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Resilience (HBR Emotional Intelligence Series) Review for #careerlions

Resilience (HBR Emotional Intelligence Series) Review for #careerlions

The Harvard Business Review just released a new series on emotional intelligence. It offers proven research on the way emotions impact our work lives, dealing with difficult situations and people, and the meaning of tending to our emotional well-being in the workplace. The series contains the books Happiness, Resilience, Mindfulness and Empathy. This particular review is on their new book Resilience. It is a collection of articles written by Daniel Goleman, Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld, and Shawn Achor among others. The main topics this book deals with are the key traits to end up stronger after challenges, to train your brain how to handle daily life stress, and approaches to reboot your career. The book contains some fantastic material for #careerlions. Continue reading if you would like to hear my thoughts on the book and a short overview of what I learned from this book.

Articles in the book

Just to give you an overview of the articles this book contains:

  • “How Resilience Works” by Diane Coutu
  • “Resilience for the Rest of Us” by Daniel Goleman
  • “How to Evaluate, Manage, and Strengthen Your Resilience” by David Kopans
  • “Find the Coaching in Criticism” by Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone
  • “Firing Back: How Great Leaders Rebound After Career Disasters” by Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld and Andrew J. Ward
  • “Resilience Is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure” by Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan.

What exactly is resilience?

So, what exactly is this resilience that they are talking about it in this book? Resilient people have the following three traits:

  • An acceptance of reality, which means that they are not necessarily optimistic.
  • A strong belief that life is meaningful, which translates into constructing lessons from terrible times rather than seeing themselves as a victim.
  • Have the ability to improvise, which doesn’t mean that there are no systems in place. Having systems and regulations will actually make you more resilient in times of crises.  

Another take on resilience in this book is trying really hard, then stopping, recovering, and then trying again.

How can you become more resilient?

Resilience luckily is something that can be learned. The best ways to increase your resilience are by talking to yourself and by retraining your brain.

  • Everyone has a level of left and right activity in the brain that is predictive of our daily mood range. Tilted to the right, you will be more upset. When it is tilted more to the left, you will be able to recover from all kinds of distress. By practicing mindfulness through breathing exercises, you will be able to achieve a tilt more to the left. Thus recovering more quickly from any type of distress. It means that you are training your brain to register everything that happens without reacting to it.
  • By being more positive to yourself, you will encourage others to do the same.
  • Be able to handle feedback properly (read the #careerlion article on this here, if you haven’t already).
  • Build in recovery periods. A tough approach most of us take is not the way to go. Working too much and being exhausted as a result is the opposite of resilience. Here, recovery periods don’t just imply stopping as your brain may still be busy with that one email or your busy day at work the next. You need to have both internal and external recovery build in. Internal recovery means having short breaks in between work. External recovery refers to activities during your off-time. These activities should be non-work related. For instance, talking with your friends, exercising, watching Netflix, journaling and most importantly sleeping.   

Do I recommend this book?

YES! It is a short read, but contains a fantastic overview of all you would want to know on resilience. The articles provide a lot of knowledge based on research, written in such a way that it is easily applicable in your own #careerlion life. They are also filled with many inspiring examples, just like we are used to from the Harvard Business Review. While the book doesn’t come cheap in comparison to its size, I think the saying “great things come in small packages” is definitely applicable here.  

Personally, I would say that I definitely have the potential to be resilient. Enough has happened for me to prove that I have some level of resilience. However, I do tend to get upset over smaller things and can have a hard time accepting the reality that I see. Again, the solution seems to be that I have to really start meditative practices. So that will be another goal of mine this year. While I build in more recovery time now, I never really thought about the activities consciously. I will have to take recovery time more seriously, building in some breaks for my brain.

My favorite articles in this book are therefore the Resilience for the Rest of Us one by Goleman and Resilience Is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure by Achor and Gielan. I am a huge fan of Goleman’s books, which include Working with Emotional Intelligence. His article focuses on the part on how brain training can make us more resilient. He doesn’t make resilient people out to be a special breed, but really gives us the tools to work on ourselves. Basically, handing us the method to engineer ourselves to be resilient by means of meditation. Achor and Gielan are the ones giving insight into the what recovery periods mean for your resilience and the recovery your brain needs to achieve this.  

Are you ready to order this new book? Did you ever think about working on your resilience? Please do share your thoughts in the comment below.

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