Five Tips for Finding Your Resilience

Right now university life is at its most hectic. It’s a time when you are expected to shine, to not only do your best but also be the best.

As a Bright Network member you have already tasted success - you’ve got great academics, often have CVs bursting with sporting achievements, Gold DofE and musical prizes, yet many of you are missing a key skill which employers value: resilience.

Academia doesn’t teach resilience, there’s no GCSE in Bouncing Back, yet the workplace is replete with challenging situations, setbacks and failure. Employers look for students who can not only cope with these problems but who can also keep the wind in their sails and steer a straight course.

So here are Bright Network’s Five Tips for Finding Your Resilience...

Expect failure

Failure is going to happen to you. You will get a low score in one of your exams, you will be passed over for a society Presidency, you will miss out on that perfect job and you will disappoint people. Even if, and especially if, you have a First Class from Oxford, Presidency of the Oxford Union and an offer from Clifford Chance, you need to plan for failure and what you will do if it happens. One set-back won’t mean you lack the potential to succeed at all.

If you find yourself in Hell...keep going

The ability to go from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm was Winston Churchill’s definition of success. If you’re being grilled by a battle axe of an interviewer, or your tutor has just told you you’re on a solid track to a Fail, remember that you have the skills and intelligence to turn it around.

Life is a group effort

Humans are designed to work in teams and even if a set-back has only happened to you, it will be a team which helps you to success. If you want to achieve something, you need to build that support team, including tutors, parents, mentors, and someone to listen sympathetically when you need to have a whinge.

Take action

Accounts of holocaust survivors, and of other disasters, found that those who believed they had some measure of control over their circumstances were more likely to survive than those who believed they could do nothing to change their situation. As fear is fear of the unknown, you’ll be much calmer in the face of adversity if you know what you are going to do. “Prepare for success, plan for failure”. Furthermore, don’t wallow over the unfairness of your supervisor only grading your dissertation at a 2:2, ask yourself what power you have to lessen the problem.

Try everything

As with any skill, resilience takes practice. It’s such an important thing to learn that you should deliberately try things you think you won’t be good at, just so you can find out how you act when you lose. You learn more about yourself when losing a game of Monopoly than you do when acing a course test.  Put in the practice now and by the time you come to be the CEO of a billion-pound company, you’ll be a Professional, Proud and Successful Failure.