Resilience: Definition, Examples and How You Can Develop It today!

resilience definition article

Key Takeaways

  • Resilience is using an assortment of skills to bounce back from adversity. It is the ability to cope with stressful situations in healthy ways.
  • Resilience is essential for mental health and well-being. It is something that anybody can learn. While some people are born with a higher level of resilience, it is a skill that can be developed.
  • Being able to demonstrate resilience does not imply that you have not experienced difficulty or distress.

In 2008, Femi Otedola, a businessman, had two choices: “commit suicide or weather the storm…” 

After an avalanche of failures hit his oil firm, Otedola was heavily in debt to the tune of $1.2 billion. “I decided to weather the storm. I just knew it was a phase I had to go through. You see, God prepares you for greater things and of course, experience is the best teacher, so I had to learn my lessons. I took the bitter pill”. Otedola tells Forbes Africa.

By 2014, Otedola had recovered from his financial problem and regained his former position on Forbes’ list of the world’s wealthiest people, with a net worth of $1.8 billion.

In the face of adversity, Otedola’s narrative illustrates resilience. Everyone can change, improve, and grow in a variety of areas of their lives. They do so by combining a number of skills to help them get through a difficult period.

In life, there are many ups and downs. As a result, we may lose sight of how much power we have over our own lives and surroundings. When you’re going through a challenging situation, you don’t have to let the number of defeats or troubles you’ve had dominate your life.

You, like Otedola, can develop the skills to increase your resiliency.

What Is Resilience?

According to Psychology Today, “Resilience is the psychological quality that allows some people to be knocked down by the adversities of life and come back at least as strong as before. Rather than letting difficulties, traumatic events, or failure overcome them and drain their resolve, highly resilient people find a way to change course, emotionally heal, and continue moving toward their goals.”

Resilience, according to American Psychological Association (APA), is the ability to adapt well in the face of adversity, suffering, tragedy, threats, or extreme sources of stress, such as family and marital problems, serious health problems, or career and financial challenges.

As much as resilience entails bouncing back from adversity, it can also foster significant personal development.

Gary P. Pisano in a Harvard Business Review essay titled “The Hard Truth About Innovative Cultures” wrote that the founders of innovative companies like Google and Apple had experienced setbacks. And it was via these failures that they gained valuable learning experiences, which is what sets them apart as innovative businesses.

If they hadn’t approached failure positively and learned from it, they might have been devastated, and their successes as founders of innovative businesses might not have been attained.

Why is Resilience Important?

Life and business are a never-ending series of difficulties and challenges. Individuals, organizations, and communities are constantly confronted with difficulties. Nobody is immune. The reason why you must develop a thick skin to navigate your way out of turbulent times.

When confronted with adversity, a resilient person can control their emotions. They adopt an optimistic outlook because they have their eyes on their goals. A resilient person begins by confronting their feelings about the situation and keeping any disappointment, frustration, or anger at bay.

People’s emotional strength to cope with trauma, adversity, and hardship is derived from resilience. Resilient people use their resources, strengths, and skills to overcome obstacles and move forward.

People who lack resilience are more prone to feel stressed out or powerless, and they are more likely to use unhealthy coping mechanisms like avoidance, isolation, and self-medication to cope. People who attempted suicide had much lower resilience ranking scores than individuals who had never attempted suicide, according to one study.

Characteristics of People Who Have Resilience 

The following traits are noticeable in resilient people.

  • They possess a reasonable sense of control over their decisions.
  • Be aware that the limitations of such control are essential.
  • They don’t see change as a setback or problem but as an opportunity.
  • Maintain strong bonds with others and be able to enlist their help.
  • They have goals.
  • Their positive effect tolerance is high.
  • The future looks bright.

Examples Of Resilience

Resilience does not preclude a person from experiencing difficulties or distress. Rather, it enables them to accept, adapt, and move on from a situation. Stress, setbacks, and difficult emotions are all experienced by resilient people, but they draw on their strengths and seek assistance from support systems to overcome them.

Look at these examples put forward by Tchiki Davis P.hD, a wellbeing expert.

  • Eduardo recently discovered that his fiancée had cheated on him, and he has decided to call it quits. He is naturally unhappy, but he practices self-love by telling himself that he deserves more and by making sense of the circumstance. He tells himself that he needed to go through this to better comprehend true love in the future.
  • Shanea is terminated from her position. She is first distraught, and she spends a day to process her feelings and mourn her job loss. She begins reaching out to pals the next day to check if they know of any employment openings.
  • Miley’s coursemates tease her at school. She is afraid, but she resolves to confront them to show to herself that she is capable. They chat about their problems and are better than they’ve ever been.
Resilience isn’t about hiding or avoiding negative feelings these instances demonstrate. It’s about dealing with them with all of your mental, emotional, and behavioral resources, Davis says.

How To Develop Resilience Today!

Professor Nancy Koehn of Harvard Business School opines that “Resilience is not an endowed gift, it’s not a DNA deposit that was made when we were born. There’s no resilience app. It’s a learned capability and it’s very much like a muscle in that we make it stronger by using it.”  The bottom line is that resilience skills can be learned.

Developing resilience skills demands pushing through discomfort, much like a runner fighting through physical tiredness to finish a race. The more challenging conditions you face, the better you will be able to tolerate and adapt.

Resilient people strive for a positive view of life. It could take some time and rigorous self-evaluation to make tiny, steady adjustments in your view on life. You might be able to start this transition on your own. You could also seek the assistance of a counselor or therapist.

The following tips can help you further develop resilience skills.

1. Develop A Strong Sense of Awareness 

Begin by focusing on your current strengths and practicing some of the characteristics of resilient people. Being aware of your emotional reactions to obstacles is an important part of resilience, and it may help you figure out what makes you happy and what makes you miserable. Another part of resilience is being conscious of your weaknesses and working around them.

Practicing self-awareness will encourage you to seek out ways to improve yourself and your stress-management skills.

Also, keep an eye out for negative triggers or anything that can make you sink into despair. Could it be because you’ve spent too much time alone, listening to a certain type of music, staying in a specific place, or being among a specific group of people? Whatever it is, get out of it as soon as possible so you don’t fall into pessimism.

2. Build Social Connections

It is critical to have friends who can offer assistance while you are dealing with a challenge. Discussing your problems might help you gain perspective, find fresh ideas, or simply express your feelings. Resilient people maintain social connections through a network of friends, family, coworkers, and online support groups.

In the middle of challenges, connecting with empathic and understanding people can remind you that you are not alone. Concentrate on locating a trustworthy, and sympathetic person who can validate your feelings, as this can help you develop resilience.

Some people may withdraw themselves as a result of the anguish of traumatic experiences, but it’s critical to accept help and support from those who love you. Whether you schedule a weekly date night with your husband or a lunch date with a friend, making genuine connections with those who care about you is a priority.

You can also find meaningful connections when you join groups such as faith-based communities, civic groups, or other organizations, in addition to one-on-one connections.

3. Take Care of Yourself 

Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating nutritious meals and exercising. Engage in activities that you find pleasurable. For example, watching a film or reading a good book. These activities can momentarily transport you into a realm of hope and possibilities. You may come back from them inspired to conquer the difficulties on your path.

Also, make a list of the things that matter to you and create time to enjoy them. Techniques like deep breathing and guided imagery can also help you relax your mind and body.

4. Create a Sense of Purpose in Your Life

Knowing that your life has a purpose keeps you hopeful and gives you the courage to face any difficulty head-on. Someone once stated that purpose is an antidote to suicide. Purpose also gives your life meaning, enthusiasm, and the determination to persevere till you overcome the difficulty or challenge.

One way to find purpose is to consider how you can use your talents to make a difference in your workplace or community.

To develop a strong sense of purpose, consider creating your own Personal Annual Plan with our free course

5. Adopt An Optimistic Point of View 

Being optimistic is an antidote to triumphing over adversity. Your experience in life is usually determined by how you see things. It matters how you view the circumstance. You’ve probably heard the adage that if you look at a half-filled glass of water and see it as half-empty, you’re adopting a pessimistic attitude. However, if you see it as half full, you are adopting a positive attitude.

You may believe that this comparison has lost its meaning due to overuse, but giving it some consideration will reveal that optimism drives the bravery to face obstacles head-on, whilst pessimism fuels discouragement and prompts sadness.

The way you see the situation can either give you strength or put a stop to any possibility of getting out of it.

One way to fuel optimism is to make new plans to reactivate hope. When things aren’t going your way, it’s difficult to remain optimistic. But you can keep hope alive by expecting wonderful things to happen to you. Maintaining a positive outlook is crucial to helping you thrive in that situation. Rather than focusing on what you’re afraid of, visualize what you want. As you deal with challenging situations, take notice of any small ways in which you begin to feel better.

6. Cultivate a Growth Mindset

A person’s attitude toward growth is described as having a growth mindset.

You can become more resilient by cultivating a growth mindset. It’s the opposite of a “fixed mindset,” in which you believe your intelligence and abilities are inherent and immutable. A growth mindset recognizes that failures and setbacks can teach you new things and that these lessons can help you increase your understanding and abilities. Setbacks and challenges should be viewed as opportunities to grow and learn. Accept and appreciate your imperfections, and try out new ways to learn. Don’t compare yourself to others; we all have different skills and learn in different ways.

To summarize, resilient people have a unique way of thinking. They possess a set of abilities that enable them to strive to overcome adversity. Building resilience takes time, but it will pay off in terms of your health and well-being. As a result, don’t give up.

Regardless of how many times you fail, you can always get back up.

Increasing your resiliency skills will not only help you get through difficult situations, but it will also help you grow as a person and help you to live a longer life.

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