Thomas Edson failed 10,000 times before arriving at the perfect formula to one of the most important inventions in human history, the electric light bulb. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” He said.
If he had given up after failing a few times, can you imagine what the world would be like today? Just imagine how many more potential inventions we could have right now if people were more resilient…
Why is resilience important?
Resilience, according to psychologists, is the ability to face adversities in life — such as tragedies, health problems, relationship or work issues and so on — in a more adaptable way. Resilient people don’t dwell on failures — they acknowledge a given situation, learn their lessons and move forward.
In a nutshell, resilience is the ability to bounce back when things don’t go as planned. Just like any skill, we can learn to become resilient. It’s just a matter of willingness to learn and accept change.
There are three main traits that resilient people typically have: challenge, commitment and personal control. They see difficulties in life or failures like lessons in which they can learn something from and evolve. They have a deep sense of commitment with themselves and with others. Also, they mostly focus on things they have control over.
Resilience and emotional intelligence
The term emotional intelligence is the ability to use your emotions intelligently and in the most appropriate way.
Emotionally intelligent people recognize and know how to manage their own emotions. They don’t allow their emotions to dictate the way they feel or think.
People who are highly emotionally intelligent tend to also be highly emotionally resilient.
Resilience is “the core strength you use to lift the load of life.”
Everything is a matter of perspective. Are you a “glass-half-full” or “glass-half-empty” kind of person? Do you tend to see the positive even in difficult and stressful situations? Or do you lose hope easily and tend to focus on the negative?
Failure is part of life, and knowing that you eventually won’t get the results you wished for might help you to accept things better — just like The Rolling Stones song says “you can’t always get what you want but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need!”
If you avoid trying new things or don’t go after your dreams because you don’t want to take the risk of failing, you might prevent yourself from living a happy and fulfilled life.
I recommend you get out of your own way and let life happen! Start to see life events as a part of your human journey and as stepping stones to bigger and better things.
How to build resilience
Building resilience is a process. It takes patience, awareness, effort and focus. Reading this article or watching a video about it might be helpful, but it won’t be enough. Just like any other skill, you’ll have to practise repeatedly until you can master it.
The first step is to become aware and understand how you normally respond to adversities and stressful situations. Then, observe your behaviour during these moments and try to remain focused. It won’t be easy but as I mentioned, it’s part of the journey.
We can learn a lot from mindfulness and meditation techniques to help us build resilience in negative situations. For example, when you feel stressed, try pausing in the moment and counting to 10 before you react. You can also learn how to cope with your emotions using techniques like tapping, journaling, exercising, spending time outdoors and so on. You may also benefit from working with a therapist or a life coach.
Reading about other people’s journey or even something simple as a quote can be empowering. I’ll leave you with one of my favourites:
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” — Nelson Mandela
Written by Camila Santiago
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