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Want success? Just change your spots

Posted November 18, 2013, by Andrea Riddell

Adaptability has been touted as the key to wellbeing, according to an Australian-first study run by Sydney University.

The results, derived from an analysis of 969 high school students from nine Australian secondary schools over two years, showed that students who were able to adjust their thinking, behaviour and emotions were more likely to report greater life satisfaction, and a greater sense of meaning and purpose in their lives.

Class participation and motivation as well as self-esteem and life satisfaction were assessed to determine how students coped with changing or uncertain circumstances, with the results showing that those who were able to adjust accordingly were more likely to succeed.

‘One guaranteed feature of young people’s lives into the future is that the world will constantly change on them’, the study’s lead author, Professor Andrew Martin, said.

‘Young people who can adapt to this change are likely to be most effective at coping and seizing tomorrow’s opportunities.’

This is the first known research to highlight the importance of adaptability in leading to positive outcomes in young people’s lives – which, according to Martin, will help adults assist young people in navigating life.

‘In identifying the components of adaptability and its effects, we are in a good position to help young people deal with their lives. Young people can be taught how to think about things differently, how to modify their behaviour, and how to adjust their emotions. When we help them do these things, we build their adaptability, and their future.’

Andrea Riddell

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