You’re Never Going to Bounce Back, So Stop Trying: Academic Version
I’m in midst of a fantastic read by Navy Seal Eric Greitens called Resilience. If you want your philosophy in the form of a solid gut punch from someone who is trained to kill you about 300 different ways, this is the book for you.
Early on in the book, Greitens warns against trying to bounce back from life’s setbacks. As academics, we hear this phrase, or variants of it, from colleagues all the time when a grant gets triaged, a paper gets rejected or we are passed over for an honor. In Resilience, Greitens argues that the goal of returning to your former self after failure, rejection and pain is futile and will make you angry, insane and/or sad beyond measure.
Bouncing back implies we are somehow capable of stepping back into the same persona and state of enthusiasm we had before. Not only has the trajectory of our goal shifted, but also your ability to recapture your former self in the face of rejection and failure is impossible. So, let’s not bounce back. Let’s be angry, fighty and indignant when we fall down. And when we get back to work, let’s aim for resilience. Let’s be better than just being able to take a punch, but also be wise enough to see the next one coming and prepare by identifying our own weaknesses and turning them into unexpected strengths. True confidence comes with experience rooted in truth and resilience. Resilience, Greitens writes, is distinct from mere survival and more than mere endurance. Resilience is endurance with direction.
For more pointers on Resilience follow @EricGreitens on twitter
The author of this post is 89% SEAL material according to a total made up but somewhat hilarious quiz.