It seems at every turn, we’re hearing about ‘resilience’ and how important it is for countries and companies, communities and individuals. Everything and everybody appears to be striving ‘to be more resilient’. But what does that mean?
It turns out that there are significant myths surrounding resilience. Contrary to popular opinion, resilience is not just about ‘bouncing back’ from hard knocks. Authentic resilience expert Gabi Lowe, co-founder of the Resilience Factory, says “There’s nothing bouncy about resilience. It’s not simply about presenting yourself as tough and strong; or being able to go it alone. Resilience is also not an innate capacity; our work has proved that it can be developed.”
Authentic resilience is actually about having the courage to be vulnerable and doing the inner work and processing that helps you grow through times when you are experiencing trauma, adversity and sustained stress. This is a lot different from ‘putting your head down and ploughing through’, which can help you survive in short bursts, but cannot be sustained in the long-term.
By contrast, people with highly developed authentic resilience find it easy to talk about their feelings and their vulnerabilities. They focus on their self-care during tough times, and actively seeking out help and support when they need it.
The recently released 2021 BrandMapp Authentic Resilience Report is a collaboration between The Resilience Factory and South Africa’s largest, most comprehensive survey of the South African middle class. BrandMapp has uniquely captured the Covid-era opinions of South Africans living in households with a R10 000+ monthly income. Ten resilience survey statements, five positive and five negative, were presented to more than 33 000 middle class South Africans, giving companies, brand and media owners an exceptional insight into the resilience of the 30% segment of the population that represents 100% of the country’s taxpaying base and 80% of all consumer spend.
South Africa’s youth are the least resilient
Brandon de Kock, BrandMapp director of storytelling, says, “If you look at this sample showing five of the 10 resilience statements that we tested across age groups, it tells a story of our younger generations being significantly less able to cope.
A whopping 45% of Gen Z respondents said they don’t like to talk about their feelings, an important signifier of Authentic Resilience; 32% of Gen Z say they find it hard to recover from bad things that have happened to them, compared to only 7% of the Silent Generation and 11% of Boomers.
When it comes to staying calm in a crisis, 54% of the Silent Generation keeps themselves together but less than a third, 32%, of Gen Z can do the same. For employers, universities, families and society at large, this should be a red flag. We live in tumultuous times, and by all accounts that is only going to get worse. Just think about what lies up ahead in terms of the climate crisis.
Gen Z will soon be the dominant generation in our workplaces; what will happen if two-thirds of them fall apart when they face adversity? The big question is what do we do about this? Since resilience can be developed, and we are facing future-shock, which has been prefaced by the Covid-19 pandemic, how can we help Gen Z, and the upcoming Gen Alpha, develop authentic resilience?”
Why is resilience important to brands and businesses?
De Kock points out, “Whether they are your employees or your customers, people with higher resilience are going to be more successful and more wide-ranging in life. It stands to reason that they are going to do more, buy more and spend more.”
Lowe concludes, “Many don’t realise that authentic resilience is a critical life skill. It is the powerful ability to survive, thrive and grow in the face of stress, change, adversity and trauma. Everyone has the capacity to develop greater levels of authentic resilience. Understanding what it is, who has it and where it needs to be developed has impacts across all sectors of South Africa from industry and corporates to educational institutions and communities.”
To download the full BrandMapp Authentic Resilience report, click here.
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