Resilience – can you keep going in the face of challenge?

Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, it can also be described as an inner toughness in the face of challenge.

Resilience is another ‘soft’ skill that goes hand in hand with motivation when you are trying to achieve anything in life.  Without the two working together the route to your goal will be long, arduous and probably destined for failure again.

Resilience is not just strength

Most people make the mistake of thinking resilience means being just strong.  When I’ve asked the people, who say they admire my resilience, “that’s lovely but in what way?” they have referred to being made of strong stuff, having a rod of iron running through me, being as strong as steel etc.  However, I’ve always felt this is the wrong way to look at and think about resilience.

To my mind I consider Resilience to be the ability to keep going even in times or conditions of trial and tribulation but to be flexible about it.  You have to accept that you are not going to win every time or there will be a situation where is it best to cut your losses and find a different way.  You will inevitably have a tumble or get stopped in your tracks along the way but if you can get back up, dust yourself off and keep going that is the true meaning of resilience.

(Those who are used to my articles will know that I always love a good simile when I am trying to explain something and here comes another one….)

Resilience and flexibility

Look at Resilience as being like Bamboo.  Bamboo is strong yet light, it is quick growing and versatile, it regenerates, and it can withstand even a typhoon trying to flatten it.  Strength comparisons based around metal synonyms conjure to my mind the fact that the majority of metals have quite a low breaking point whether that be through fatigue, stress or external conditions whereas something like Bamboo can endure some of the harshest extremes imaginable.

There is no magic tool I can give you to promote resilience other than the imagery of being like bamboo. The next time you face a situation where you are thinking ‘that’s it I give up’ stop, close your eyes and imagine you are that bamboo.  Accept the things you can’t change and roll with them. Ignore the minor irritations that don’t require solving for you to move on. Bend and twist your thinking to find another way towards your goal.  Stay flexible.

When you combine motivation and resilience together and actively use them you are going to be pretty formidable.

This article is part of my success compass series; you can find the other articles here… The Success Compass and Staying Motivated. Next week I shall look at the third point on the compass, the skill of Patience.