Adversity quotient – the power of resilience which drives productivity

February 26, 2021

Studying how our brain works, why we perceive things the way we do and how to improve one’s brain functionality has always been a challenging work since the human brain possesses a highly complex mechanism. Intelligence quotient (IQ) and emotional quotient (EQ) are the two most widely known evaluations of human brain capacity in which people invest a lot of effort building.

A fairly new concept compared to IQ and EQ called adversity quotient (AQ) which was introduced by Paul Stoltz in his book “Adversity Quotient: Turning obstacles into opportunities” has recently gained significant attention due to its proposed correlation with one’s productivity and success at work.

What is adversity quotient?

Adversity quotient measures one’s ability to cope and deal with adverse circumstances. It is also commonly referred to as resilience which demonstrates how a person responds when faced with life’s difficulties, from small hassles that come your way on a daily basis to more serious stress or pressure at work.

AQ is also frequently associated by employers with grit, stability, power, and creativity, these are highly sought-after traits of a person in many industries. Following 2020, a year full of turbulence and unprecedented challenges, AQ has proven to be more pertinent and imperative than ever since it determines one’s capability to reflect on the adversities at hand to withstand and triumph it.

AQ as one of the probable contributors of success

Understanding how a person responds to adversities is considerably useful in terms of predicting their endurance, mental capacity, perseverance, attitudes and how quickly they can adapt to changes in environment. These factors are strong indicators of the ability to succeed in many aspects of life, especially in workplace.

Possessing high AQ is analogous to being able to courageously learn and bounce back from setbacks. Whenever adversities strike, high-AQ people incline toward analysing the situation with the desire to exert a certain level of influence and control over stressful circumstances. Plus, people with higher AQ view hardships as temporary situations which will soon pass, as a result, they are more likely to soldier on and their recovery process happens relatively faster compared to those with lower AQ level.

These characteristics help high-AQ individuals gain the upper hand in most situations since they do not dwell on the negative aspects, instead, they spend more efforts on figuring out how to improve the circumstances. In the context of workplace, people with good AQ are believed to bring longer term stability and loyalty since they do not quit easily when obscurities come in way, these traits entrench their position as troubleshooters and reliable team players in any organisation.

Resilience also fuels work productivity as it is the key determinant of one’s ability to follow through and attain set goals. Unlike people with lower AQ, resilient individuals apparently overcome adversities and setbacks with relative ease, this reduce the possibility of them opting out once things derail or do not go as planned.

In addition, AQ is closely linked with mental resilience which is pivotal in sustaining one’s emotional well-being in the face of sudden issues and changes. Resilience can be of great importance in dealing with ongoing mental health issues as well as alleviating the severity of existing mental health problems.

How to develop your AQ?

More often than not, people who can navigate through the thick of adversities are the ones who survive the crest and trough of their careers. One inevitably has to face multiple hardships and setbacks along the way on their pursuit of success, the ability to surmount these challenges determines whether their attempt will come to fruition. The good news is AQ can be cultivated and improved through implementing some changes regarding one’s practice as well as perception.

  1. Take a minute to analyse the situation

Panic attacks stemming from sudden adversity can cause one to react rashly and irrationally. Instead of responding immediately, spend some time to look deep into the root cause of the problem in search for the most optimal respond.

  1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

Don’t let the fear of failing get the best of you. See making mistakes as a form of approaching a problem comprehensively and adopt a learner mindset which will enable you to bounce back from mistakes and learn from them.

  1. Reach out for feedback

Don’t isolate yourself and struggle in silence once a crisis emerges. Ask others for advice and get feedback about how you can better your adversity coping methods. This process will help improve one’s self-awareness and break passive patterns of responses to problems.

  1. Have faith

Believing that every hardship has its own reason for happening is crucial in terms of dealing with them mentally and emotionally. Stress and anxiety, from a lack of faith, can severely impair our judgment as well as the ability to respond constructively. Reinforcing faith in ourselves helps mitigate the level of pressure in which difficult circumstances put us in order to implement apt solutions.

Find out more tips on how to excel at work with us here.