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Opinion: Focus on the positives to build resilience

PUBLISHED: 08:30 12 April 2020

NewVIc principal and CEO Mandeep Gill on how to bounce back.

NewVIc principal and CEO Mandeep Gill on how to bounce back.

Archant

The secret to resilience is in the stories we tell ourselves.

Resilience is something we teach our students on a daily basis. Never has it been as important as it is now. The closure of schools and the cancellation of exams is something none of us were expecting and understandably has caused great anxiety amongst many students.

But how do we teach students to bounce back from this unexpected bump in the road?

I believe that the answer lies, at least in part, in the stories we tell ourselves. When things don’t work out as we thought they would, most of us feel broken - and that’s normal. The key to putting ourselves back together lies in using stories constructively and integrating them into the narrative we tell ourselves about ourselves.

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I use the word constructively because it’s easy to tell ourselves very different stories about the same event. Such as, “I didn’t get the job; my streak of failure is continuing” in comparison to “I didn’t get the job, but I learned all these things in the process, and I’ll be better off at my next interview”.

When life takes an unexpected turn for the worse, it’s OK to feel hurt and grief. When you feel this way, you should encourage yourself to consciously focus on the positive aspects of an otherwise negative incident and embed this in your memory. That way, when you look back, you will be filled with determination and courage for the future.

So what is the story we will tell ourselves about this crisis? For me, it will be the pride and humility I felt seeing the abundant compassion, support and hard work of my staff in ensuring that every student was supported.

That this crisis brought out the best in everyone, and the sense of togetherness in a shared commitment to ensure no single student was disadvantaged or lost out.

The ease in which we shifted to online learning; how both staff and students demonstrated such incredible adaptability and flexibility in the way they teach and learn. That our purpose in this crisis became clearer than ever.

See the truth in the positive and craft your story wisely.


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