Be a Bungy Jumper

As you probably know by now (at least I hope you do), I am taking about a month to look at the topic of GRIT: G = Growth, R = Resilience, I = Integrity, and T = Tenacity. We will take about a week or so to discuss each aspect of this acronym. Last week we spent time looking at what it means to have a growth mindset and how to develop it in ourselves and our students. In the next few blogs we will looking at what it means to be resilient and how we to develop this in our students.

The first thing we need to do is to define “resilience.” At an initial glance, many might think that grit and resilience are basically the same thing. They are actually different, and yet you do need one to have the other. Here are a number of different ways which describes what it means to be resilient:

  • being able to “bounce back” from difficult times, setbacks, and other significant challenges
  • the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress
  • the ability of each of us to “bounce” back stronger, wiser, and more personally powerful
  • being able to not only survive, but also learn to thrive
  • the ability to bungy jump through the pitfalls of life

To have grit, you will need to be resilient. As adults we have learned that life is going to sucker punch us from time to time, and we will get knocked down. There will be hardships and difficulties along the way. An important “skill” for a successful life then is the ability to get back up.

So the big question is, why are some people more resilient than others? Why can some people bounce back from adversity while others wilt and never really ever recover? Many of us might think this ability is related to DNA, temperament, or personality — characteristics that are pretty much out of our control (fixed mindset). The reality is, however, that it is not out of our control, and years of research have shown that, like grit and a growth mindset, it can be learned.

In the next blog we will take a look at how we can begin to teach and encourage the ability of resiliency in our students and children.

Karl Steinkamp
Blog #35
Day 42


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