Resilience is the ability to withstand or recover from difficult situations, and continue to develop. It includes the capacity to use shocks and disturbances to spur renewal (much as certain kinds of forest do after a fire), to make the best of things, cope with stress, and rise to the occasion. We think it is The Art of Living Dangerously’s core competency.
It is linked to other strengths like courage, flexibility, confidence and the ability to respond creatively to challenges. These are not inherent qualities that some people have and others don’t, we can all acquire them and creative people are especially well placed to do so.
Research shows that the traits people across all creative fields have in common are: an openness to one’s inner life; preference for complexity and ambiguity; an unusually high tolerance for disorder and disarray; the ability to extract order from chaos; independence; unconventionality and a willingness to take risks. Like those forests, we have already developed adaptive capacities.
Whatever sort of change we encounter it is reasonably likely that something will go wrong. This is when we need to draw on our personal resilience. Chris Johnstone, a specialist in the psychology of resilience advises that all of us have strategies, strengths, resources and insights that we have developed over our lives which we’ve found useful in hard times and proposes that we can add to and develop these to put ourselves in a stronger position to bring about the changes we want. The vital first step in the journey of changing anything, he says, is hearing within yourself the call to adventure and choosing to answer it.
We think we can do a lot to help each other build our resilience and we’ll be planning some early peer learning opportunities to do just that, but in the meantime, listen to Donna Holford-Lovell, Co-Founder of Fleet Collective in Dundee and one of the architects of The Art of Living Dangerously reflect on her recent experience of building her resilience in the video below.
Roanne Dods, Co-Founder of the Small is Beautiful Conference on the role of self-acceptance in building resilience in the video below:
And explore these links to other material that we think will help you think about different aspects of resilience:
- Chris’ book, Find Your Power: a toolkit for resilience and positive change has been a huge source of inspiration to many, including those on the Transition Movement
- Mark Robinson’s Making Adaptive Resilience Real focuses primarily on resilient arts organisations
- One of Mission Models Money’s most popular publications, Invitation to An Alternative Future, reflects on the habits of heart and habits of mind that will help each of us develop our capacities to stay strong in our uncertain world
- The Stockholm Resilience Centre is the ‘go to’ place for work on the resilience of social-ecological systems
- And on a really practical level, Studio Protector, created by artists for artists offers information to help you navigate emergencies and become better prepared to deal with or avoid them altogether. Whilst this is an American website it has loads of useful information in it that would be relevant wherever you are based in the world. It also has a section on rebuilding your arts business in challenging times.