By Mandy Shellshear
We all know that not everything in life goes to plan. Even when we think we have finally got back on top of things, life throws you another curve ball. However, we aren’t alone in this feeling. The recent pandemic has put most people in a situation that they have never dealt or planned for before. It’s when we are thrown into these situations, we can determine our resilience and how we bounce back.
To see resilience at its best, we look at our inventors and designers of the past. Thomas Edison was said to have made thousands of prototypes of the incandescent light bulb before he got it right! Following this, Edison was awarded more than 1,000 patents, so it easy to imagine he regularly failed while making his ideas come to life.
Despite the consistent failures, Edison never let it get the best of him. All these thousands of
“failures” simply showed him to look at things in a different way. His resilience gave the world some of the most innovative inventions of the early 20th century, such as the Alkaline Battery, Motion Pictures, telegraph and the phonograph! And where would we be today without these inventions?
Things like this can make us take a look at our lives.
We ask ourselves “do I have the resilience to overcome challenges?” Or do we let our failures and difficult situations derail our dreams?
Resilience is our ability to adapt and bounce back when things don’t go to plan. Resilient people
don’t dwell or wallow on the bad times, they acknowledge the difficult situation, learn from their
mistakes and move forward. But this can look different for everyone. There isn’t a one size fits all approach to ensure you are able to bend and grow.
Research by leading psychologist Susan Kobasa shows that there are three elements that are an
essential part to resilience:
1. Challenge - Resilient people view a difficult situation as a challenge, not a roadblock. They
look at mistakes and failures as an ability to learn and an opportunity to grow! They don’t
view them as a negative reflection on their own self-worth or abilities.
2. Commitment – Resilient people are committed to all aspects of their lives and goals, and the
strive to meet them gets them out of bed in the morning. Commitment doesn’t have to be
just restricted to work, but their relationships, friendships, causes or their spiritual beliefs.
3. Control – Resilient people focus their time and energy on situation that they have personal
control over. Because they put their efforts on things they have the ability to affect, they feel
empowered and confident. People who spend their time concerned and worried about
events they have no control over tend to feel lost, helpless and powerless.
The fact of the matter is that we are all going to fail or be put in that difficult situation from time to time. It’s an inevitable part of being a human that we will make a mistake and fall flat on our faces. The only way to avoid this is to live a sheltered life away from others without trying anything new or taking a risk. This is not something most of us can do!
Instead we should have the courage to chase our dreams, even knowing that there is a risk we might fail in some way to reach it. By building our resilience, it means that when we do fail, we can bounce back and have the strength to learn from them and move on to bigger and better things.
The good news is that even if we aren’t a naturally resilient person, we can learn to develop a
resilient mindset and attitude. Try making a few of the following adjustments to your lifestyle and
way of thinking:
- Ensure you get enough sleep and exercise. Taking care of your mind and body helps you to
cope more effectively with changes or challenges in your life.
- Practice Thought Awareness. Don’t let negative thoughts derail your efforts! Instead try to
consistently practice positive thinking. Listen to how you talk to yourself when something
goes wrong. Instead of thinking “I’m no good at anything”, adjust your thinking to “I’m not
very good at this activity, but I can learn how to do it better”.
- Learn from your mistakes and failures. Always think of these as an ability to learn! Every
situation has the teach you something important, so keep searching until you find it.
- Choose how you respond. Remember we all have bad days and can go through a shared
crisis. But only you have the choice as to how you respond to it. Do you choose to react
negatively or panic? Or do you choose to remain calm and logical?
- Maintain Perspective. Understanding that while a situation or crisis may seem quite
overwhelming in the moment, it may not make a huge impact in the long term. Taking a step
back and reviewing the situation may help to not prematurely blow it out of proportion.
- Set SMART goal. Whether that is for work, fitness or personal life. Seeing and achieving
goals that match your values allows you to grow and learn from your experiences in a
- Build Self Confidence. Resilient people are confident that they will succeed eventually,
despite the setback they may face to reach the goal. It is the belief in yourself that enables
you to take the risks, and have the strength to keep moving no matter how big or small the
steps forward are.
- Develop strong relationships. In work and personal life! People who have strong
relationships with work colleagues are more resistant to stress and are happier in their roles.
Our personal life is no different. The more real friendships you develop, the more resilient
we can be. The use of these relationships as a strong support network allows us to share the
hardships and grow together.
- Be Flexible! Understand that even the best made plans may change. We may need to
occasionally amend or scrap those we made on the fly to keep going forward.
Which of these could help you start bouncing back quicker today, this week or next month?
Putting these skills into practice now, and training them like we could during exercise, serves us to build these new habits into automatic thoughts and routine.
- Become your own Supreme Minority -