Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Resilience - nature or nurture?

When the previous blog was posted on Facebook, there followed a few comments.

Pam Young Great piece .. Is an explanation just an excuse? Sometimes the 'back story' does explain the behaviour and eg for trauma this can be unconscious. At work I heard so many horrendous back stories I stopped judging ..
Rita Leaman Thanks Pam. Is an explanation a reason that could be used as an excuse? It has always fascinated me that while there will always be awful back stories, which can provide reasons for behaviours, what is it that stops some people using those back storie...See more
Pam Young You're the best person to answer that Rita - but u clearly didn't feel helpless ! Your mum sounded tough? Education? Absence of poverty? Who knows but resilience is the greatest asset! X x
Rita Leaman Nature v nurture again. Was bloody-minded from a very early age and disliked being told what to do. Stood me in good stead in the end as I question most things! Re: education, see next column!!
LikeReply231 July at 21:04
Luke Ryan The only way to truly learn, is to question.
LikeReply11 August at 08:01

This has been a matter for discussion for decades and will continue to be so. It was timely when this article appeared online a few days later by Pam Ramsden

Why do traumatic experiences haunt some people while making others more resilient?

I wrote about Resilience in the book, 'Are you Chasing Rainbows?'. This is from Chapter 4.

On a training course, some shop managers took a question and answer session. One of the questions was: “What qualities do you need to be a good manager?” One of the managers answered: “Resilience. You need to be like a Weeble [a famous children’s toy] – they always wobble but they don’t fall down.”
I couldn’t work out what he was talking about. I found out two years later, the hard way. I had risen up the management ladder and was considered to be doing well. I was moved to a shop in a nearby town, but couldn’t believe how different the working environment could be. It wasn’t a happy time: I struggled and, in a dramatic fit of pique on one afternoon some six months later, I wrote my resignation. It was accepted.
Now I was in a mess: I needed a job and my status had fallen to zero. I had just thrown away the best company I would ever work for. I drove home, past my old shop. I parked and went back there: goodness knows what a sight I must have been. The
manager was on the shopfloor. I begged him to take me back as a straightforward shop floor assistant. He was concerned that I would have trouble making the transition backwards – he need not have worried; I was in a state of shock.
A couple of weeks later, when the tears wouldn’t stop coming, even on the shop floor, I was given some time off. It was a horrible time. I returned rested and ready to move up the ladder again, steadily and more slowly this time. It took a year, but I did it.
It gave me the biggest learning experience of my life. The actor and director Ben Affleck, who stood up at the Oscars to receive the Best Picture award in 2013 for Argo – 15 years after his first Oscar and through the highs and lows of film-making – said the following words:
“I want to thank them and I want to thank what they taught me, which is that you have to work harder than you think you possibly can. You can’t hold grudges. It’s hard but you can’t hold grudges – and it doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life, because that’s going to happen. All that matters is you gotta get up.”
I understood completely.