3-C's to Psychological Hardiness


What is constant in our world:  personal and organizational uncertainty, and constant need for improvement.

What’s the result:  stress

What’s the prescription:  build your “psychological hardiness

Psychologists Salvatore Maddi and Suzanne Kobasa coined the term “psychological hardiness” and spawned much research into the relationship between it and physical health.  They concluded and others have largely affirmed that hardiness promotes physical health under stress.  Maddi and Kobasa identified three dimensions that tend to promote this sense of hardiness and in turn physical wellness.  As you read them, you might ask:  how do I promote this both in myself and in those experiencing stress around me.  They are:

1. Commitment.  People with psychological hardiness tend to have and hold a sense of purpose in what they do.  Meaning seems to be part of their game.  So, if they are on the sinking Titanic, they are working with purpose; if in a downsizing company they are holding to purpose.  Personally, this measure invites us to reach to our deeper values, which exist no matter what the context.  So, if dignity, respect, honesty, love, or creativity (not to mention God) matter to me, I can invoke these core values no matter where I am.

2. Control.  People who have a sense that there are things they can do, and people who focus in the domain of what they can do, rather than what’s outside their control, tend to be more hardy and less painfully stressed.

3. Challenge.  People with hardiness, enjoy challenge.  They generally see themselves as capable of change and expect life around them to change.  They don’t respond in the mode of my friend Charlie Ross’ line: “Change is great; you go first.”  Instead, mistakes are cause for learning, losses are preludes to winning, weaknesses create opportunities to grow better.

Maddi and Kobasa in their original research found that people who possessed the three C’s were flat-out healthier.  But their research begs two questions, which are the challenges for each of us in these tough times:  How do I build my psychological hardiness?  And:  How do I build a team, company, culture, family where others continually increase their given level of hardiness?

Re-commit to your values and purpose this morning, keep fixed on your sphere of control, and grab an attitude that says: I’m gonna keep learning my way to success.  And that’s a heckuva good start to

Lead with your best self!