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Illuminate x Hiren Workshop - Building Resilience to Overcome Hardships in Your Life

Hello everyone! My name is Jerry and I am a 4th-year student at Carleton University. I recently had the pleasure of attending Illuminate x Hiren’s resiliency workshop. Here are my thoughts highlighting what I learned about resilience.

My Thoughts on Resilience

When I think of resilience, the first word that pops into my head is 'tenacity'. Both of these words are generally defined as the ability to adapt in the face of adversity and bounce back from it. They are usually used interchangeably, however, there are some slight differences between the two words.

Resilience is more mentally focused, and is often used in conjunction with internal stressors, such as a looming deadline or an upcoming presentation. These types of stressors can take a mental toll on the body. A resilient person does not break under pressure and will continue to retain their 'shape' (keeping calm) while working through the pressure.

On the other hand, tenacity is more often used in conjunction with external stressors, such as running that extra 500 meters or stubbornly trying your best even if your team is far behind and is about to lose the game. These stressors take both a mental and physical toll on your body, but a tenacious person will continue to persist and move forward.

My Thoughts on the Resilience Workshop

Overall, I really enjoyed the resilience workshop. One of my greatest takeaways from the workshop is that resilience can be taught and that anybody can become a resilient person.

Growing up, I've always thought of resilience as something you were born with. In elementary school, there were students that studied every day, not necessarily for a quiz/test, but for the sake of studying. Then there were the students that would rather do anything else instead of studying, and I was one of those students.

I was put into many extracurriculars as a child, and I found those activities more fun than studying, so I ended up spending a disproportionate amount of time on those activities rather than studying. Did those extracurriculars help my grades? Probably not, but I was getting good grades, so I didn't really care at the time.

It wasn't until high school that I realized I actually had to start studying more often to keep up with the curriculum. I had many friends that would study often, and I would ask for tips, but their responses are usually "Just do it" (much like the slogan for a certain footwear brand). I did start studying more, but I did not enjoy it. I also felt that I wasn't studying efficiently enough, as my friends would finish studying a lot earlier than me.

This made me envy their resilience in studying, which made me think that resilience is a genetic thing you're born with. After all, there are people with certain conditions (etc. ADHD, dyslexia, etc.) which make it harder for them to learn. However, one thing Hiren mentioned is that resilience is characterized by optimism. A positive view and approach are crucial for dealing with issues and change since they will encourage you to discover answers rather than crumble under pressure.

I realized that I was being pessimistic and making excuses for why I wasn't able to study as well and that I wasn't thinking long-term when it comes to performing those tasks. Hiren's presentation was really engaging, and I was able to critically analyze myself to determine what I can change to build more resilience.

Future Goals

I want to start building small habits that allow me to improve my resilience. One of my bad habits is having negative thoughts whenever something happens/doesn't happen. I'm quick to blame myself/someone else, which then affects the way I perceive and handle the situation. I want to rephrase my negative thoughts into ones that are more positive and motivating, so my goal is to rephrase one negative thought per day and build my way up from there. My hope is to build resilience and become a more positive person.

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