The Extraordinary Power of Resilience
Our ability to bounce back from disappointments is perhaps one of the most important skills we can posses if we are to achieve our goals and become all that we a capable of becoming. Our outlook on life and how we react to our circumstances is also a key driver that can determine whether our efforts end in success or failure.
Here are three excellent resources from experts on the topic.
The first is a book by Paul Stoltz, Ph.D. called Adversity Quotient-Turning Obstacles into Opportunities.
The second resource is a pamphlet called Hard Optimism-Developing Deep Strengths for Managing Uncertainty, Opportunity, Adversity, and Change by Price Pritchett, Ph.D.
And the third is the book, Learned Optimism-How to Change Your Mind and Your Life by Martin Seligman.
Resilience, according to Webster is, "The ability to recover rapidly from illness, change, or misfortune: Buoyancy. I think you'll agree with me that we could also say that resilience is the ability to recover rapidly from any stress situation.
People who are resilient have the best chances of succeeding in life, by staying positive and focused on achieving their goals, and fulfilling their dreams and aspirations. Being resilient is one of the most important emotional intelligence competencies you can posses in today's fast-paced world.
Resilient people tend to be optimists. Here's a quote from page 4 of Pritchett's pamphlet, Hard Optimism.
"Optimism vs. Pessimism: The Payoff"
"Why is optimism so valuable?"
Compare that to the price tag that pessimism carries. A negative frame of mind saps your energy, as well as the energy of people around you. It weakens your confidence. It hurts your creativity and problem-solving skills. You end up focusing on obstacles, and that interferes with your ability to spot opportunities. Finally, pessimism drains the joy out of life, leaving you emotionally spent and less effective in dealing with others."
According to Paul G. Stoltz, PhD, "success can be defined as the degree to which one moves forward and upward [much like a mountain climber], progressing in one's lifelong mission, despite all obstacles or other forms of adversity." We each react differently in how we perceive and deal with adversity.
Success people have a profound urge to strive, to make progress, and to achieve their goals and fulfill their dreams. Unfortunately, most people aim at nothing, yet hit it with amazing accuracy. Goal Clarity is one of the most important traits that successful and resilient people possess. More about that later.
I like to share an analogy that Paul Stolz uses in his book. He says that life is like climbing a mountain and that fulfillment is achieved by the relentless dedication to the ascent. He says that there are three types of people, quitters, campers, and climbers.
Abandon the climb
Refuse the opportunity the mountain presents
Are often bitter, depressed and emotionally numb
Go only so far and say: "This is as far as I can or want to go."
Weary of the climb, they terminate their Ascent and find a smooth, comfortable plateau on which to hide from adversity.
Campers learn to pick satisfaction at the expense of fulfillment.
Climbers are dedicated to the lifelong Ascent.
Regardless of background, advantages or disadvantages, misfortune or good fortune, they continue the Ascent.
Climbers are possibility thinkers. They never allow any obstacle to get in the way of their Ascent.
Of the three types of people, only Climbers live fully.
Climbers feel a deep sense of purpose and passion for what they do.
They know how to experience joy, recognizing it as a gift and reward for the climb.
Knowing that the peak may be elusive, Climbers never forget the power of the journey over the destination.
Climbers have strong faith in something bigger than themselves.
This faith buoys them when the mountain is overwhelming and intimidation, and any hope of advancing is fiercely challenged.
Climbers are human; they sometimes get weary of the climb. Sometimes they hang out with Campers. The difference is that the Climbers are there to rejuvenate, refuel, reenergize for the climb ahead, while the Campers are there to stay.
To Climbers, the campground is a base camp; to Campers, it is home.
Climbers embrace challenges and live with a sense of urgency.
We all don't have to climb treacherous peaks, however, in my opinion, always moving forward and striving toward goals big and small, is one of the keys to success and living a resilient life.
Here are some attributes that resilient people possess. I hope that one or more of them will inspire you to create a plan of action that you can begin to implement immediately.
People who are most resilient:
Have a deep sense of purpose and passion for what they do and find meaning as well as purpose in their struggles - Here's where that crystal clear goal clarity comes in to play
Have strong faith in something bigger than themselves - This can include being part of team, group, association, or organization that has a strong Vision and Mission that resonates with them.
Can self-reflect and gain wisdom from their experiences and know who they are without exaggeration or fantasy - I often suggest that people develop the capacity to relive their successes in life and not their failures or shortcomings.
Keep reserves of energy built up with regular periods of rest, reflection, and renewal.
Have people they can depend upon and who know and love them as they are.
Build their day around rewarding and high pay-off activities - I'm a huge believer in time blocking. Continually ask yourself the question, "what is the highest and best use of my time right now, if I'm to achieve my goals."
Use their peak time effectively and attack high priority items at the time of day they are most mentally sharp and alert - We each have our own body-clock. Learn to use yours to your advantage.
Know their feelings, label them correctly and express them routinely to others.
Are emotionally and physically flexible enough to recover from disappointment and fatigue. They select new paths to follow; even if that means temporarily moving backward or sideways to eventually move forward again to continue their pursuits.
Know when they need help and don't hesitate to get it.
I'd like to close with a quote by Mihalyi Csikszentmihaly. He was the r recipient of the 2000 Thinker of the Year Award. He said, "Of all the virtues we can learn, no trait is more useful, more essential for survival and more likely to improve the quality of life than the ability to transform adversity into an enjoyable challenge."
Good luck to you on your journey to success