From social media, virtual reality, the gig economy, crypto-currencies, changes in global balance of power and soon quantum computing, one thing is sure: Our world is changing faster than ever. While all this change is exciting and adrenaline-pumping, it brings with it plenty of stress and adversity, meaning that the ability to cope, persevere, and bounce back will be even more critical for the children of today.
How resilient children are will determine their long-term success and happiness as they adapt and re-adapt to an fast-changing world. Some people are born with a certain degree of resilience but it can also be learnt. So what can you do to help your child or anyone be more resilient and face the future head on?
Here are four ways you start your children's building resilience today:
1. Teach them to say thank you.
Changing your perspective from focusing what is wrong and difficult to what you have to be grateful for has been shown to foster resilience. People who routinely express gratitude show improved health, well-being, and optimism, which help improve resilience.
Help your kids write thank you cards when after they visit peoples' houses. Always make them say thank you to service staff. Let them see it improves their internal positive focus and gives others a boost.
I work with a CEO who got his teenage children share one thing they were grateful that day at the family dinner table. He said although they were pretty unenthusiastic at the beginning, after a few weeks the children started to get excited about sharing daily gratitudes -- they had internalized gratitude.
2. Help them build a bank of positive emotions.
Teach and demonstrate the power of positive outlook -- help them see the positive in situations, no matter how challenging. These positive emotions will act like a bank that they can draw from through life.
When I'm in a race or a very tough situation, I think about my mom and how she always gave me hope and confidence. Just remembering her brings back those feelings.
At work, I ask others for feedback that helps me feel appreciated or helps me improve. As a CEO, I know I won't get this unless I ask for it.
I teach my daughters to do this after school when I ask them what happened that was good today. Later we talk about challenges or low lights of their day.
3. Teach them how to ask for help.
Resilient people build a strong support network around them to lean on when things get tough. They see asking for help as a strength rather than a weakness. This gives them access to huge additional resources in terms of ideas, advice, and perspective.
Encourage them to ask for advice from people they know or even don't know when they start a new sport, school project, are trying to decide on a career path or college. Most people love being asked for advice and are surprisingly generous.
4. Say it's okay to fail.
I often keep telling myself that it's okay to fail when I'm getting started or anticipating something that seems hard. I was lucky enough to have my first boss, Ed Kahn, tell me it was okay to fail.
I now repeat this advice to my children and my team when they need permission to fail. No one has ever failed because of it
Help your children to see failure as an opportunity to learn rather than as a personal disaster. Tell them to take a pause when they are feeling anxious about a potential failure and tell themselves that they are conducting an experiment -- that they are going to try something new and observe what happens. This will allow them to focus on what they can learn from the experience rather than getting it "right" or "wrong."