Whose Reality?

Although having a number of social media accounts, I seldom post on them. However, a few days ago I posted to express my irritation at the current tendency to refer to difficult/ unprecedented/challenging etc… times. Yes, the current situation we all find ourselves in qualifies for each of those descriptions. However, I hold the view, supported by neuroscience research, that the messages we send back to our brains can influence our thoughts, emotions and actions in addition to the subsequent wiring of our brains. So, why drub ourselves with the repetition of a negative message when a more constructive message is always possible.

Truth is, the current situation scrapes the skin for all of us, making us feel vulnerable. I have noticed an understandable increase in the demand for wellbeing provision amongst the research community. I have heard people speak about worrying constantly about their current circumstances and what the outcomes of the current pandemic may be. Scary but real.

Another phenomenon I have noticed is people seeking to ‘reposition’ their business offering for working from home, and/or what they perceive reality will look like after ‘the lockdown’. Of course this is a business imperative but some of the offerings remind me of the words of Shakespeare “Wisely and slow, they stumble that run fast”. When viewing the linkedin offering of a leadership consultant, proposed as the new reality post Covid-19, but in reality just a repetition of their pre Covid-19 offering with the addition of an element of enhanced creativity one is given to despair indeed.

Yes, the times are indeed scary. For those of us of a certain vintage the Bob Dylan song “the times they are a changing” may appear apt. However, one of the biggest challenges for us as a species is to adapt to reality. Indeed Adaptive resilience is one of those models of resilience professed as being the most helpful in the modern work environment. Adaptive resilience focuses on: 1. Change in routine being seen as interesting; 2. Dealing effectively with new and unusual situations; 3. Having a liking for the unpredictable.

We can strive to see change as interesting, and develop our acceptance for the unpredictable in order to deal more effectively with new and unusual situations. Our reality may be changing, and this may be something we cannot control. However, we can control our response to this change and research evidence suggests we developing our adaptive resilience can indeed help us to cope more effectively with whatever new reality emerges, and the process of change that takes us there.

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Martin Coffey

About Martin Coffey

Postgraduate Career Development Adviser, Doctoral College Team.

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