Almost 100 years ago, a rogue geologist named Alfred Wegener proposed his theory of continental drift. It didn’t matter that he was right. He was laughed off the stage. And even though he spent the rest of his career proving his theory, he died unknown. But eventually the theory of continental drift was accepted. Talk about resilience. That’s our theme this week and we have five stories of people discovering resilience and how to become resilient. In Wegenerʼs day, people thought character was like the continents, fixed. Either you were a resilient person or you werenʼt. Today we know we can cultivate resilience. We can all become Wegeners.

Producer: Jonah Willihnganz

Featuring: Jessica Talbert, Jordan Raymond, Michelle Powers, Adina Glickman, Michael Zeligs, Jane Reynolds

Release Date: 4 April 2012



Story 1: When I Put On This Suit I Don My True Nature

The narrator of this story of resilience says the country club pool was a place to look hot in your bathing suit. But if you weren’t a 16 year old girl’s definition of hot you had some problems. So what do you do? You don your swimsuit and dive in.

(Note: this story and Story 4 both came to us from True Story, a storytelling event series and podcast)




Story 2: Just a Yes Waiting to Take Shape


It’s rare to seek out rejection. But that’s what happens every day at the Stanford Call Center. It’s a trial by fire if you hate hearing the word no. Who makes it? And who drops out? And just what are you supposed to do when someone answers the phone and tells you they’re having sex?

Featuring: Jessica Talbert, Jordan Raymond, Michelle Powers




Story 3: What Will You Want to Have Gotten From This?

Resilience is in fact getting a lot of attention in academic circles. This is because we’re discovering that it might be one of the most important things to learn. But how do you teach this to students? Especially Stanford students, for whom rejection is about the most alien experience imaginable.

Featuring: Adina Glickman



Story 4: The Storm Rolling Through Me

Sometimes when life is hard, the only thing to do is visit Burning Man. After losing one friend to violence, and with another friend hospitalized with cancer, Michael Zeligs took a trip with his girlfriend to Burning Man. There he found the crying temple.

Featuring: Michael Zeligs



Story 5: A No Every Day

Resilience is often defined by psychologists as the ability to adapt to adversity. In this story, Jane Reynolds, decides that’s a skill she’s lacking. She tries to fix it by experimenting with “rejection therapy”, which requires her to seek out a rejection every single day.

Featuring: Jane Reynolds