A few months ago, I was incessantly googling resilience and looking for like-minded people who were also researching it and developing programs. I found Anne Browning, who also lives in Seattle and created the University of Washington Resilience Lab. After talking with her about resilience research, I created a survey based on the University of Washington Resilience Lab’s resilience measurement tool. This specific tool was made for The Sunflower Project and measures your ability to discern your personal resilience levels. It does this by asking 5 questions and using a scale to self-determine where you are on that scale. Personally, I think these measurements encourage people to examine how they see themselves, giving them the opportunity to reflect on their own growth.
However, I want to start expanding this in the next few posts. This survey is going to be part of a series of posts which will discover the assets you offer to your community and how you can personally contribute to resilience. That’s why we will start with understanding how you see yourself in terms of resilience, which will be followed by discovering what assets you offer to your immediate and at-large community.
When I made the resilience survey for The Sunflower Project, I based each question on a principle of resilience which are in bold below. Here is a link to the results! I had twenty anonymous respondents and the survey is still open if you’d like to strengthen the results.
Analysis of 20 Respondents
I maintain a positive outlook, even during stressful times.
This is measuring your self-perceived optimism. As I posted about earlier, resilient optimism has a healthy dose of confronting reality. Optimism is refined through confronting adversity and making something out of it. Read more about this in my previous post.
The responses show that most people rated themselves as higher than average (64/100). It turns out that this seems to align with the data, which claims that most of us rate ourselves with favorable optimism. Watch this Ted Talk to learn more about the healthy and useful optimism bias that many of us have. If you did rate yourself significantly lower than average, or want to develop your optimism, I would suggest this activity which has been scientifically proven to begin creating a positive mental framework.
I am able to discern meaning from stressful events.
This is one of the more important questions, in my opinion, since it focuses on transformation. If you are able to discern meaning from a stressful event, you’ve taken control. In my personal opinion, if you are able take on this transformative quality of resilience, you’ll be able to create a unique and meaningful life.
Again, most people scored themselves higher than average (74/100), which means that most people felt they are able to find positive meaning in their past negative experiences.
Even when stressed, I still get the important things done.
Again, this had about the same average score as the other questions (76/100) and this is based on the trait of mental agility. Are you able to prioritize and focus in spite of stress? This trait is based on will-power, creativity and discipline. Essentially, if you’re able to develop a strong work-ethic this may help you become more resilient across the board. However, if you scored yourself lower, it might mean that you could benefit from developing your work-life balance. In other words, you might need to focus on finding more motivation at work and constructive leisure time outside of the workplace. Watch the brilliant Ashley Whillans talk about work-life balance and give suggestions for improving time poverty.
When I have had a set back, I return to normal or better.
In this question, you are rating your adaptability. When I started resilience research, I thought of resilience as more of a steel wall, when in fact, a better metaphor is rubber or clay. Steel walls don’t allow for change or transformation, while clay can be reformed and maintain its integrity. Allowing yourself to be shaped by your experiences, while still maintaining who you are at your core is essential to resilience.
Again, the ratings seem to be about the same (64/100). If you feel lower on the scale of adaptability, read more about Martin Seligman’s psychology linked below. Martin Seligman, Psychologist at University of Pennsylvania, strongly believes in a trait called “locus of control.” It’s an internal trait that allows you to realize the control you have over your actions. Adaptability, in my perspective allows you to have this internal locus of control, since becoming adaptable is ultimately a personal choice.
Sometimes I get stressed, but I know how to get over it.
Question 5 is based on the resilience principle of self-awareness. Self-awareness requires you to develop the ability of seeing yourself in third person, without harsh judgment. In terms of resilience, self-awareness means that you know how you react to stress or trauma and you’ve found ways to overcome it. This question had the highest ratings (79/100), which show that the people taking this survey have been mostly successful in creating ways to overcoming their stress. This takes creativity, courage and a bit of dedication. In essence, it takes a great deal of character. For those that scored yourselves lower, I would refer more to Shawn Achor’s activity in question 1, especially the journaling activity.
Stay tuned for Part Two of You in The Community!