Students out of touch with resourcefulness?

In the article, “’Resourceful,’ one of the highest adjectives of praise,” the topic of resourcefulness is the center of focus. The author, Les Potter, believes that resourcefulness is a skill that is highly useful, yet newly neglected. He emphasizes the importance of resourcefulness in crisis situations, and how it is vital to function with what you have and make do.

Before reading this blog, when I thought of the term resourcefulness I thought of having many outlets of support and having the things you need to succeed and using those to your advantage. I envisioned technology at its finest, building connections and enabling communication. Potter defines resourcefulness very differently than how I thought of it, and instead believes that it is taking a situation with limited options and succeeding despite harsh circumstances. According to dictionary.com, resourcefulness is defined as “able to deal skillfully and promptly with new situations, difficulties, etc.”

In the beginning of this blog, Potter talks deeply about his grandmother who lived in a simple farm house while growing up. He talks highly of her ability to thrive even in such different conditions than we experience today. Though we now have several options in regards to all things PR, resourcefulness comes in handy when all else fails. Circumstances are going to occur at some point in each and every one of our lives where technology will not help us. Technology only goes so far.  What happens when we are faced with those situations when resourcefulness as defined by Potter is necessary? Are those the times when you sink or swim?

Potter also talks about children’s instinctual ability to be resourceful. Children naturally think of creative ways to play and transform their surroundings into things that are beneficial to them, even if it is just in the form of a toy or entertainment. Maybe triggering our inner kid is something that can be of an asset to us in the public relations field. After all, some of the best public relations campaigns originate from creative ideas, and if your client has limited funds using Potter’s version of resourcefulness may become necessary. Sometimes looking at things from a simpler point of view allows your mind to think of things that you might overlook when things get too complicated.

I think something can be learned from the elderly and the “old people” we all know and love, like Potter’s grandmother. Although they might not be tech- savvy and in the know about the latest developments, they do have something all us young pups don’t- a lifetime of wisdom, and countless obstacles overcome by resourcefulness. Just like Potter’s grandmother said, “I might wear out, but I won’t rust out.”

So, when you think of resourcefulness what comes to mind? Is it the modern day definition of e-mails, fax machines, and the ability to obtain the information you need or is it Potter’s view of working with what you have and excelling when there is not much to work with?

I must admit, that I believed in the modern approach, but now I believe it is not necessarily one or the other, but rather a combination of the two.

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10 Responses to Students out of touch with resourcefulness?

  1. Les Potter says:

    I am happy you found merit in my thoughts on resourcefulness. Given your writing about it, I am sure you have all the resourcefulness you will need to be successful.

    If I can ever help you, just write.

    Les Potter

    • mkuhl says:

      Mr. Potter,

      Thank you for reading my blog! I was very pleasantly surprised that you took the time to read and comment on my blog, and thank you for your kind words. You are an excellent writer and pick very interesting topics. Keep the good blogs coming!

      Miranda Kuhl

  2. bgansar says:

    When you first mentioned resourcefulness all I could think about were the different resources which we have the availability to access and use for campaigns or problems. I never really thought about myself as being someone with much resourcefulness, but in truth that is exactly what PR professionals are. The reason the journalism school makes us take the same classes as print and broadcasting students is so that we have more resourcefulness- we broaden our horizons, we can think outside of our box and see more than the average joe. We are taught to find new ways of developing campaigns, solving problems and going about our work. It’s such a great word, now if only we could just put “resourcefulness” on our resumes.

    • mkuhl says:

      Bjohnson,

      I agree that PR professionals must be extremely resourceful within their jobs. Otherwise, I think they are only setting themselves up for disaster and to be lagging behind those that are well acquainted with the skill. And as annoying as taking all of the traditional journalism classes are, when we are PR students and not print journalism students, you are right- it is only giving us a more diverse education and setting us up to practice good use of resourcefulness.

      Miranda

  3. bjohnson says:

    When I think of resourcefulness I think of creativity and pre-planned ‘plan B’s.’ I definitely agree that to be resourceful is a vital part of the public relations industry.

    Crisis communication in and of itself requires the skill but I would argue that any type of communications requires adaptability. I know that as I have experienced different internship opportunities I have had to not only be ready for the tasks of the day but I had to be prepared in order to take care of any issues that would arise in between my set plans.

    I think resourcefulness means having the knowledge to be creative and find solutions to problems. If more people could solve problems then the world would be a lot better off. I think this could categorize resourcefulness as a basic tool and unlike the trend you mentioned, something we should NOT be overlooking.

    • mkuhl says:

      Bgansar,

      Being able to think outside of the box and coming up with creative new ideas is definitely a huge part of public relations. I don’t know about you, but I love that aspect of PR. I have always been a creative individual myself, and I know that I would not thrive in a field that didn’t allow me to express my creativity. Being resourceful means being able to overcome obstacles when they are not going as planned, and creativity has a lot to do with it.

      Miranda

  4. kinoshita says:

    When I think of resourceful I think of being able to use what you have around you, and if you don’t have it then you make it. Okay, so maybe the second part isn’t always going to happen but many times that’s what is expected of us PR peeps.

    The perfect illustration of this is in the movie Apollo 13. Remember when the guys at NASA had to figure out how to save the astronauts in outer space with nothing but a box full of junk? Yeah, that’s resourcefulness.

    Resourcefulness is never thinking you can’t or it’s impossible but figuring out a way to do the impossible.
    In today’s society it is easier to be resourceful because there are so many resources thanks to technology: e-mail, faxes, smart phones, search-engines. To sum it all up in one word the Internet.

    At the same time, this vast sea of resources can suppress our resourcefulness because we’ve come to rely so heavily on the speed and ease of the Internet. Whenever we have to go that extra mile sometimes we would rather just wait it out or claim it can’t be done.

    Resourcefulness is mind over matter.

    • mkuhl says:

      Kinoshita,

      I definitely agree, and I think the way you worded your response was very helpful. You might’ve worded it better than I did! I remember when Apollo 13 came out, and you’re right. That is a great example of resourcefulness. When technology fails, that’s when a lot of people give up and say “well there were technical difficulties…” and leave it at that. Resourcefulness is not giving up, even if that means dealing with less than you’re accustomed to.

  5. wwillis says:

    Great post! I think it’s important for us to remember that our lives should not completely center around the computer/Internet. I feel that especially as PR students we tend to spend a good chunk of our time online and not out and about participating in actual conversations and building relationships. While the computer is a great tool for us to utilize, what do we go to when it fails? I remember one day at work our Internet stopped working, and so did the entire office. We didn’t know how to complete our work without it!

    • mkuhl says:

      WWillis,

      Yes, sometimes it is quite comical how people react when taking away their resources, such as their phone/internet, etc. I know I feel lost without my phone. Because I can easily laugh at myself, later on I was quite amused at my attachment to my Blackberry, though at the time I was incredibly frustrated. Often times, these are the moments when resourcefulness can be used in a different way with al the same effectiveness.

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