Principle #4. Falling Up: Capitalizing on the Downs to Create Upward Momentum
a. After-crisis (or adversity) “mental maps.” We respond to crisis or adversity in three ways: 1) Neutral Effect: Current state—following a crisis, you end up essentially where you started before the crisis; 2) Negative Effect—you end up much worse off after a crisis—you feel hopeless and helpless; 3) “The Third Path” Positive Effect—you actually rise above the crisis.
b. Post-Traumatic Growth—if people experience a trauma subjectively and positively, they can actually grow from it. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” seems to be a scientific truism according to research.
c. Real stories of Michael Jordan getting cut from his high school team and Walt Disney getting fired from a newspaper for not being creative, along with rafts of stories about Kennedy, Lincoln, etc., demonstrate this phenomenon.
d. Learned Helplessness—people see futility and give up/quit forming a mental map of hope, then they close off any capacity to meet the challenge in front of them. This sense of helplessness can spread to other facets of life. So a bad time at work can spread to relationships all around.
e. Find the Path Up—crisis creates opportunities to move up. “Counterfacts” create an alternative to a misfortune—and can help us keep a positive mental map. A job loss looks awful, but not compared to serious illness. Of course, it looks worse when you compare it to gainful employment—but putting things in big-picture perspective helps us find the path up. Explanatory Style: Optimists interpret adversity as temporary and local, and fare better than pessimists, who see adversity as permanent and global. “Falling up” is about using the momentum of the fall down to propel a bounce back up!