- Any Size
Everyone attempts to name three random things; if and when they fail, everyone celebrates. This is important because it’s easy to forget these important lessons; by repeating the habit of cheering our failures, it makes our actions more likely in the future.
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At the end you can debrief this, asking people how it felt to have everyone cheer when they failed. Were there any surprises that came out of this activity? What insights did they gain about their resilience in the face of failure?
Journalist Megan McArdle has a fascinating prompt for discussion in her book, The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success. She asks:
What happens if you do a Google search for “the best thing that ever happened to me”?
Most people imagine that it would be things like “falling in love” or “having a child.” But those are actually tied for a distant third in the voting.
Well, it turns out that the thing that comes up again and again on Google is a Gladys Knight song. But if you eliminate that, the most popular answers for “the best thing that ever happened to me” include:
But this isn’t so surprising. When most people look back on their lives, they realize that the times of crisis were the wake-up calls. Most of us ignore small warning signs that we are in danger. But when faced with some traumatic event, that can be transformative.
All people will face setbacks, obstacles, failures, rejections, and loss. All of us are fighting our own struggles. That’s why many people face post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Yet there’s actually a tremendous amount of research on how people bounce back from difficult events. Resilience is a skill that can be learned. Indeed, there’s a whole field of research that studies “post-traumatic growth.” Even though we would never wish to have terrible events in our lives, frequently they lead to growth and development. According to UNC Charlotte professors Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun, the leading experts on post-traumatic growth, 90 percent of survivors of a trauma report at least one of the following in the months or years that follow:
Transformative Action Institute, based on popular improv activity
Tedeschi, R. G., Shakespeare-Finch, J., Taku, K., & Calhoun, L.G. (2018). Posttraumatic growth: Theory, research, and applications. New York: Routledge.