Life and business often present us with unexpected hardships and challenges. Why do some people remain composed in the face of adversity, while others fall apart? People that can effectively navigate the highs and lows of life demonstrate the important trait of resilience; an ability to bounce back from challenges that life can throw at us.
To be successful, we need to embrace change and find our resilience. In this post — the first in a series of three — we will discuss the reasons why building resilience is important in transforming challenges into success.
Why Is Resilience Important?
Building a foundation of resilience provides us with the needed confidence to approach life positively and creatively. According to Suzanne Kobasa, a leading psychologist, 3 elements can be identified as being essential to resilience:
Challenge:People that are resilient take difficulty as a challenge, not as an insurmountable or paralysing problem. They treat their failures and mistakes as lessons they can learn from; as opportunities for personal growth. They do not consider them to be a negative reflection on their self-worth or abilities.
Commitment: People that demonstrate resilience are committed to their lives and to their set goals. Commitment is not only restricted to their work or business as they are also committed to their relationships, their friendships, the causes they are passionate about, and their spiritual or religious beliefs.
Personal Control: Resilient individuals spend their energy and time concentrating their attention on situations and events over which they have control. As they exert their efforts on areas where they can have the most significant impact, such people feel confident and empowered. If we spend time worrying over uncontrollable events, we will often feel helpless, lost, and powerless to act.
Ultimately, resilience means that people adapt to challenges, change and adversity without them derailing their lives or work.
What are the Benefits of Building Resilience?
Resilience is especially critical in today’s fast-moving and competitive work environments. Let’s look at the key benefits that will result from developing this key skill:
Putting Ourselves in Control
Here’s a question: Do you think life happens to you or for you? To improve our happiness in any specific area of life, we should ask ourselves this: “Who’s responsible for my happiness?” The answer we give to that question could determine how effectively we overcome life challenges.
If we adopt an external locus of control, we will struggle to bounce back from hard knocks of life. If we believe that external forces determine the direction our life takes, we will feel powerless and have a ‘victim’ mentality.
Conversely, if we have an internal locus of control, we see ourselves as the person calling the shots in our life. We would believe we are in control of all decisions we make.
With such an attitude, when we experience challenges in life, we can adapt and move forward.
Experience All That Life has to Give
People that demonstrate more resilience than others have a well-balanced outlook about life. They have the belief some things in life can be both difficult and challenging, and that some other things in life are also rich, interesting, and enjoyable. And they can experience all these things.
These individuals also know life is an exploration, and it is to be experienced. If something does not work out well, they can give something else a try until they have discovered something that actually works.
Harness Positive Emotions
When adversity strikes — as it happens to everyone at one point or the other in life — it is easy to seek solace in negative habits and go into “why me” mode. But we can’t overcome issues if we believe the Universe is not on our side. We must harness positivity and reject negativity.
According to research, a major factor contributing to resilience is the experience we gain when we harness positive emotions, even while going through an especially stressful or trying time. An individual that demonstrates resilience works through hardships by harnessing their power of positive emotions. They can reframe adversity into something positive, allowing them to get back on their feet a lot quicker. When we choose happiness and optimism, we will be surprised how much calmer we feel when faced with challenges.
The fact is, ours is a world of constant change: Uncertainty is the only certainty we can bank on. Ignoring or resisting change can get us into trouble, which may eventually lead to living a life of pain and suffering, as we may not be able to find comfort in the chaos.
We won’t be able to develop resilience by sticking to our comfort zone. The only way in which we can truly experience personal growth and expansion is by breaking free from the chains of stability and exploring the unknown. This will, no doubt, be scary at first. But it compels us to do some deep inner work, such as discarding limiting beliefs, getting rid of bad habits, and learning ways to adapt to stressful situations.
By mastering change, we are able to master our lives. Resilience enables us to stay calm because we have confidence in ourselves that we can weather the challenge, as we have got through a number of others in the past.
Learning to be Resilient
The good news is that a resilient mindset can be learned. Resilience can vary from one person to the other, but the psychological strength and proven practical strategies can mean we can not only survive, but thrive, in the face of adversity.
In our next blog post on this topic, we will explore how today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous workplaces affects the resilience of teams. As we find ourselves in these kinds of working environments, it is a crucial business requirement to embrace change rather than allow for it to be disruptive.