Dear 43 Things Users,

10 years after introducing 43 Things to the world, we have decided we have met our last goal: completing the incredible experience that has been 43 Things. Please join us in giving one last cheer to all the folks who have shared their goals with the world, as well as all the people who have worked at The Robot Co-op to build this incredible website. We won a Webby Award, published a book, and brought happiness to a lot of people.

Starting today, 43 Things users can export their goals and entries from the site. Starting August 15, we will make the site “read only”. 43 Things users will still be able to view the site and export their content, but we won’t be taking any new content from users. We hope to leave the site up for folks to see and download their content until the end of the year. Ending on New Year’s Eve takes us full circle.

It has been a long ride (one of our original goals was to "build a company that lasts at least 2 years” - we beat that one!) While we wish the site could live on, it has suffered from a number of challenges - changes in how people use the site, the advertising industry, and how search engines view the site. We wish the outcome was different – but we’ve always been realistic about when our goals are met and when they aren't.

As of today, you will be able to download your goals and entries. See more about that on the FAQ page. Thanks for 10 great years of goal-setting and achieving.

- The Robots.

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Saraband in Oxfordshire is doing 10 things including…

embrace resilience

22 cheers


Saraband has written 9 entries about this goal

Update: 19.3.11

Time to retake the questionnaire again – with some trepidation under the circumstances.

RQ Score: still strong – 72%


A dip on managing stress and anxiety but I’m okay with that right now

Update: 31.1.11

I was able to retake the resilience questionnaire today. (A six-week gap is necessary between takes.) As I answered I felt a touch dispirited: it didn’t seem that I’d made much improvement really. But the scores were so much better than previously! Of course it’s only a questionnaire and it’s impossible to know if I’ve skewed my answers but it made me feel so good to see my improvement measured and in black and white. I know I’m feeling much stronger and lately I’ve rediscovered attributes I’d forgotten I had. So good to see that reflected in the report. Now to keep working to make this stick.

My RQ score
Was: established 58%
Now: strong 73%

Was: strong 85%
Now: exceptional 95%

Solution orientation
Was: established 70%
Now: strong 75%

Individual accountability
Was: developing 35%
Now: established 60%

Openness & flexibility Was: strong 75%
Now: exceptional 85%

Managing stress and anxiety
Was: developing 25%
Now: strong 50%

Stress & Anxiety

From the RQ report available free from this website

Stress is a force which, if not handled well, can seriously distort you – temporarily or permanently. The ability to identify, and then deal effectively with stress, is a key characteristic of resilient people. Up to a certain level, stress is a positive, motivational force, of course – an energiser which encourages you to act, to confront issues and to make things happen. However, beyond this critical tipping point – which varies from one person to another – stress runs the risk of becoming debilitating. Highly resilient people not only have high tolerance levels of stress, they also understand how to deal effectively with the causes and symptoms of stress when circumstances do become more negative for them.

In terms of how you can improve your ability to identify and handle stress, it is vitally important to understand exactly what causes negative stress for you – your stressors. Once you appreciate this, there may be situations in which you can avoid the stressful situation altogether by eliminating the stressor(s).

If this is not possible, you will need to develop ways of coping with the stressful situation. In broad terms, there are two possible strategies to achieve this, which are distinct, but which can both be brought to bear on the same issue. The first involves distraction (taking exercise, walking around the block, removing yourself from the situation, giving yourself time, etc.), while the second approach requires you to achieve resolution (breaking down the problem, prioritising, taking action to address issues where you can, influencing outcomes, etc.).

Your Score is 25%
Your score indicates you have Developing levels of Managing Stress & Anxiety.

Worrying is a thinking process which isn’t necessarily triggered by events in the real world. Your priority here should be to spend as little time as possible engaging in it. If you can learn to distract yourself by focusing on some other activity – it doesn’t matter what – this can reduce the amount of time you spend feeling anxious with all the benefits this brings.

This never used to be a problem for me. I attribute a significant amount of the change to a hysterectomy and (more likely) oophorectomy in 2004 – I’ve long felt there was a negative impact on the adrenal glands. A further factor is not working and having more time to think worry. Hormones notwithstanding – I can make improvements here :)

Openness & Flexibility

From the RQ report available free from this website

Resilient people are open-minded and flexible. They have the ability to tolerate – and even to thrive on – ambiguous situations. They are good learners: from success and from failures; their own and those of other people. They also listen well, and empathise with other people’s points of view, which helps them to recover situations and to get good outcomes.

Resilient people respond proactively and creatively to troubles, using experience to strengthen,rather than undermine, their self-esteem. It is a positive cycle: if you take positive learning from things that have gone wrong for you, this not only boosts your self-esteem, but also your self-efficacy – i.e. your belief in yourself, as well as your ability to make a difference. Being an
effective learner can also make you more optimistic: it tends to increase your belief that things can – and probably will – work out in the future.

Finally, people who demonstrate openness and flexibility know when to move on. They possess the ability to change their minds – and even make a U-turn when necessary – but avoid beating themselves up: “A second ago is history and you can’t change it. You can only think about how to put things right, now”.

Your Score is 75%
Your score indicates you have Strong levels of Openness & Flexibility.

A Strong score here should reassure you that you’re well-equipped to cope with life’s surprises. Make sure those around you appreciate that you are good at getting inside their head and at
understanding where they are coming from. You can further boost your score here by being selective in choosing where you have the best chance to make a really telling contribution.

Individual Accountability

From the RQ report available free from this website

People who demonstrate individual accountability tend to feel a strong sense of self-worth and self-regard, which gives them belief in their own abilities. Without this, they are unable to find the necessary confidence and drive to bounce back from challenging situations. They also strive to be in control of events, to influence where they can, rather than being a victim of their circumstances and at the mercy of other people’s whims.

Highly resilient people tend to be excited by challenges and to view difficult tasks and situations as diversions, rather than roadblocks. They may even seek out challenges they feel initially daunted by, which can lead to discomfort, or even symptoms of stress, but these abate as soon as they sense the possibility of achieving success. At this point, highly resilient individuals return to their normal state of competence and confidence; and their belief that they can tackle pretty much anything life
throws at them is reinforced.

However, a balance needs to be struck. Self-worth needs to be well-grounded and not excessive,which can lead to narcissism: your belief in yourself should be pitched at a level which is just higher than your current levels of competence. Furthermore, being individually accountable doesn’t mean going it alone! In order to cope with tough times, you often need to involve others. Resilience requires you to strike a balance between being proactive yourself and relying on other people – between healthy competition and cooperation.

Your Score is 35%
Your score indicates you have Developing levels of Individual Accountability.

Indecision can play havoc with your effectiveness and you would benefit from taking action much earlier in your thought processes. People scoring low in this category are often concerned about regretting their actions: in fact, as a generalisation, we are less troubled by regret for things we have done than by reflecting on those we never managed to get around to doing.

Oh dear! How true this is. I’m looking forward to seeing this score rise!

Solution Orientation

From the RQ report available free from this website

People who are highly resilient tend to possess an efficient early warning system: they see problems coming a long way off and rather than allowing the anticipation to overwhelm them or cause anxiety,
they start planning how to avoid or eliminate the threat. Undaunted by the unfamiliar, they scrutinise the approaching problem to find the best possible solution.

In finding solutions, resilient people demonstrate sound judgement, take timely decisions on the best available evidence – and then act. They know that indecision causes opportunities to be missed, progress to be delayed and can lead to considerable embarrassment, once the procrastination has been revealed. Resilient people tend to be instinctive, intuitive and rarely try to side-step or avoid
problems. They are naturally curious and take real pleasure in finding solutions. They also know that the most effective decisions are those which other people buy into, so they take care to ensure that interested parties feel that they have been consulted and are kept well-informed throughout the process.

Your Score is 70%
Your score indicates you have Established levels of Solution Orientation.

You generally get by on your approach to finding solutions, but tightening up in this area would help boost your overallresilience. Try to remind yourself what it is you are ultimately trying to achieve. This should help you focus on the right elements of the issue currently confronting you. It may also make it easier to know when to cut your losses. When you do find yourself out of your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to ask others for help.


From the RQ report available free from this website

Optimism is about seeing the glass half full, about finding a silver lining in even the darkest cloud. Optimism encourages people to feel positive about themselves, about other people, and about the world’s general direction of travel. Optimists believe that things are getting better all the time, not just for themselves, but for society in general. As a result, they feel good about change and tend to be more confident that they will be able to cope with what lies ahead.

When something goes really wrong, their instinct is not to construct a worst case scenario, but to look for ways of re-framing the situation in order to bring about improvement. Optimism goes with strong self-belief, a ‘can do’ attitude and a positive approach to the most adverse circumstances.

Positive thought inspires positive action, so optimism is an energising force, while pessimism tends to be debilitating. Optimists believe that there is always something to be learnt when things go wrong. They review the circumstances, taking a balanced view, and being determined to take lessons from the experience which will prevent it happening again.

A word of caution, however: optimism needs to be pragmatic and soundly based on experience, and self-knowledge. When it is misplaced, blind or exaggerated, optimism can actually diminish

Your Score is 85%
Your score indicates you have Strong levels of Optimism.
You have a reasonably balanced outlook on life, able to see its good and bad aspects. To tip the balance even further in favour of optimism, there may be room for you to use your natural creativity to detect a silver lining in more situations. For someone like you, it should be possible to find a positive in most situations.


From the RQ report available free from this website

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from tough times, or even to triumph in the face of adversity; to display tenacity, but not at the expense of reason. Resilient people know that they will sometimes experience failure – but they see it not as something to dwell on, but as an opportunity to move forward, accepting that failure is a part of life. Inextricably linked with accepting responsibility,resilience is about not reacting too emotionally, but keeping your head.

We have found that highly resilient people follow a pattern:
  • Crisis brings out the best in them.
  • They are able to turn disaster into success and are confident in their ability to do so.
  • They take control because they feel confident and secure.
  • They are curious, and enjoy trying out new things.

There are five key elements that contribute to resilience – ways of operating that help protect highly resilient people from the stress that plagues the rest of us, as well as patterns of behaviour which
display courage and ingenuity in the face of adversity. Crucially, there is evidence that these skills, attitudes and behaviours can be refined, developed or even, in some cases, learnt from scratch.

The five elements are: Optimism, Solution Orientation, Individual Accountability, Openness & Flexibility and Managing Stress & Anxiety.

Your Overall RQ Score is 58%
Your score indicates you have Established levels of Resilience.
You occasionally have tough days when you can’t make things go your way, but you rarely feel ready to give up. You may need to develop more of a sense of perspective on setbacks. About one person in three has an RQ score at this level. Your score is below the average, but well within the normal range.

RQ Score breakdown:
Optimism: Strong 85%
Solution Orientation: Established 70%
Individual Accountability: Developing 35%
Openness & Flexibility: Strong 75%
Managing Stress & Anxiety: Developing 25%

This report surprised me somewhat but is startlingly accurate. It provides a good point from which to build. I can retake the test in 6 weeks I think, which should prove interesting.


My one-word resolution for 2010 was Create – in all its manifestations. I didn’t manage to create the life I’m imagining in the space of the year but having the one-word resolution certainly helped and there were definitely some successes on a smaller scale and I feel I made the right choice.

However my choice of word threw up some unanticipated insights. Looking back I can see that my thoughts became too rigid and did not allow room for the inevitable obstacles, setbacks, crises of confidence etc that are part and parcel of daily living. Having set myself the task of creating on a grand and smaller scale, when difficulties arose with the former I see now that my hopes and dreams were too brittle and I lacked the ability to regroup or refocus quickly and move on.

So my one-word resolution for 2011 is Resilience. I need more of it.

When I look back at myself over 2010, the period in the summer when I recoiled from everything stands out for me. Alongside that stand those occasions when outwardly I seemed to be doing all the right things but inside I knew that my thought-processes were ‘all about me’ – even when the situation was really about someone else. This is something I’ve long recognised about myself; I see it as tied in with being a type 4 on the enneagram. Fours can have a tendency to over-identify with their feelings and a need to feel special – to stand out from or apart from the crowd. At the same time Fours long for connection and to be understood. Strange beings, us Fours! And we seem exceptionally self-absorbed!

Anyway, looking back I feel that although I’ve made clear progress with these sides of myself, they continue to hold me back. Such navel-gazing and angst can take enormous reserves of energy and drag me under for extended periods of time. I don’t want to jettison these parts of me – I don’t want to stop being me – but I’d like to keep them within bounds. I’d like to develop resilience. ties in with a book. Resilience:Bounce back from whatever life throws at you is not especially well-reviewed on Amazon but I’m planning to start with it anyway and it’s currently on order.

Saraband has gotten 22 cheers on this goal.


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