Psychological hardiness is but an erudite term that pertains to the generic lifestyle of any given individual. Coined to characterize the ability of a person to withstand obstacles and rather use hardship to further his or her tolerance level, hardiness composes of three primary facets: control, challenge, and commitment.
Control refers to a person’s internal locus of control, or the rudimentary belief that one is capable of determining the outcome of certain events, at least to an extent. Challenge is the evident hardships that naturally emerge in any person’s life, and how this person can view it as an opportunity to develop endurance and grow from the experience. Commitment alludes to authentic endeavors a person takes to meet his or her career ambitions throughout the span of his or her life. When these three aspects are linked, they constitute the comprehensive term “hardiness” that analyzes how a certain individual can utilize his or her particular challenges to be able to withstand far greater in the future.
As a senior in the midst of the dreaded college application process, I have found myself repeatedly associating myself with this generic term and pondering about how stress, ironically, can enhance an individual’s physical and emotional competence to flourish in any surrounding. Since one learns best from direct experience, I strongly support the notion that one must experience an array of adversities before he or she can genuinely obtain the mindset to regard stress as an indispensable factor of everyday living.
Overwhelmed with having to constantly balance between the social, humanitarian, academic, college preparatory, and interning aspects of my life, I struggle to view the stress that tags along as hardly beneficial, let alone vital. Personally, the most exacting element about this process is the mentality that restricts me from achieving my full potential; thoughts such as “you will never be as exceptional as those around you” or continuous comparison to successful older cousins as an undoubtable part of Asian culture ongoingly discourages me from attempting to maximize my capacity as a unique person.
But it is stress that releases the adrenaline in healthy dosages that helps me and any other student to truly zero in on the task at hand with undivided attention, which, in my case, has pushed me to complete assignments with ease, whether it be assembling college profiles or staying on top of Key Club’s monthly reports. Though it is despised for its harms, the results of stress are frequently overplayed, especially since stress is a healthy, crucial component of everyday life that helps one meet goals and adapt to novel circumstances. As Maya Angelou once claimed, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude,” even overcoming my stereotypes of stress has helped me heighten my hardiness, knowing that ultimately, the stress that accompanies ordeals is the underlying enhancer that guides me forward rather than withholding me back.
<Jenny Chang Orange Lutheran High School 12th Grade