3 P’s of Resilient Thinking – How Resilient are You?

This week on Love at Lunch, I talked about the 3 P’s of resilient thinking and how important it is to reframe our thoughts when facing a challenge.

Just this week I had a friend feeling stressed out because someone on his team was leaving. He said, “If only I was a better leader, he wouldn’t be leaving”.

Yikes! that’s an invitation to do a reality check. Is the stress of the situation causing one to fall victim to the 3 P’s of non resilient thinking? Sounds like it.

Sure, there may be an opportunity for growth in one’s leadership.

However, it is also important to realize it is not all this leader’s responsibility. It also emphasizes how valuable it is to change their thinking to support a more realistic and optimistic view of the situation.

Here is the video from Monday – Love at Lunch:

The resilience building framework comes from Martin Seligman’s work, one of the leading researchers in positive psychology.

Seligman calls this technique as the 3 P’s of resilient thinking.

After spending decades studying how people deal with setbacks, psychologist Martin Seligman found that there are three P’spersonalization, pervasiveness, and permanence — that are critical to how we bounce back from hardship.

The seeds of resilience are planted in the way we process the adverse events in our lives.

Personalization: The belief that we are at fault. This is the lesson that not everything that happens to us happens because of us. We should always take responsibility in our lives, but that is different than blaming oneself for everything. Studies show that getting past personalization can make you stronger. Teachers who knew they could do better after students failed adjusted their methods and saw future classes go on to excel. Not taking failures personally allows us to recover—and even to thrive.

Pervasiveness: The belief that an event will affect all areas of your life. Everything is awful. There is no place to run or hide from the all-consuming impact. One setback will spread to all aspects of your life. In reality, it gradually becomes clear that not all areas of life are affected by a tragedy in the same way. Little by little, life can be improved and brought back to normal by concentrating on those areas.

Permanence: The belief that the situation and how we feel about it will last forever. It never does. This P is most commonly observed by everyone who has experienced a loss. We often project our current feelings out indefinitely. We feel anxious—and then we feel anxious that we’re anxious. We feel sad—and then we feel sad that we are sad. Instead, we can accept our feelings and recognize that they will not last forever.

The next time you’re facing a challenging situation. Check-in and ask your self if you think that this is all your fault, it will impact everything in your life, and it will never end.

Take a moment to reframe your thoughts to respond more effectively and take on a more optimistic perspective that will help you move through this circumstance with greater ease.

Pay attention to where these types of pervasive thoughts are showing up

      1. Personalization, not everything happens because of you
      2. Pervasiveness, some aspects of your life will not be impacted
      3. Permanence, the feelings and the impact of the situation will dampen with time

We can’t control many circumstances in our lives, but we sure can control how we respond to them!

Knowing what we are thinking and how they can hijack our optimism is so helpful!


Lots of love to you all! xo



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