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Post-traumatic growth: Finding meaning and creativity in adversity

"In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning." —Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Photo by Arthur Brognoli from Pixels

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard last year headlined the AANA’s annual RESET conference. We often talk about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but she spoke about another allied phenomenon; Post-traumatic growth – Gillard described it as “thinking about the period you’ve been through and how it has reset your values and expectation in life.”

We had not heard of this theory before, but when we did, we immediately liked it.

Many who experience trauma—such as being diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness, losing a loved one, or experiencing great difficulty —not only show incredible resilience but actually thrive in the aftermath of the traumatic event. Studies show that the majority of trauma survivors do not develop PTSD, and in fact a large number report growth from their experience. Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun coined the term “post traumatic growth” to capture this phenomenon, defining it as the positive psychological change that is experienced as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life circumstances.

Seven areas of growth have been reported to spring from adversity:

  • Greater appreciation of life

  • Greater appreciation and strengthening of close relationships

  • Increased compassion and altruism

  • The identification of new possibilities or a purpose in life

  • Greater awareness and utilization of personal strengths

  • Enhanced spiritual development

  • Creative growth.

2020 was a year where we all had to learn and adapt to a new way of being. And that has challenged individuals in different ways. We all have learnings from the adversity that arrived with 2020.

But life is slowly returning to how it was pre-Covid. People are moving about their cities and suburbs the way they did before we were forced into lockdown. Some of us have integrated the habits we formed during Covid others are very pleased to be back to ‘normal’. The same applies to the DOOH industry. The industry took a beating, but it’s bouncing back, and we have a lot to learn from that.

There are two key changes we identified from Covid that will majorly impact the way the DOOH industry operates in 2021; we aren’t traveling overseas for the foreseeable future and technology has enabled better ways of working, smarter ways of planning and buying media and soon all of that will be accelerated even further with 5G.

As an industry, we have had to prove and demonstrate that OOH spend was reaching and targeting audiences in more efficient ways and that each effort to reach the target audience was measured.

Never before have insights and measurement been so important to planning and proving audiences. Tighter budgets will mean more emphasis on ROI and with that a greater focus on accountability and transparency which DOOH can now deliver through products such as independent verification.

These are just a few of the things that we have learnt in 2020 that we feel will have a place in the OOH future.

We see sharing knowledge and insights as fundamental to rebuilding a strong OOH future. That’s why we’ve created Veridooh Thrive Academy. We wanted to continue cultivating trust and smarter ways of serving clients in 2021 and beyond.

Did you take some time out over the break to assess what really worked and didn’t work for you in 2020? Why not take some time out to sit down and write out your thoughts on what you learnt about yourself during 2020. Here are some thought-starters - Covid changed the way we live, work and play. What will you keep doing? What habits will you drop? Love WFH or miss the water-cooler chat. Write it down, it’s powerful stuff and will pave the road for how you re-imagine your future.


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