If I am understanding this article correctly, one of its points is that it’s not what happens to you in life that can or will determine how you cope or if you succeed, but how you choose to view that thing or event, whatever it may be.
How People Learn to Become Resilient by Maria Konnikova, Feb 2016
… Resilience presents a challenge for psychologists. Whether you can be said to have it or not largely depends not on any particular psychological test but on the way your life unfolds.
…Garmezy’s work [studying school children from abusive homes who yet went to to be successful] opened the door to the study of protective factors: the elements of an individual’s background or personality that could enable success despite the challenges they faced.
….Perhaps most importantly, the resilient children had what psychologists call an “internal locus of control”: they believed that they, and not their circumstances, affected their achievements.
The resilient children saw themselves as the orchestrators of their own fates.
In fact, on a scale that measured locus of control, they scored more than two standard deviations away from the standardization group.
… (… Werner [a developmental psychologist] found that resilient individuals were far more likely to report having sources of spiritual and religious support than those who weren’t.)
The experience isn’t inherent in the event; it resides in the event’s psychological construal.
…The good news is that positive construal can be taught.
“We can make ourselves more or less vulnerable by how we think about things,” Bonanno said.
In research at Columbia, the neuroscientist Kevin Ochsner has shown that teaching people to think of stimuli in different ways—to reframe them in positive terms when the initial response is negative.
….Seligman [a psychologist who was one of the pioneers of positive psychology] found that training people to change their explanatory styles from internal to external (“Bad events aren’t my fault”), from global to specific (“This is one narrow thing rather than a massive indication that something is wrong with my life”), and from permanent to impermanent (“I can change the situation, rather than assuming it’s fixed”) made them more psychologically successful and less prone to depression.
…Human beings are capable of worry and rumination: we can take a minor thing, blow it up in our heads, run through it over and over, and drive ourselves crazy until we feel like that minor thing is the biggest thing that ever happened. In a sense, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Frame adversity as a challenge, and you become more flexible and able to deal with it, move on, learn from it, and grow. Focus on it, frame it as a threat, and a potentially traumatic event becomes an enduring problem; you become more inflexible, and more likely to be negatively affected.
Why Self-Compassion Works Better Than Self-Esteem by Olga Khazan
How Successful People Stay Calm by Travis Bradberry