Zooming in on Human Resilience

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In the current pandemic era, humanity has been thrust into a whirlwind that encompasses many areas of life. We are facing a healthcare challenge that has severely compromised our economic, geographic and cultural wellbeing.

One of the things that can help us cope with this great challenge is resilience. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the concept of resilience as “an ability to recovery from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”. More than anything, resilience is a psychological mindset – and it can be developed and enhanced over time.

Resilience is synonymous with human struggle. It is a mental state-of-mind that helps overcome stress and uncertainty, and can transform adversity into an opportunity for positive change. To understand resilience, all we have to do is recall past economic recessions, where many individuals and families lost their jobs or savings – and managed to survive. People who managed to escape extreme childhood impoverishment is yet another good example.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has brought many people to the brinks of financial despair. By the time this crisis ends, millions all over the world may end up losing large chunks of financial security. Adopting a resilient mindset is the first step in increasing the chance of eventually bouncing back from economic and social hardship.

Adjusting to Change

Human resilience has been studied extensively by psychologists since the early 1970’s. Over the years, several key behaviors have been determined by experts as crucial to its development. These include: maintaining close relationships with key family members and/or friends; emotional intelligence; proactive behavior that strives to define and achieve specific goals; effective communication with peers; and cognitive activity that cultivates the mind.

In the era of COVID-19, it is important that each and every one of us dedicate time to enhance internal resilience. We all have access to simple tools that can help us do that. One of those tools is video conferencing. Many articles have analyzed the gradual impact of video communication on workplace dynamics and family relationships. Yet effective remote communication also positively influences the way we adjust to change.

Video for Resilience

Video conferencing was initially designed to make remote communication easier. As it turns out, in a global state of emergency, the same tools that help two executives connect from two corners of the world, are gradually helping millions become more resilient. This is how:

  • Interaction with family members: Maintaining a constant and healthy connection with our families – especially those who live far away – helps us feel stronger and less alone. Communication with family members – emotional sharing, giving and asking for advice, random conversations – can charge us with energy that is essential to short and long-term goal fulfillment.
  • Learning: New knowledge and constant cognitive activities stimulate the brain and help us grow as human beings. Over the past several months, video conferencing has become the ultimate learning tool. From university courses to online talks, from group think tanks to professional conferences, we are suddenly experiencing new forms of learning that require little to no physical effort. The world is changing, huge amounts of data materialize on a daily basis, and those who keep themselves updated will be better equipped to deal with new scenarios.
  • Empathy: Caring helps create resilience. We become more resilient when we understand our own needs and the needs of others. Through video conferencing, we are increasing our engagement with people who are different than us. And when we are more aware of their stories, we become mor empathetic. Israel is filled with such stories. One of the most uplifting examples concerns holocaust survivors and their children, who recalled their personal stories to an unprecedented number of people through the Zoom platform, during Holocaust Remembrance Day.
  • Proactivity: When times are tough, it can be tempting to give up. But video conferencing is helping us do the exact opposite. We can't leave the house for the office, but we can work from home. We can't go to class, but we can participate in video learning. We can't meet our friends, but we can interact with them through the screen. We can’t go to meetings or job interviews, but we can still initiate them through Zoom. As it turns out, we can still build our career, acquire new skills, and chase our dreams – even if we are forced to stay indoors or modify the way we do business.
  • Effective communication: Humans are communicators. When we think together and bounce our ideas back and forth, we become stronger. When we engage in meaningful conversations – both personal and professional – we feel better about ourselves and the world we live in. In 2020, video conferencing has become the premier communication tool. It is helping each and every one of us convey our thoughts to others, and exposes us to new ideas thought by others. As a result, we can all see the bigger picture.

Moving Towards a Stronger Future

Israel is known as the Start-Up Nation. The vast number of Israeli start-ups may have something to do with the unique brand of Israeli resilience. One of the most common traits of successful start-up entrepreneurs is their ability to fail, fail and fail again – and eventually succeed. They learn from their past experiences, never give up, work hard, and eventually achieve their goals.

The coronavirus has turned us all into entrepreneurs operating in unstable territory. We’re not managing start-up companies; rather, we are investing time and effort in the stabilization of our own lives. As we have all learned, easy access to robust video conferencing technology helps us succeed. As we continue to use video conferencing tools to communicate, work, learn and develop, we will gradually amass skills and traits that will prove essential in paving a better future.

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