Program Preparation Stage 3:
Mental Toughness and Resilience Development Pre-reading
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Please bookmark this page so that you can come back to it and complete the pre-course reading, if you can’t do it now. At this stage it is assumed that you have completed the Seligman diagnostic questionnaire so that you can receive your personal assessment report at the course or in a coaching session. If not please complete the questionnaire first. When you have completed the questionnaire click submit, and you will be redirected back to this page.
Developing Resilience and Mental Toughness involves some advanced and challenging ideas. Some of you may be quite familiar with these ideas, while they will be completely new to others. Part of the programme involves identifying and assessing long-standing thinking style habits, and ideas about the source of our moods and emotions. It also involves trying out new ideas for empowering ourselves to influence our own moods and emotions in the interests of increasing our motivation, drive and energy.
Firstly – Important Definitions:
1 Being Resilient and Mentally Tough is the ability to grow and thrive in the face of challenges, and to bounce back swiftly from adversities and setbacks. It also includes gaining additional drive, energy and motivation from your accomplishments and successes. Our coaching and learning & development programmes are all about enabling you to perform at your optimal level in all manner of circumstances and situations.
2 We’ll be using the terms Optimistic and Pessimistic on the course. Optimistic – Most people would mean, “Having a positive view of the future.” if they said someone was an optimist, just as they would mean, “Having a negative view …” if they said someone was Pessimistic.
There are 3 recognised types of Optimism:
1 Dispositional or Personality Optimism. The person who presents themselves positively, and who speaks positively about the future. We all learn to do that as we move into adult life.
2 Actuarial Optimism. Actuaries refer to being more Optimistic about the how likely it is that what they are estimating will occur, or not, as the case may be. Think of the probability of you causing a car accident vs. the person who works at the next desk, or office.
3 Explanatory – or Attributional Style Optimism is what your development is about. This is a deeply embedded habitual way of thinking about the reasons for things that happen to you i.e. making automatic mental explanations.
Each of us develops our own “Explanatory Style” in our very early childhood, and then we forget about it, and just get on with accidentally and automatically using it. It becomes our comfortable “normal” mindset.
On this course we use those two words (Optimistic and Pessimistic) in the way that Professor Martin Seligman uses them in describing the impact of our attributions i.e. they are a style of thinking about the causes of things that have already happened, not about your view of the future. e.g. Pessimistic means making negative explanations for why good and/or bad things happen to you. Optimistic means making positive explanations for why good and/or bad things happen to you.
Secondly – Thinking about Thinking: To get you thinking about how thinking is a choice, and how it influences our emotions and wellbeing, here are some short readings.
“There are many things that go on that affect me that are beyond my control. I can’t control them, only how I react to them. I’ve spent my time worrying about things I can control and can affect the outcome of, and I’ve managed to develop a philosophy that enables me to deal with these.” 90 year old Dr. Stanley Karansky; quoted in chapter 10 of “The Brain that Changes Itself” – Norman Doidge Author.
Download the latest version of Acrobat Reader here if you need to.
What is “Mental Toughness“ – read this description in an article about how the US Army is introducing Mental Toughness training to build resilient soldiers.
Read “Is Optimism a Competitive Advantage“ …
Read the “Thought Leader Interview“ with Chris Argyris … paying particular attention to the page 13 section on the “Ladder of Inference”
Read how an “Optimistic Explanatory Style Supports Good Health“ Using Mental Toughness and Resilient Mindset tools will benefit our health and wellbeing. You are welcome to print these reading pieces and bring them along for a discussion on any points of particular interest.
Thirdly: Please come prepared with some examples of personal setbacks (adversities) and successes. We will make use of them to assist the learning.
Finally: Here is some additional, but not required reading on this topic.
“The Winning Edge“ Psychology Today Passion and perseverance may be more important to success than mere talent. In a world of instant gratification, grit may yield the biggest payoff of all.
“Does optimistic thinking influence sporting achievement” … Journal of Excellence A paper on the growing evidence that explanations (optimistic or pessimistic thinking styles) have a profound impact on sporting achievement.
“How does optimistic thinking influence the risk of heart disease for men“ …
Thank you. I’m looking forward to working with you soon.
Sincerely Jamie Ford – Facilitator Tel: +64 21 772 079
PS: At the conclusion of the course you may want to go to this Ten Top Tips page I wrote for Management Magazine with some ideas to refresh your learning from the course.
What people say: SEE ALL TESTIMONIALS
“I’ve received a promotion to run the company’s largest branch, & the techniques you taught on your course played a large part in me getting there. I’m (almost) unflappable & very little gets me down these days. Oh joy!!”
Matthew - Sales Centre Manager
“I found the tools provided by this course astonishing, and despite being on countless courses over the course of my career, this one was truly a much different proposition. Jamie focuses on the principles of emotional intelligence, delivering the tools that some of us need to truly stretch our capacity for an enhanced mental resilience capacity, and a more optimistic frame of thinking. I observed how powerful his message was amongst all the course participants, and although I rated myself as pretty tough mentally, I gained much.”
Andrew - Director, Financial Markets Company
“It was great fun and very informative. I highly recommend the ‘Attitude is Everything’ seminar and the application of the concepts helps me to improve at work and home.”
Darren Wallis - Chief Executive Officer, G.J. Gardner Homes
“What I liked most about the ‘Resilience’ programme was the attitude shift from a pessimistic outlook to optimistic with tools that are practical and usable. I highly recommend this programme because the material is based on proven scientific research.”
Rob Penney - Head Coach Canterbury Rugby Football Union 2006 to 2011
“The way Jamie presented the ‘Attitude is Everything’ seminar was fantastic. I was taking it all in because of the enthusiasm of it all. I highly recommend the seminar as the ideas and strategies can be easily used by any person and the application of concepts helps me to improve at work and home. I think it gives great inroads to help people achieve the things they are capable of by changing their thinking.”
Lance Irving - Managing Director, Smith & Sons Franchisee, Christchurch
“What I liked about the “Learned Optimism and Resilience” programme is that the content is practical, simple and easily applicable. It made a positive difference to how I perceive events in my life. The programme has enabled me to take more ownership of successes, while dwelling less on adversities that we face. I am now more conscious and better equipped to model positive, optimistic behaviour and language. I highly recommend the Learned Optimism and Resilience Programme as it makes a difference.”
Steve Lancaster - High Performance Leader Crusaders - now Head of Provincial Union Rugby at New Zealand Rugby