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Reflecting Upon Hiren Khemlani’s Strategies To Build Resilience Workshop

Hi everyone! My name is Mahira Siddiqui, and I am a 4th/5th year student at the University of Guelph. On Oct 9, 2022, I had the pleasure to attend Illuminate x Hiren’s resiliency workshop. Here are my thoughts highlighting what I learned about resilience.

What Is Resilience?

In the beginning, when Hiren asked the question “What does resilience mean to you?” I was completely blank, and I quickly searched Google and came up with the answer that resilience to me means to be strong and confident and be able to recover from certain situations that arise in life. After hearing the thoughts of the interns, Hiren described resilience as:

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

At first, I did not understand this definition. After hearing Hiren, I interpreted it to mean that resilience is the whole process that one goes through to overcome and bounce back from a difficult experience.

The most recent time I was resilient would be right now as I currently have too much on my plate in terms of school. I have 4 assignments due next week and 1 midterm coming up also that week. Though I initially did have some stress regarding this, I bounced back by making a plan. I realized that over this coming weekend, I will start the assignments and try to finish them as soon as possible so that I have at least a day or two to study for the midterm. Also, I will prioritize by starting with the assignment that is due at the earliest.

Strategies To Build Resilience – Asking For Help

Hiren provided various strategies to build resilience and they were to practice mindfulness, serial mono-tasking, reframe unhelpful thinking, practice self-compassion, and ask for help. To ask for help really caught my eye as I feel that due to my independent nature and other thoughts like “Would my manager be unhappy if he sees that I am not able to do this alone” or “Would people think that I am not as smart as them or I am less than them just because I asked for help”, I have a hard time asking for help. In fact, I asked Hiren about this and asked the question “How to know when to ask for help."

How To Know When To Ask For Help

Hiren nicely answered this question of mine and taught me various things when answering. He started by saying “It is about noticing the signs of stress in your body. If you find that you are going through a period where you are having difficulty sleeping, having a lot of unhelpful thoughts popping up, having issues eating, being short-tempered, or are just not behaving like you normally do, then these are signs that you are significantly stressed and at this point, you should definitely ask for help. But one can probably ask for help before that when he or she recognizes that some of these signs are popping up." Hiren continued this answer by talking about knowing who to ask “As there may be certain people that may be able to help you more than others." Lastly, Hiren also said that “It is about identifying what you need meaning do you want advice or just someone to listen to you? You can make that clear to someone right at the start by saying I just need someone to listen, or I need some advice." Hiren concluded by saying that “Approach that person and tell them exactly what you need so that person is not sitting there giving you all this advice and you are thinking that I want you to just listen to me and I want that I talk and not you." This whole answer answered my question and from it, I took that as soon as I notice that I am in stress, I should immediately ask help for help from the right person who knows exactly what I need because I have already told him or her my needs clearly.

Final Thoughts and Going Forward

Overall, the workshop was great fun to attend and informative. I learned a lot about resilience and what it is, attributes of resilience, strategies to build resilience, negativity bias and how to overcome it, how to develop a positive mindset, asking for help, and many other things.

Something that I liked was that Hiren did not just sit there and present the whole time and was engaged with the interns in different ways. He was asking questions in which he would wait and allow the interns to answer and then provide his input. Also, he had a little quiz session in which the top 3 interns got a $10 gift card to a place of their choice.

Going forward, I will try to apply everything that I have learned through this workshop in my personal and professional life be it at home, in school, or at work. I will try to be more resilient when faced with difficult situations or experiences and will ask for help when needed. Additionally, I will disregard any negative thoughts or feelings that prevent me from asking for help.


The picture, within the blog, is created by me using PowerPoint Images and Hiren's Facebook. The quotes are from the workshop video sent to me by Illuminate Universe.

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