Sam Cawthorn, Young Australian of the Year (TAS), says “problems, tough times and crises are good for us”.
With all the military conflicts and violence in the world, the global economic crisis, the natural disaster crises and other crises we experience throughout our lives, most of us have heard of the term post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can be ignited through these crisis times.
There is, however, a flip side that psychologists have called post-traumatic growth or adversarial growth. A new body of research indicates that when people are faced with severe adversity such as bereavement, medical transplant, cancer, chronic illness, heart attack, military combat, physical assault or natural disaster, they are often driven to use the crisis to transform their lives in profoundly positive ways.
It’s clearly an idea that has been around for a long time — just think of the maxim ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ — but it’s only been in the past few decades that science and research have begun to build up a solid empirical framework to support it.
“Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant” – Horace
Thanks to this research we can now say without question that adversity and severe crisis can lead to great personal growth and positive change across a wide range of experiences.
In his brilliant book The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, a positive psychologist from Harvard University, cites many examples of this phenomenon in action and suggests that a person’s ability to transform crisis into opportunity depends largely on their mindset and their willingness to accept that something good might come of it.
Researchers who studied the psychological effects of the Madrid train bombings of 2004 noted, ‘It appears that it is not the type of event per se that influences post-traumatic growth, but rather the subjective experience of the event.’
Bottom line? Only those who have failed in a big way are likely to succeed in a big way. If you shift your perspective and attitude toward crisis, you can see adversity as an invitation to change and reinvent the situation to bounce forward rather than back.
As Viktor Frankl puts it, ‘What is to give light must endure burning.’
Bounce Forward shows you that crisis can be good. Adversity and challenges can ignite some of the greatest opportunities in your life. Sometimes we need a failure to see the new opportunities that were right in front of us all along.
Photo: © daynamore – Fotolia.com
About the Author
Sam Cawthorn is the author of the new book BOUNCE FORWARD – How to Turn Crisis into Success. Published by Wiley Publishing and is available in all good book retailers. You can also pickup a signed copy from www.SamCawthorn.com