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Learning about Resilence with Hiren Khemlani

Hi everyone! My name is Ananya Thiruselvam, and I’m a fourth-year student at McMaster university. Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Illuminate x Hiren’s resiliency workshop! Here are my thoughts highlighting what I learned about resilience in the workshop!


So, similar to most people, I have heard the term resilience thrown around a lot. I’ve used a term a few times in my field of study. However, when Hiren asked the stomping question: “What does resilience mean to you?” Honestly, I’ve always associated the term with strength and confidence. I was not sure what I meant to me. Hiren defined the term as:

The process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress… bouncing back from a difficult experience”

Upon hearing Hiren’s definition, I attempted to understand what that word meant to me. To me, resilience almost sounds like a superpower. It means having the power to overcome. In this fast-paced world, a lot of people are often lost when coming face to face with challenges. Big or small, the power we have to overcome seems like a superpower of sorts.

Learning about Resilience

When I say superpower, I don’t mean people are born with the ability to be resilient. That may be the case to hand full of people. But resilience can be learned! Resilience can be learned and developed over time. The most important part of resilience isn’t suppressing emotions but embracing them. Because when you embrace them, you get the opportunity to understand them. That helps you problem-solve and thrive when dealing with similar situations.

Tools to be Resilient!

Hiren mentioned a variety of tools that could a person promote resilience in their work life and personal life. Three key tools that stuck with me are positive thoughts, focusing on the present and lastly, focusing on one win a day.

Hiren explained that, as humans, we tend to lean towards thinking negative thoughts. He showed a great example. The example below shows us how our mind usually works. To practice resilience, we have to practice a more positive mindset. This means changing how we think and how we approach things.

The second tool Hiren covered was focusing on the present. This is something I use on a daily bases to relieve stress. The 5,4,3,2,1 practice is a common way to bring your mind back to the present. Using numbers and connecting with your sense allows you to ground yourself. That's helpful when trying to come back to the present.

Lastly, the third tool that stuck with me was: one small winning a day. By establishing one small will, you feel a little better in the way you think about the whole experience. Small wins can later translate to larger successes.

Going forward…

I have no doubt that going forward; I will have to face challenges. However, the way I respond to these challenges will change. The workshop allowed me to explore various different tools to enhance my ability to thrive and problem-solve. My goal for the future is to practice these tools so I can better my work lifestyle and personal lifestyle.


Quotes: from the workshop

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