“… more than education, experience, or training, an individual’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails.” (Harvard Business Review, 2002)
What is resilience?
Resilience is not a trait that people either have or don’t have. It involves behaviours, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed. It is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress, such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. In other words, resilience determines how quickly we get back to our steady state after the air has been knocked out of us, when we must push through circumstances that challenge our very being.
How to develop resilience
A combination of factors contributes to having resilience. Many studies show that the primary factor in resilience is having caring and supportive relationships within and without the family. Relationships that create love and trust provide role models and offer encouragement and reassurance that help to bolster resilience.
There are also three core psychological attributes at the heart of resilience: strength, meaning or purpose and pleasure. With strength, we know we can survive. With meaning or purpose, we know there is a reason for us to live another day. With pleasure, we know that we have been given the ability to enjoy life. If you possess these traits, you have the core components needed to build resilience. You feel equipped to handle both daily life and those challenging moments when you have to dig deeper. You also believe that you’re contributing to the world in a way that helps others, consistent with what seems most important to you.
Additional factors associated with resilience include:
- The capacity to make realistic plans and take steps to carry them out
- A positive view of yourself and confidence in your strengths and abilities
- Skills in communication and problem solving
- The capacity to manage strong feelings and impulses.
Dr Galen Buckwalter, Director of Research, Headington Institute. November, 2011