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August 2020
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TD Magazine

Thrive Under Stress

Hardiness: Making Stress Work for You to Achieve Your Life Goals

By Steven J. Stein and Paul T. Bartone Wiley, 288 pp., $27
Reviewed by Colleen Worthington

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What if you could harness all the stress in your life to help you achieve success and thrive? Stein and Bartone present their research and findings to explain how you can do that and help others do so. Hardiness is a refreshing blend of positive psychology, emotional intelligence, organization development, and research, all centered around real-life examples and application.

The authors define hardiness as "an essential ingredient that helps people cope effectively with life stressors, and even thrive under stress." Developing hardiness is based on the Three Cs: commitment, challenge, and control. To be high in hardiness-commitment means finding value and interest in the world even in tough times. Low-commitment people are often bored and withdrawn from others.

Hardiness-challenge is focused on how people view and handle challenges and change. Those high in this area understand that change and disruptions are normal and face them. Those low in hardiness-challenge prefer consistency and avoid challenges.

Finally, hardiness-control is about how much individuals attribute their actions to the outcomes in their lives. People with high hardiness-control know that their actions affect outcomes around them, while those on the other side of the scale feel powerless to affect or influence the events in their lives.

Some of the hottest topics in organization development and talent development today are emotional intelligence, positive psychology, and growth mindset. Hardiness pulls in the research from those areas to explain and demonstrate what hardiness is and how to strengthen it in your life.

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The concepts presented are straightforward, but executing on them and improving oneself is a different story. Using research, real-life examples, and step-by-step plans to examine the hardiness mindset, the authors examine each of the Three Cs and present an approach to becoming stronger in them. The examples show how individuals can leverage hardiness to improve in many aspects of their work life and personal life. Stein and Bartone also attempt to link hardiness with overall health; although seemingly forced, they devote a chapter with sections addressing specific health concerns and ailments such as heart disease and arthritis.

If you're looking to build your hardiness mindset and become a stronger, more resilient, successful person, this book will not disappoint.

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About the Author

Colleen Worthington, CPLP, lives near Cleveland, Ohio, and currently works in the healthcare industry in organizational development. She has extensive experience in designing, developing, and delivering programs for a wide range of learners. Colleen holds a master's degree in adult education and human resource studies from Colorado State University and is working toward a master of science in instructional design at Quinnipiac University. Colleen’s recent L&D passions include video production, microlearning, and, in general, utilizing creative technologies to engage end users. Email directly at [email protected]

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