KATHMANDU: I start my stress management training with a Japanese proverb, ‘Willow trees do not get broken by piled-up snow.’ There is a similar quote by J Marriott, ‘Good timber does not grow with ease, the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.’ All living beings want a pleasant situation — a natural intelligence of survival. However, adversity is also a part of life and efforts to prevent it prove futile. This is when we need to apply adversity intelligence (AQ). If our AQ is low, we will drown in adversity but if our AQ is high, we can turn adversity into an opportunity for growth.
Paul G Stoltz writes in his groundbreaking book Adversity Quotient, ‘Your AQ determines whether you, regardless of all other factors, will stand strong and true, continuing to grow when faced with adversity.’ In organisations, leadership may not matter much in normal circumstances because usual tasks are run by mid-level managers. But leadership is really tested during tricky times. How to deal with tough times and rescue business can be more of an art than science. As Stoltz says, “In the times of chaos and change, it is not enough to lead. As a leader, it is your responsibility to make sure people have the capacity to follow through challenging times.”
Based on my experience, to test our AQ, we do not need to wait for troubling times. We encounter small problems and stressful situations
almost every day. Generally we do not take them seriously and only respond mechanically. However, we can build our AQ by dealing with them sensibly because fortunately, unlike genetic traits, our AQ is learned. It can be enriched and strengthened. If we can practice AQ in everyday sit-uations, it will help to deal with turmoil in the long run.
What do we feel when we find ourselves in an unwanted situation? We start to feel stressed out and negative thoughts rule our mind. If we act out of this negative state, our actions will surely be of less intelligence.
For better results, we need to change this state of mind during trying times. ‘All is well’ is a very powerful affirmation. It was used as humour in the Bollywood movie 3 Idiots, but it really is taken from Louise L Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life. When things seem to go wrong, instead of being anxious, remain calm. Repeat an affirmation that will change your negative state into a
positive one. Then you will become stronger and be able to deal with tough situations with ease. Use of affirmation generates a strong mental attitude and creative thinking followed by intelligent responses to the situation.
(The author is a leadership trainer and consultant associated with ‘Kabule — The Wise Leader’ and ‘Catalyst For Transformation’. He can be contacted through email@example.com)