4.1 Growing your own capacity for resilience
Our ability to learn is crucial in successfully adapting to new circumstances, and this is closely linked to resilience.
How do you prefer to learn new things? When you need to solve a problem, how do you go about it?
Throughout your life, you will already have experienced a variety of ways of learning as you have tackled problems, learned new things and developed new interests. These may include formal training through work or education, or informal learning strategies such as watching a YouTube video, asking others, observing those with different strengths or reflecting on how to do things differently the next time they arise.
Activity 5 About you: your learning preferences
Understanding yourself and how you prefer to learn can make a difference to your capacity to develop new skills. What works best for you?
If you need some inspiration – think about what you do when you get a new gadget and need to set it up. Do you watch a YouTube video about it, read the instruction book, ask a friend what they do with theirs, or just start pushing buttons and hope for the best? That should give you a clue about your learning preferences.
Take five minutes to note down your thoughts.
What did you choose? Experts now agree that this is really just a preference – there’s no reason why an individual can’t learn just as effectively through any of these methods. The difference is that by using your preferred approach, you’ll feel more motivated to learn and find it a more positive experience.
As you saw in Week 1, resilience is often discussed in the context of change. When the aim is to change, whether that’s driven by you or imposed upon you, learning ideally includes:
- gaining new information
- reflecting on past experiences and listening to feedback from others
- assessing how you might approach situations differently in the future
- developing an action plan for developing resilience skills and strategies
- recognising that sometimes you need a break and respite from a situation first before you have the energy to think about change.
Resilience is also often discussed in a general context, but there are times when developing your capacity for resilience might be in response to a very specific need. In the next section you will look at one person’s experience of building mathematical resilience.