Many of you know know that I’m part of a happiness study founded by neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson, at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, UW-Madison. The science of happiness shows that failure is an option. What matters is how we respond to it.
Researchers found conclusively that we enjoy a higher quality of life when we experience a certain number of setbacks—5 to 7 of them. Why? Because setbacks give us confidence that we can weather adversity, and they also reinforce what we truly value—for example, health, loving relationships—which can result in enhanced priorities and different goals.
On the other hand:
- Too many setbacks can result in breaking one’s spirit.
- Too few setbacks can protect someone from developing resilience.
Resilient people tend to “make meaning” as difficult challenges are faced and overcome, which allows them to discover positive outcomes that wouldn’t have happened if the challenge hadn’t occurred. This is called BeneFinding—finding benefit in negative experiences.
What was the last benefit you found from a negative experience?