You’ve read the inspirational stories where an average person successfully bounces back from great adversity.
Stephen King, for example, whose first book Carrie was rejected 30 times and he eventually threw it in the trash. His wife rescued it from the trash and convinced him to try again. It finally got published and he has since sold more than 350 million copies of his books.
I always wonder if those people possess some secret to getting up and starting over again? Why is it some seem to bounce back from any sort of adversity and others do not?
Resilience is important.
Resilience is usually thought of as a character trait that determines whether someone is able to dust himself off and get back into the game of life.
But developmental psychologists view resilience as a process, and not a trait of an individual.
Research now shows that resilience comes as the result of people being able to interact with their environments, as well as the processes that either promote well-being or protect them against the overwhelming influence of risk factors.
It is the opportunity and capacity of people to navigate their way to psychological, social, cultural, and physical resources that may sustain their well-being. And it is their opportunity and capacity individually and collectively to negotiate for these resources to be provided and experienced in culturally meaningful ways.
Nevertheless, people that are very resilient do have some unique traits.
Researchers have shown that Resilient people are:
1. Optimistic about the future. Current challenges are viewed as temporary. There is a real expectation that things will improve in the near future. Only when you’re lucky will you get more than you expect, so it’s wise to expect more of what you want!
2. Accepting of bad times. They realize that bad things are bound to happen. They accept it with a minimal amount of emotional fuss. Consider that getting upset has never been a genuine solution for any problem.
3. Aware of their strengths. They have faith in themselves and believe they can be successful with their knowledge and abilities. Remember that it’s difficult to take action when you expect to fail.
4. Focused on what they can change. They don’t worry about the things that are out of their influence or control. They focus on changing the things that can be changed.
5. Active. Resilient people don’t wait for someone else to come and save them. They take action and do everything they can to help themselves.
6. Forward-looking and understand that you must sometimes take risks. Those with a high-degree of resiliency look at the possibilities and are willing to take on a reasonable degree of risk to create an even better future.
Do you have these traits?
Are you willing to do something to improve your resiliency?
It has been suggested that the ability to respond strongly in the face of adversity has a genetic component. Some people are simply born with a greater capacity to deal with challenging times than others.
However, we all have some capacity for rising to deal with adversity. For example, at some point, you’ve probably misplaced your keys in the morning.
You probably didn’t instantly say to yourself, “Well the day is lost. I’m going back to bed.”
You decided to look for your keys and continued looking until you found them.
Four Strategies for strengthening your resilience:
1. Force yourself to focus on the positives. Think about all the things you have in your favor. Things are better than you think. Focusing on your shortcomings is a good way to stop yourself dead in your tracks.
2. Think about the most resilient people you know. How would they handle your challenging situation? What can you learn from them?
3. Focus on solutions. Think about how you can solve your dilemma. Avoid wallowing over the dilemma itself.
4. Call on friends and family for support. Everything seems easier with a little help and support. Make new friends when you have the opportunity. The stronger your network, the easier your life will be.
Adversity is a fact of life. But you can choose how you’re going to handle that adversity.
Just because you’ve struggled to overcome obstacles in the past doesn’t mean that pattern must continue.
Develop your resilience to the highest possible level.
Be too strong to worry and focus on solutions and the exciting future that awaits you.
photo: Tobyotter, Creative Commons License