Bear Grylls: How the Scouts are helping young people dig deep and bounce back

05 Dec 2019 Voices

Bear Grylls outlines the Scouts' six steps to resilience.

Bear Grylls

Times are hard for our young people. With exam pressures, social media, increased competition and the shadow of climate change, they’re under more pressure than ever. 

Parents agree. A new YouGov poll has found over half of parents say that life is more difficult today for young people than it was twenty years ago. 

That’s why I’ve made it my mission to help build a resilient generation – the bounce-backers. These are young people equipped with the skills to withstand knocks and setbacks: the true grit and resilience to try and try again. 

Never give up 

To me, resilience is all about that ‘never give up’ spirit. 

It’s about getting back on our feet when life sometimes kicks us down. It’s about finding that courage within to keep going despite the odds, despite the obstacles.

Life can sometimes feel an uphill struggle. It can feel like the world is against us or that we’re passengers in our own life. It’s so easy to feel out of control. 

I found that out when I broke my back in three places in a parachute accident in 1996. It shattered my confidence, and it took the support of those around me to get me back on my feet. It’s at times like these that resilience really counts.

It’s not just about facing life-changing events. Everyday life can be just as wearing. In this digital age, when young people are constantly bombarded with the pressure to conform and succeed, it can feel overwhelming.

The six steps to resilience 

As Scouts, we believe in helping young people build those inner reserves of determination and resolve to draw on when times get tough. In fact, 67 per cent of parents said that being a Scout helps young people develop resilience. 
But we want every child to get the chance to do this too. That’s why we’ve put together the six ways to build resilience. 
The first is simply having a go at something new (and being prepared to fail). I’ve taken teams of young people up mountains, and it’s amazing to see how they dig deep to find the strength they need. 
The next is learning and passing on a skill. Succeed in one thing and it gives you the confidence to try another. 
The third is to spend a night away. When kids hike through woods, cook their own supper over an open fire and wake up from a night under the stars, they feel ready to take on the world. 
Next up is to speak to someone different to you. Stepping out of our comfort zones is so important if we want to grow as people.     
Tackling something as part of team is another classic way we build resilience. Remember, you’re not on your own. When times get hard, we’ve got each-others’ backs. 
But the key thing is to learn how to pick yourself up and start again. In life, things will go wrong. It’s how we bounce back that counts. 

Let that be the start, not the finish. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try and try again. 

Bear Grylls is chief Scout. 

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