I recently recalled a conversation with my best friend at age 13. We asked each other over and over, why many of our peers and family members who experienced hardships (whether related to work, health, relationships…) reacted with resentment, pessimism and a victim mindset.
We observed that a rare few, expected things to work out well, sought ways of problem-solving that would benefit everyone and became stronger, expanded versions of themselves through adversity.
My friend and I were intrinsically motivated to learn from our greatest challenges and help others to do the same. But we didn’t understand what it was, that granted us this motivation or perspective.
Resilience is a capacity. It’s the mindset, attitudes and behavior that empower a person to tolerate ongoing change and stress without collapsing into dysfunctional behavior or limiting beliefs.
Resilience is an inside job. Resilient people and organizations navigate from an “internal locus of control”. They know that, although they may not be able to control external circumstances or events, they are ultimately, 100% responsible for how they respond to them. Resilient people learn valuable lessons through life’s challenges, resulting in the capacity to evolve to their next greatest level of excellence.
Can Resilience Be Learned? The great news is that both neuroscience and resiliency psychology confirm that we are all innately wired to be resilient and change proficient! Because we are each unique, the combination of factors that fortify our mental, physical and emotional wellness will be somewhat of a customized recipe. Our capacity to effectively problem solve, our sense of personal value, our motivation to learn new things, and our capacity to adapt and transform through challenge may be discovered through any combination of practices, strategies and experiences.
Learning from resiliency experts or observing resilient role models are two great places to begin. The most powerful teacher of resilience, is, however, the learning available to us through the living experience of trial and error, risk, loss and reward.
Although discovering the specific combination of tools hat fuel your personal or organizational resiliency may require some experimentation, there are many, evidence based strategies to choose from.
In his best self help award winning book “The Resiliency Advantage, Master Change, Thrive under Pressure, and Bounce Back from Setbacks”, the late Al Siebert PhD reveals the 5 levels of resilience for leading and living.