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How People Learn to be Resilient



Maria Konnikova is fascinating. She holds a Ph.D in psychology, plays professional poker, and is a prolific writer. Poker mirrors life in many ways, so those that can articulate, debug, and observe their decision making hold significant advantages in the longer term.

This article focuses on resilience - that is, the ability to overcome hardships and rise above the difficult circumstances. Konnikova looks to find the ‘protective’ factors: elements of an individuals’ background that could enable success despite challenges faced. Through a series of studies, her team found that resilience is a byproduct of autonomy, independence, and positive framing. They followed and tested a group of individuals over decades, looking to discover who emerged from obstacles in the past. Through data and patterns, they found that those who rose above their past hardships didn’t have any intellectual advantage, but could frame adversity as a challenge - one that could be overcome and beat. Traumatic events can’t always be avoided, but the response separates individuals. Resilience is a vague term, though it has concrete meaning and is built from skills that can be taught.
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