Resilience is theability an object has to return to its original form afterbeing bent, stretched, or compressed. That is the dictionary’s definition. Inpeople, it is the ability to readily recover from illness, depression, oradversity.
In our lives, resilience specifically means being able to withstand setbacks,broken hearts and broken dreams, financial crisis, loss of loved ones, loss ofenterprise, and loss of health. How would you ever handle it if you losteverything you had today? What would your next step be? How long wouldyou be depressed and upset and angry? What would it take for you to pullyourself up and start all over again? How resilient are you? Could youhandle it? Could you learn from all of your disappointments and start allover again? What would it take?
Number one, it would take a lot of self-discipline. It would take a lot ofpositive self-talk to muster up the energy to begin again. It would take a lotof concentration to block out the noise and the clutter of all the negativevoices trying to get through—your negative voices as well as the negativevoices of others around you. It would take a lot of discipline to balance thefear and anxiety with the knowledge that, if you did it once, you can do itall over again.
It would also take a lot of self-reliance. Whether or not your losses hadanything to do with you, your future success has everythingto do with you.
It would take a lot of self-reliance to avoid the entanglements of blame.What is happened has happened. You would need to get on with your lifeand begin again.
It would take a lot of faith. It would take a lot of faith and trust in God tomove ahead.
If you lost everything tomorrow, and you were gathering all the courage totry again, it would take a lot of self-appreciation. You need to know in yourheart and mind that you have the skills, the talent, and the strength to do itone more time.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity, no matter how largeor how small. Say you lose one of your biggest clients. This client accountsfor over twenty-five percent of your gross revenues. Losing this client isgoing to hurt, financially and emotionally. The first thing you need to do isfigure out why you lost this business. What role did you play? In what wayare you responsible? You cannot just rant and rave, yelling and screaming ateveryone in the office. Even if it was the wrongdoing of someone else, youcannot behave like this because it is not professional. You will lose the respectof your coworkers. And respect is hard to regain once you have lost it,whether it is the respect of trusted colleagues or your valuable supportpeople. You have to approach the situation rationally and figure out how tobounce back from your loss.
You have to evaluate the situation and then begin a plan to recapture the lostbusiness. Consider how you can increase your market share with otherbusinesses. Maybe you can network with associates to bring in a similarclient or a larger one. You cannot sit back and dwell on what is happened.
You have got to get back into the marketplace and recapture what is beentaken from you.
Perhaps your loss is a personal loss. Maybe you have recently been faced withthe death of a loved one, a divorce, or the loss of a very special friendship.
If your loss is a deeply personal one, you should approach the situation alittle differently. You must be patient with yourself and give yourself time togrieve, mourn, and regroup.
The stages we go through in loss, be it death of a loved one, death of arelationship, or death of an enterprise, are beautifully defined in ElizabethKubler-Ross’ book “On Death and Dying.”Whether the death is a literal oneor a figurative one, the stages are the same: denial, anger, bargaining,depression, and acceptance. And only by going through these stages andreaching acceptance can we rebound and begin again.
It is said that children are more resilient than adults. Why? Maybe it isbecause they donot evaluate their current situation based on pastexperiences. They approach losses in a fresh, new way each time. In theirminds, they deal with loss much better than adults. “Children come to us more highly evolved than adults to teach us the lessons we need to learn.”
Children who grow up in the unfortunate circumstances of poverty, abuse,or neglect and later become successful are known as “dandelion children.”Ifthey can succeed and prosper amidst terrible conditions, they can growanywhere. It is important to be more like a dandelion child, to be able togrow and prosper and succeed despite our current conditions and losses; to be resilient.
Cultivating a resilient character turns what others would call failure intosuccess. A resilient person will not give up. A resilient person will, in spite ofall obstacles and set-backs, keep doing it until everything is back on track.
In their book “The Resilient Self,”Steven and Sybil Wolin have studiedresilience and have found seven key characteristics that comprise it.
Number one: resilience requires insight. You need to develop the ability toask yourself tough questions and be honest with your answers. If you hadsomething to do with your loss, be honest and accept responsibility for it.
Number two: resilience is independent. As a resilient person, you can counton yourself to bounce back into life.
Number three: although resilience is independent, it is also tied to others.The more people you are responsible for, the greater your motivation tobegin again.
Number four: resilience calls for initiative. You need to develop the abilityto take charge of the situation or problem. You need to stand up and dowhatever is necessary to recover.
Number five: resilience has an element of creativity. With resilience, youare able to look at a situation and creatively determine the best way out.You are starting over with an enterprising approach.
Number six: a resilient person has humor. You may cry until you startlaughing, but a sense of humor is important when turning your life around.
You have got to take your goals seriously, and you have got to take yourselfseriously, but you have also got to be able to laugh at yourself and yoursituation at times. Somebody may say, “You will look back on this and laughsomeday.” Well, maybe today is the day to start.
Number seven: a resilient person has a strong sense of morality. Whateveryou do to get back on your feet, whatever you do to bounce back into life,make sure it is moral. Make sure that your upcoming success is at theservice of others, not at the expense of others. Success, if it is yours to keep,must be at the service of others.
The more obstacles you face and overcome, the more times you falter andget back on track, the more difficulties you struggle with and conquer; themore resiliency you will naturally develop. There is nothing that can holdyou back if you are resilient;believing what George Bernard said, “The people who get on the world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they cannot find them, make them.”
BY CAPTAIN SAM ADDAIH RTD