarcoat in order to make us feel better. It won’t. It is far more frightening, and damaging to the psyche, to downplay tough or dark realities, or to pretend they don’t exist, because then we allow our imaginations to run riot, and who knows what kind of demons we can conjure in our mind’s eye. Instead of downplaying the reality, tell it to us straight. ”

“These findings are in line with what psychologist Viktor Frankl told us back in the 1930s: Our response to unavoidable suffering is one of the primary sources in our lives of meaning and purpose and self-efficacy. Suffering and difficulty must never be hidden from us. Instead, show them to us honestly and clearly and we will reveal — to ourselves and to you — our greatest strength.”

Resilience is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure by Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan, June 24, 2016

Key passages from the article:

“The very lack of a recovery period is dramatically holding back our collective ability to be resilient and successful. Research has found that there is a direct correlation between lack of recovery and increased incidence of health and safety problems. And lack of recovery — whether by disrupting sleep with thoughts of work or having continuous cognitive arousal by watching our phones — is costing our companies $62 billion a year in lost productivity.”

“The key to resilience is trying really hard, then stopping, recovering, and then trying again. This conclusion is based on biology. Homeostasis is a fundamental biological concept describing the ability of the brain to continuously restore and sustain well-being. . . .When the body is out of alignment from overworking, we waste a vast amount of mental and physical resources trying to return to balance before we can move forward.”

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