Resilience is a positive trait that can help you to carry on when you find things difficult. However, extreme resilience can sometimes persuade a person to carry on when this will have a damaging impact on them. For example, a runner competing in a race might develop an injury. Extreme resilience would persuade them to continue and finish the race, even if carrying on might make the injury so bad that they cannot run again or hurt themselves for a long time after the race. Is this sensible?
Resilience can also make us spend too much of our time on something. For example, a person might find a maths problem too difficult to complete independently. Extreme resilience could make them spend hours and hours trying to solve the problem, rather than asking for help in solving it. While it is a good idea not to give up straight away, is it a good idea to spend so much time on something you cannot complete without help?
Another possible danger of extreme resilience is that it can put us in dangerous positions. Imagine that you were trying to reach something that was on a high shelf. Resilience would push you to keep trying to reach it, even if it was higher than you could reach. Extreme resilience might lead you to balance dangerously on a table or chair to try and reach it and could even lead to you falling or hurting yourself. A final way that extreme resilience can have a negative impact is by making you too tired. Sometimes we need to stop so that we can rest and let our bodies and minds recover. Extreme resilience, and the desire to “never give up”, might stop us from being able to do this.
An example of Resilience
Amina is a young girl from Kenya. Since she was a little girl she dreamed of becoming a teacher. She worked very hard in school and finished high school in 2019. Unfortunately, because of the COVID pandemic, her parents had to close the family business after making huge losses. Amina panicked; how would she be able to achieve her dream of being a teacher if her parents did not have a source of income to pay her college fees?
Amina reached out to her high school teachers for support while her parents decided to relocate to the village since the cost of living was lower than in the city. Following her teachers’ advice, Amina applied for a scholarship to college though this would mean waiting till the following year. She was offered a scholarship to a college in the city. Her parents asked one of their relatives in the city to offer Amina accommodation, but she would still need the bus fare to the college. She decided to teach dancing to kids during weekends to get money for her bus fare.
- What challenges did Amina and her family face?
- How did they respond to those challenges?
- What lessons about resilience could you learn from Amina and her family?
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