Your inner strength. Your ability to bounce back quickly. Your resolve. These are some definitions that come to mind when thinking of “resilience”. So why is resilience particularly important to develop? Well, simply put: A good dose of resilience will not only help you overcome challenging moments in your life, but it will also help turn these adversities into advantages. This is achieved through the specific mind-set and focus that resilient people tend to adopt.
While each of us have some level of resilience, some people, it seems, have more than others. In other words; some people are simply more resilient than other people. However, what's important to keep in mind is that no matter what your level of resilience is, you have the ability to learn and become more resilient. With this article I will explore some of the traits and characteristics that unite resilient individuals according to research.
A leading psychologist, Susan Kobasa, maintained that there are three elements that are essential to resilience:
Challenge – When it comes to experiencing difficult moments, resilient people view such moments as a “challenge” rather than as a “paralyzing event”. Furthermore and even more crucially, they view their own failures and mistakes as lessons to be learned from and as opportunities for growth, rather than viewing such mistakes as a negative reflection on their own abilities or self-worth.
Commitment – This is a predominant feature of resilient people – commitment: Resilient people tend to be not only committed to their goals, but they commit to their friendships, relationships, causes that they care about, their religious and spiritual beliefs and so on. In other words, they are committed to their lives as a whole, and this gives them a compelling reason to get out of bed in the morning.
Personal Control – Resilient people use their time and energy focusing on things and events that they have control over. Through this tendency of putting in their best efforts where they can have the most impact, they feel empowered and confident. This is what is referred to in psychology as having an “internal locus of control” By way of contrast; those who spend their time worrying about uncontrollable events can often feel lost, helpless, and powerless to take action. This way of being is referred to as having an “external locus of control”.
Several further characteristics that appear common in resilient people were identified by Dr Crow, who is the Programme Director of the Centre for Learning Connections. Some of these included:
We will face adversity in life. This is a given. It stands to reason then that how we view these adversities will strongly affect how and how often we will succeed. This is why it is of utmost importance to cultivate a resilient mind-set. By doing so we can enjoy the fruits that having such a mind-set will ultimately bear.