Mind & Body

We should all take a lesson in resilience from Jackson Warne and Molly Taylor on SAS Australia

How do you build resilience? Molly Taylor and Jackson Warne found out the hard way. But you don’t need to attempt a SAS Australia ‘cat crawl’ challenge in order to create a little more for yourself. Psychologist Briony Leo shares two pain-free practices to foster resilience, civilian style. 

Audiences witnessed tremendous acts of resilience last night on Seven’s new reality show SAS Australia, in which star recruits such as son of Aussie cricket legend Shane Warne, Jackson Warne, and rally champion Molly Taylor endured several ‘tests of resilience’.

The recruits had to simulate a battlefield rescue on a beach, ‘suffer through a relentless surf immersion drill’, but perhaps most notably – perform a horrifying ‘cat crawl’ along a rope strung 15 metres across a steep ravine – above an unforgiving ocean below.

To make the cat crawl test all the more terrifying (like it wasn’t already enough?!), recruits had to stop half way, hang on the rope by only their arms, then someone muster up the courage to hoist themselves back up, and recommence their crawl to the other side.

Only six contestants were able to complete the frightening cat crawl, with Taylor and Warne emerging as standouts for their incredible displays of resilience.

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Making SAS history

Taylor made SAS history as last night’s episode saw her become the first woman in the world to successfully complete the treacherous crawl across the chasm. Although, undoubtedly apprehensive of the dangerous feat ahead of her, she as well as fellow recruit Warne, powered on with incredibly admirable perseverance.

When asked why he would participate in such a gruelling experience that is SAS Australia, 21 year old Warne replied: “To test myself… and I want him [Shane] to be really proud of me, by pushing myself to the absolute limit physically and mentally.”

Resilience to the test

SAS Australia is arguably proving to be a BIG test of resilience for its (celebrity) contestants. But it is also probably equally helping them to further their resilience and grit – invaluable tools for anyone in life!

Shayna Jack, suspended swim star was the sixth star recruit to quit the course, reaching a breaking point. “Every day for the past year has been a living nightmare but I am someone who will speak up when it’s not right. I’m not going to sit back and let people try and accuse me of something I didn’t do. I won’t stop fighting. I will clear my name. That’s all that matters to me.”

The DS summoned former Bachelorette star Ali Oetjen in for questioning, after noticing she had been rather preoccupied that day. She opened up about her recent breakup with Taite Radley, relaying through tears, “I met an amazing man and we spent two amazing years together but he didn’t want the same things… I still think he’s my soulmate but our timelines are different.”

How to develop resilience in everyday life

Resilience is something that isn’t developed overnight. Psychologist Briony Leo says that resilience “doesn’t mean being happy or positive all the time, but rather being able to get up once life has knocked us around.”

Leo suggests a growth mindset might be a useful method of cultivating resilience: “When we take a growth mindset, we can look at setbacks and challenges as learning experiences…. big part of resilience is the ability to recognise that we are in charge of our own happiness and reactions to things – so the more we can make sure we are focusing on learning, rather than blaming, the better we will fare.”

Radical acceptance is another practice that is helpful for resilience development: “If we can practice radical acceptance, it means we can put aside all of our wondering ‘why’ and ‘how did this happen to me?’, and instead focus all of our energy on figuring out how to deal with it. Radical acceptance encourages us to be resilient because it focuses all of our attention on what we can do in a situation – and gives us a clear direction to head in.”

However, Leo also reminds us that it is also important to sometimes allow yourself time to acknowledge and process losses, without feeling like you should be getting back out there straight away.

“When thinking about resilience, it is also good to remember that, the more losses we’ve experienced, the harder it is to be resilient and flexible… it is also okay to take some time to process losses or change before trying to bounce back!”

Briony Leo is a Melbourne psychologist who works with couples, individuals and addictions. She is interested in helping people have good relationships and improve their wellbeing through better understanding of psychology, as well as ongoing behavioural changes.