An adversity quotient is a score that measures the ability of a person to deal with adversities in his or her life. It is commonly known as the science of resilience. – Wikipedia
There is an interesting article in the New Asia Republic about Amy Chuah’s new book that I would like to draw your attention to. Yes, Amy Chuah’s book has been discussed to death, but that’s not what I want to highlight. The article talks about the “Adversity Quotient” which is believed to be an important determinant for future success. The problem with a child who has always been no. 1 in everything in life is that he does not have the opportunity to build up his adversity quotient which then makes it difficult for him to recover from setbacks and to accept failure later in life. This can have very negative repercussions.
My mother once told me a story about a woman she knew growing up. This woman excelled at everything in her life – she was top of her class in school, she became a doctor, married a doctor and had a very successful life in every sense. She was the epitome of everything Amy Chuah strived to achieve with her daughters. Yet, despite everything she had going for her, when she had her first baby and discovered her baby was deformed, she committed suicide. She couldn’t take the “failure” of giving birth to a baby that was not “normal”.
I’m sure this is a rather extreme example, but it is a poignant one. So while it is great that our children do well in school and life in general, suffering a few setbacks while they are growing up is actually a very healthy experience for them. Their ability to rebound and pick themselves up will help them later on in life.
Adversity Quotient Determinants
There are four determinants to the adversity quotient:
- Control – how much influence we believe we have over a particular event to alter what happens next. This measures our resilience.
- Ownership – assuming responsibility for the situation and making the effort to change it. This measures accountability.
- Reach – how will this event affect other aspects of our lives? This measures how much stress we feel.
- Endurance – how long do we expect the effects of this even to last? This can influence how long we are willing to persevere through the hardship.
Increasing Your Child’s Adversity Quotient
“Shulman and Bowen did an analysis of a particular subset of Ivy League graduates – the sportsmen who usually had lower GPA and SATs and their achievements in their careers beyond. It turned out the athletes ended up with much higher income than their peers, and were more likely to go into the high paying financial sector where they were more likely to succeed with their personality and psychological make-up. It is possible that their good adversity quotient given their sporting background could have been one of the factors of their successes.”
So what can you do to help ensure your child develops his adversity quotient? One thing you can do is get him involved in sports because sports is an activity where children will experience failure and defeat. Allowing your child to observe how you deal with failure – by getting up and trying again – is also important for his development.