Notes from Resilience - Why Things Bounce Back
The strategies implied in each of these interventions - ensuring that there are sufficient reserves available to any given system; or diversifying its inputs; or collecting better, real-time data about its operations and performance; or enabling greater autonomy for its constituent parts; or designing firebreaks so that a disturbance in one part does not disrupt the whole - are, at their core, strategies of resilience.
Accordingly, we frame resilience in terms borrowed from both ecology and sociology as the capacity of a system, enterprise, or a person to maintain its core purpose and integrity in the face of dramatically change circumstance.
Amin and his fellow researchers identified three by-now familiar design principles of this grid of the future. The first is real-time monitoring and reaction … The second principle is anticipation … The third design principle is isolation, or decoupling.
Personal resilience has a dizzingly long list of correlates … Among these, innate personality traits like optimism and confidence have emerged as some of the most protective assets against life’s stressors … In addition to ego-resiliency, the Block study measured a characteristic they called ego-control, or the degree to which an individual has the ability to delay gratification in service of future goals.
The 4636 project was able to spread - as evidenced by Meier’s description of the growth of the volunteer network - because the platform allowed people to be recruited in to perform discrete, useful tasks, with a minimum of formal authority. …
The 4636 project also had leaders who modeled desired behavior in the network - commitment to a shared goal above all else - and didn’t show any sign of defecting from the common purpose. …
Finally, there was a sense that the platform was showing results. Feedback loops that motivated the team members and increased their sense of agency.
A good example text is The Propensity of Things by French sinologist François Jullien, which explores the Chinese notion of shi, a term with multiple connotations and no direct English translation, which is intrinsic to a wide array of Chinese though, military and otherwise. Shi encompasses notions of power, relationship, and circumstance, though Jullien translates it as “propensity”, or a tendency that, like a seed, germinates within a situation. …
“The goal”, says Fontenot, “is to help them to escape the conventions of the Western military mind-set, so they can in turn help others see past it.”