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Stoicism, Resilience, and the Modern Workplace

#TLDR: The ancient #Stoics have a lot to offer in the modern workplace for #resilience, a value that we celebrate at #PBJAM

#Stoicism arose from the ancient philosophies of the Indo-European cultures going back all the way to #Karmayog from India. It's the ability to survive stressful events of life without getting consumed by them. It's the ability to separate what you can control in life Vs. things out of your control. In modern times, #SerenityPrayer from 1933 by Reinhold Niebuhr sums it up as "Give us the courage to change what must be altered, serenity to accept what cannot be helped, and the insight to know the one from the other".


This sustained attraction and practice of the Stoic approach to life take the form of #resilience for professional life in the #modernworkplace. The ancient stand of being emotionally resilient to misfortunes is relevant to what happens around you in the modern workplace and how you react to it. Though you may not be able to control a lot of events in your office environment, you have full control over how you react to those events and process them within you.


#Resilience at the workplace is #critical for your emotional health and #professionaldevelopment. As is said, how fast you get back up when you fall is more important than how many times you fall.


Let's discuss two scenarios, the first one is where you have failed as a team/group at a critical goal. The #stoic approach tells you to avoid #blamegame and lead level-headed interactions. It allows you to focus the discussions on how to recover from a failure rather than on finding the culprit for failure. This is not to say that you should not do #rootcauseanalysis and help the stakeholders to make a better choice next time. But, by focusing discussions on how to recover as a group, you lead the way in taking the tension out of the situation and allowing the group to recover, and giving everyone involved a chance to be #better next time.


The second scenario is where you have failed individually (or have been blamed). When we face a disappointing event at the office, it is very important to not jump to the conclusion of doom and gloom (even if your stakeholders are pointing fingers at you as the source of that event). Instead of the temptation to immediately react (or even worse, try to defend yourself!), take a graceful break. Acknowledge the gravity of the situation as well as the impact of the event and ask the stakeholders for time for you to think through the next steps.


Bring out your inner Stoic! Say the serenity prayer, a few deep breaths, and then, look at the event. What could you have controlled? What reaction you should have had to things that were out of your control? As soon as your mind separates what you could have controlled, you will find #clarity on whether your actions were right or not. If you feel that your actions should have been different, do approach your stakeholders and discuss what you could have done differently and ask what their opinions are. Avoid raising things that were out of your control as those discussions often lead to the #blamegame and #fingerpointing. The next day, get the stakeholders back together to talk about the next steps.


We have a great program coming up in August 2022 on #resilience at the workplace via the well-known industry expert Sylvie Maury. Stay tuned for the dates and details! In the meanwhile, let us know what has been your experience with #resilience, your thoughts on #stoicism, and your personal stories of how have you handled a recent failure at the workplace.



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