Resiliency and Grit are learned behaviors that enable us to not only survive, but thrive in the face of adversity. This is your fourth of 14 daily messages, each containing an exercise designed to strengthen your development of these two key skills. Keep a journal, record your reflections and chronicle your growth.
In positive psychology, a strength-focus is assumed, meaning we seek to identify what is being done ‘right’ in a given situation, and how these positive attributes can be utilized to overcome challenges. The value in this approach is two-fold; first we reframe problems as opportunities, then we approach things more positively and constructively. This buffers self-criticism and fosters a growth mindset (Dweck, 2008)
Strengths are things that we are naturally good at. Using our strengths energizes us and helps us to feel and perform at our best. Examples of strengths include curiosity, kindness, fairness, perseverance, humility, and hope. In this exercise, we will look closely at a current problem in your life, something you are struggling with at the moment, and rather than focus on this problem by determining what you are doing ‘wrong’, we will focus on what strength you are doing ‘too right’ or ‘not right enough’.
Step 1: Identify a Problem – In your journal, describe a current problem or something with which you are struggling.
Step 2: Label the Context or Domain – Identify the area of your life in which this problem is having the greatest impact – Friends, family, work, health, other?
Step 3:: Reflect – Is there something that you are doing too much or too little of that may be contributing to this problem? (E.g., I am spending too much time perfecting my powerpoint, and not enough time working on my actual speech.)
Step 4: Identify and Extract Your Strength – Reframe the behavior identified in Step 3 as a strength being overplayed or underplayed. Remember that a strength is something that you are naturally good at, and in the context of this personal problem, you may have overplayed or underplayed one of your strengths. (The strengths illustrated in Step 3 would be ‘attention to detail’ and ‘conscientiousness’.)
Step 5: Identify and Take Action – What can you do to help remedy the problem? Describe at least one actionable step that you could you take. (E.g., Accept that my slides are ‘good enough’, save and upload to my USB, turn my full attention to speech writing and stay on this task for the next 30 minutes)
Successfully overcoming a challenge or completing a journey is best approached with a positive outlook and a focus on the strengths we bring to task. Remember the words of Albert Einstein, “In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity!”