Know your Adversity Quotient

Man leaping from one cliff to another at sunset
Photo: © Chakri Wachiprasri / 123RF Stock Photo

Has a personal setback or sorrow bumped into you so far in your life? A loved one’s death or a heartbreak or a failure or squabbling in the family?

It is impossible to rank sorrows in the order of their painful impact. The pain felt due to the loss of a parent cannot be compared with an experience of ruthless bullying in school/college, but for the bearer the scar might well be equally scary. To have an unemployed or abusive father could be as painful for a growing teenager as the first betrayal in love could be for another.

We have all grown up listening to various quotes, fables, songs, and talks by parents and elders guiding us in various ways that ups and downs are, and shall be inevitable in life. But what about the skills needed to scale these ups and downs? In how many homes, or even in schools, are these skills imparted so that we can handle these adversities better?

Most schools, too, go about stuffing down formulae, calculations, theorems, laws, etc., down our systems, while smirking at the very impracticality of the proposition of imparting life-skills in students so that they can handle adversities better.

Yet, challenges, crises situations and adversities cannot be wished away. No matter how much our parents and teachers, and elders love us, and bless us, we will have to go through our share of the sun and the rain. No one is spared. Yes, life is a mixed bag! What shall pop out of the surprise bag and when and how, no one knows!

Adversity Quotient?

How ready are we for all good and not-so-good experiences life may pop out for us? We must spend some time and energy on improving our adversity quotient, before sorrow catches us unawares. There was a time when the whole world was obsessed with pushing up the IQ (Intelligence Quotient) of children. All efforts were directed at improving IQ because our intelligence quotient was then considered synonymous with ‘success.’

Today, the parameters of ‘success’ have shifted. It is widely-known now, that ‘success’ cannot be entirely defined in terms of a student’s aptitude to ram calculations, logic, and grammar into his or her head. Countless instances wherein merit-list toppers and rank holders have committed suicide or harmed themselves or crumbled under the most trivial of circumstances, forced the world to sit upright and take notice of the futility of scoring high on just the IQ scale.

The idea has somewhat dawned on all that to live life happily and successfully, we need a good score on the Emotional Quotient (EQ) scale and the Adversity Quotient scale. While there are psychometric and biometric tests available which claim to tell us our AQ score, we do not have to necessarily go through them to know where we stand. There is a simple technique:

Just ask yourself!

Yes, do regularly sit with yourself and ponder over the happy and sad occurrences in your life and look objectively at your reactions to the latter. Did you behave calmly and give a matured response? Did you hysterically cry at minor issues and create a ruckus?

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Dr Navniit Gandhi
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Dr Navniit Gandhi

Dr Navniit Gandhi is an academic, author, and a trainer/counsellor based in Kuwait. She has authored nine books and has written more than 300 feature articles till date, and is presently on the editorial board of The Teenager Today.