Resilience

Brian Alger writes about resilience citing the interesting website of Philia which explores the idea of citizenship. This is the extract Brian chose and which caught my eye:

“An understanding of resilience suggests that individuals families and communities have a basic integrity and a built in capacity to heal, transform, modify, adapt and survive. “

This articulates a view I have come to hold with increasing conviction – and I often find organisations and groups acting as if it is not so.

When I use Improv activities, time and again I experience the remarkable capacities of human groups to collaborate effectively, not because of some painfully agreed process or set of rules, but through what I feel is an innate desire/ability to get along. The same kind of thing is what makes Open Space facilitation work.

It’s easy for an organisation to try to capture that rather wonderful quality in a set of rules in the hope of somehow improving on it. One of my favourite clients is fond of saying that they don’t really believe in rules, instead wanting to liberate their people to do what comes naturally.

Slightly paradoxically, I also think there is merit in cultivating resilience. I see this especially in relationships where there is often a temptation to abandon the relationship in the face of adversity. Sometimes, we might feel so angry that we want to break the relationship, and it can be challenging – and exciting – to stay in relationship and work the problem rather than bailing out. I don’t intend this as a universal rule; I do, however, like the idea of assuming resilience and looking for it in myself.

Thus I get to the second sentence of Brian’s highlight:

It opens up a way of thinking that reminds us we are not passive recipients in need of outside support and intervention.

Well, sometimes I know I do need outside support; but I think it’s often good to start by looking for my own resources first.

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