How some people achieve the “unforeseen blessing” of growth from adversity.
In an era of increasing stress and adversity—whether from global issues like war, terrorism, and climate change or personal setbacks like divorce and financial loss—many Americans are embracing the change and uncertainty of challenges, write the Marstons, and improving and transforming their lives as a result. Both Ama, a strategy and leadership expert, and her veteran psychotherapist mother, Stephanie (If Not Now, When?: Reclaiming Ourselves at Midlife, 2001, etc.), have consulted widely on stress, work, and leadership. In this collaboration, they recount research from many disciplines and the inspiring stories of individuals demonstrating the power of “Transformative Resilience” to “learn, grow, and spring forward” after severe challenges. These survivors do not simply recover or bounce back; they emerge transformed. “Type Rs” range from a woman doctor who lost both legs in a tornado and became a determined advocate for children with prosthetics to an HIV-positive man diagnosed as terminally ill who has lived another 35 years as a leader of various causes. Their adversities vary, but all share a determination not to allow their setback to define them, to keep a positive mindset and “move away from a tendency to catastrophize,” and to reframe their situations, thereby choosing their own attitudes. Whether individuals, families, or organizations, those successful at turning adversity into growth tend to go through stages, beginning with comfort, then disruption and chaos, and finally (after a catalyst triggers transformation) a re-engagement with the world, “but in a new way.” The authors spell out the essential skills of TRs (adaptability, purpose, active engagement, etc.) and show how these transformational traits can benefit families and groups in turbulent times. While the phrase “Transformative Resilience” has the odor of marketing hyperbole, the authors offer an informative and inspiring book on some remarkably positive responses to misfortune and change.
Engaging, useful, and sometimes annoyingly repetitious.