Word-Of-the-Week #616: Resilient

May 25, 2016 by  

Resilient – the ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or misfortune.

How quickly do you recover from an illness, change, or misfortune? Do you believe that everything that happens to you happens because of you? If something bad happens does it affect all areas of your life?

This week and next contains excerpts from the LA Times article written by Jessica Roy, Sandberg to Berkeley grads: Stay resilient” Facebook executive shares life lessons after husband’s death. Roy writes “Sheryl Sandberg made an emotional appeal for resilience and gratitude in her commencement speech to UC Berkeley’s Class of 2016, in which she spoke about her husband’s death publicly for the first time.

Sandberg is the COO at Facebook and the author of “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” A little over a year ago, Sandberg’s husband Dave Goldberg died suddenly of cardiac arrhythmia while they were on vacation in Mexico.

She said her own resilience after his death came from the “three Ps,” as identified by psychologist Martin Seligman: personalization, pervasiveness and permanence.

a resilience

Personalization, she said, “is the lesson that not everything that happens to us happens because of us.” After her husband died, she blamed herself and personally reviewed his medical records to see what critical symptom she had failed to notice.

“It wasn’t until I learned about the three Ps that I accepted that I could not have prevented his death. His doctors had not identified his coronary artery disease. I was an economics major: how could I have?” she said.

Pervasiveness is “the belief that an event will affect all areas of your life”. At the advice of a child psychologist, she and her two children returned to their normal lives 10 days after Goldberg’s death. She said she felt as if there was no way to escape the “all-consuming sadness” of her loss.

“I remember sitting in my first Facebook meeting in a deep, deep haze. All I could think was, ‘What is everyone talking about and how could this possibly matter?’ But then I got drawn into the discussion and for a second – a brief split second – I forgot about the death.”

“That brief second helped me see that there were other things in my life that were not awful,” she continued.

To be continued…

This week’s focus is on resilience. Can you picture yourself recovering quickly if a bad thing happens? Can you accept that you are not personally responsible for everything? Have you ever been able to see beyond a misfortune that other things in your life were not awful?

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