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Learn from the Beatles: How to bounce back from adversity

By Crystal Faqiri, 2nd-year Kinesiology student

There was once a really amazing band called the Beatles, of whom you may have heard once or a million times considering how amazing they are. What you may not know about the Beatles is that just before they catapulted themselves into musical stardom, they auditioned for and were rejected by a company named Decca Records, who told them (in much kinder words) that they would not amount to much in the music industry. Since most of us can immediately recognize their name and sing some of their songs, clearly they didn’t give up after that one upsetting event. But why not? Why didn’t they just pack their bags and mourn their losses?

Well, the Beatles didn’t quit because they had hope that they could do better next time, so they did something very simple yet very difficult: they tried again. And that special moment right there is called resilience, which also happens to be a quality that students who go the extra mile try to emulate.

Resilience can be thought of as a person’s ability to bounce back from stress or adversity, and often shines through when students receive feedback about their schoolwork or their performance. Unfortunately, when the feedback is negative or doesn’t meet the student’s personal standards, this can be deeply discouraging to them. It’s from this point that students who are resilient use something called a growth mindset to allow themselves to do just what the Beatles did and try again.

Growth mindset, as defined by Dr. Carol S. Dweck, is the belief that an individual’s “most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work, [creating] a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” For instance, after receiving an unappealing grade, students with a fixed mindset tend to tell themselves, “I’ll never get this right,” whereas students with a growth mindset tend tell themselves, “I haven’t gotten it right … YET.” Dr. Dweck gave an excellent TED Talk exploring these concepts in more detail, including how to nurture your own growth mindset so you can overcome obstacles more easily.

The ability to believe in oneself and in one’s own capacity for improvement is a key factor in bouncing back from adversity. All in all, my main message to you is that next time you receive a grade that makes your heart drop into your stomach, try not to let your first thought be “I’m a failure,” but rather “I can do better next time.” Let yourself grow with a growth mindset.

Photo courtesy of Randy under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.