Review of Adaptability and Resiliency course by UCDavis

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So I took a Coursera course called adaptability and resilience offered by UCDavis. I’m gonna share some of the ideas I’ve learned throughout this course.

The course starts by introducing two concepts: adaptability and resilience.

Adaptability is the ability which allows people to change their actions or perceptions when their environments or conditions change.

Resilience on the other hand is the ability of people to bounce back from difficulties, basically the more resilient one is the faster he or she recovers from downfalls.

Next, adaptability and resilience have some general characteristics: self-awareness, self-management, strong connections, and practicing a positive attitude.

Self-awareness is the ability to see yourself clearly and objectively through reflection and introspection. Kinda like looking at yourself in the mirror, figuratively speaking.

There are some ideas to consider if you want to increase your self-awareness:

- reflect upon your belief system

- think about your strengths but also your weaknesses

- analyze your negative thoughts and especially what triggers them

- transform negative self-talk into positive one

- develop beforehand behavioral strategies you can use when dealing with setbacks

- change your perception regarding failure - rather than focusing on what you’ve lost by failing you can focus on what you’ve learned by failing

- ask people what is their opinion or how they view things and put yourself in their shoes.

Introduction to the SCARF model was developed by psychologist David Rock. SCARF is an acronym that describe the five domains which influence behavior of people:

1. Status - your position in the society compared with others.

2. Certainty - the ability to predict the future. Many people do this rather than living in the moment because people don’t like uncertainty.

3. Autonomy - people feel better at work and not only when they have a certain degree of freedom regarding their actions.

4. Relatedness - we need social circles and the feeling of belonging to social groups.

5. Fairness - fairness among people is assured by rules.

Dr. Rock's model is important because it proved that these five social domains act upon the same areas of the brain as physical survival. So when any of these five domains is threatened we act instinctually.

The course continues with the TRIAD: Physiology, Focus and Language. And next it discusses action planning. I’m not gonna detail this information because it is pretty basic.

Near the end though I discovered some very interesting information.

The notorious Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl discovered that between a stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. This alone nails the question if we have free will or not. The way I see it, it feels like being in a restaurant: the menu contains our possible responses and we choose one of them. Basically we can’t choose the menu once at a specific restaurant but we can choose anything we like on the menu.

And the last information in the course I found extremely useful is that according to Nobel Prize winning scientist Daniel Kahneman, we experienced approximately 20,000 individual moments in a waking day. And each moment lasts a few seconds. So basically we have a lot of choices to make in a single day alone.


I'm a web programmer passionate about coding, spirituality, psychology and some theoretical sciences. The best part with so many interests is I never get bored.

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