Resilience, However You Look At It


Posted on: May 21, 2020

Various terms are used to describe and to nuance resilience.

There is, grit, determination, perseverance, bounce-back, flexibility, elasticity, back-bone, spirit, buoyancy, life-force, endurance, etc. These really represent choices. Start out, by knowing that you have at your disposal, an arsenal of ways to deal with what is bugging you.

There is also a longitudinal element too, which brings into focus something approximating to… endurance. Speaking as someone who has on more than one occasion been the last one standing at the party, I can vouchsafe that endurance matters.

So, to slip conveniently into the vernacular of competitive sport, are you a ‘sprinter’, or a ‘long distancer’? A ‘Sumo wrestler’ or are you better over 15 rounds?

Whichever you are, how you function best really matters when facing a problem and planning a personal resilience strategy. Especially true, if you are to capitalize on your inherent strengths and not waste valuable resources trying to be what you are not. This is where positive psychology comes to the fore. Recognise your strengths. Don’t try to fix weaknesses. Instead of trying to win through on what one can’t do well, win through by doing what you can!

Returning to the sporting metaphor, sprinters are highly active, ‘get-it-done’ types, who prefer short bursts of concentrated action, as opposed to a long haul. Sprinters will go hard at it, converting energy into purpose and with a following wind, overcome. So, if you are a sprinter, get busy and keep busy.

However, we can’t all run the 100m in 9 seconds. If you are not by disposition a sprinter, an all-action defeat-the-demon approach may not be for you.

Instead, the ‘long-distancer’ may do better with a managed strategy. Firstly, accepting what the situation is, using the protection of mindfulness to deflect the worst, using acceptance to neutralize energy waste and then with replenishing energy, wear the problem down.

Very often we do not have command over duration. What is true, is that over a longer campaign, resilience will also grow through development of the ‘resilience muscle’ and habituation will bring the issue into perspective.

Start with a moment of self-reflection. What do you do better? Sprint, or jog?

And remember, whatever it is that is bugging you, in the end, it won’t.

Contributed by: Douglas Bullock, MAPACS(L2)