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Developing career resilience
Developing career resilience

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2 Is resilience in our DNA?

In Week 1 of the course you learned that everyone has the capacity for resilience. Looking at the specific characteristics that enable some people to be more resilient than others helps us to think about why some people show greater degrees of resilience than others when faced with a similar situation.

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Figure 2

But why do individuals develop these characteristics differently? Advances in genetic research over the last ten years have linked various genes to a range of social behaviours. Are genes also linked to our ability to cope with life’s challenges?

Activity 2 In the blood?

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Watch the video ‘In the blood’ [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] with Simon Weston (make sure you open the link in a new tab or window so you can easily return to this page). You can read the transcript for the video here.

Weston is a veteran of the British Army who became well known throughout the UK for his charity work after he suffered severe burn injuries during the Falklands War. In the video he visits the Genome Centre in London to meet psychologists Dr Michael Pluess and Dr Aneta Tunariu and to see if he has the resilience gene.

Note down how Weston explains his ability to be resilient.

Did the video have any broader messages for you?

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Weston expected that he would have one of the genes associated with resilience and was surprised that he did not. He reflects that he is pleased with this and identifies family, friends and strong networks as essential to his ability to become resilient.

While the scientific community is still divided on the genetic component of mental resilience, psychologists have highlighted the importance of training ourselves to be more resilient.