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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

What Is Resilience and Why Is It Important for Success?

What Is Resilience and Why Is It Important for Success?

Have you ever wondered why some people remain calm in the face of adversity, while others crumble? People who are able to effectively navigate the highs and lows of life have what psychologists call resilience, or an ability to effectively bounce back from adversity.

Whenever you come across a difficult situation, you have two choices: you can either let your emotions get the best of you and become paralyzed by fear, or you can uplift yourself from the negative and transform pain into possibility.

Even if you consider yourself to be a happy person, it is inevitable that you will encounter challenges at some point along your journey. These experiences may bend you, but they do not have to break you.

Building resilience is the key to turning challenges into successes.

All of us have the power to develop a resilient mindset; just like a muscle, it needs to be conditioned and strengthened every single day. Sometimes it takes hitting your emotional threshold before you are able to tap into your personal resilience.

What is resilience and why is it so important for success?

What Is Resilience?

The construct of resilience has its roots in the field of developmental psychopathology during the 1970s. In the course of studying children with psychiatric disorders, psychiatrists and psychologists noted that a small number of children did not display the expected maladaptive behaviors.

Instead, they displayed behaviors that were within the normal range of social development.[1]

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However, it was the studies of children of schizophrenic parents and the findings that some children thrived despite their high-risk status that led to the expansion of research on resilience. These included multiple adverse conditions, including socioeconomic disadvantage, parental mental illness, maltreatment, illness, and catastrophic life events.

During the late 1980s and 1990s, research on resilience revealed it to be a much more ordinary phenomenon than it was first thought to be. The construct of resilience evolved to presume exposure to significant adversity.

Multiple Definitions of Resilience

To date, there is little consensus among researchers about the definition and meaning of the construct of resilience. In the last decade, the concept of resilience has shifted. It was once confined to a set of stable individual traits.

However, the concept shifted to an outcome and dynamic process, dependent upon interactions between individual and contextual variables, evolving over time.[2]

Today, resilience is commonly referred to as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress.[3] This definition captures the “bounce-back” characteristic, which reflects one of the central characteristics of resilience.

The Importance of Resilience

Ever-increasing demands on time and energy have created an environment where people feel overwhelmed and unable to manage the high expectations of their daily lives through problem solving skills or coping strategies.

As a result, people find themselves constantly multitasking, chronically distracted, and pulled in too many different directions. If you want to stay at the top of your game in life and in work, it is imperative that you learn how to successfully navigate your way through the tough times.

In a study sponsored by Nationwide and Vodafone, nearly 100 percent of participants cited resilience as a factor in job success.[4] Numbers don’t lie. Resilience is the secret to success.

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Here are four reasons why possessing resilience is a critical life-skill in today’s world:

1. Transform Failure Into Success

In my experience, the road to success is paved with a lot of failure. It’s a normal part of life. You cannot build resilience unless you are willing to fail.

Those who lack the ability to bounce back from adversity end up internalizing failure and inevitably giving up altogether. If you can relate to this way of thinking, it’s important to understand that failure is an event. It does not define who you are as a person.

Research shows that when you try, fail, try again, and ultimately succeed, you get a nice kick from your dopaminergic reward system.[5] This is what gives you the momentum that you need when adversity hits you like a ton of bricks.

Failure is merely a stepping stone that everyone goes through on their path to greatness. You’ve got to ask yourself if you are willing to take bold risks in order to become the person you’ve always desired to be.

2. Develop an Internal Locus of Control

Do you believe that life happens for you or to you? In order for you to improve your happiness in any area of your life, you have to ask yourself the difficult question: “Who is responsible for my happiness?”

Your answer to this question will determine how effectively you are able to overcome challenges in life.

People who adopt an external locus of control struggle to bounce back from life’s blows. They believe that external forces determine the direction that their lives will take. Not surprisingly, this belief leaves them feeling powerless.

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Conversely, resilient people with an internal locus of control see themselves as the CEO of their lives. They know that they are in control of every single decision that they make.

When they get knocked down, they are able to bounce forward, meaning that they are able to use life’s greatest adversities as springboards for success. When you do this, you become the driver of your destiny, and resilience becomes your natural state of being.

3. Build Positive Beliefs

When your world comes crashing down on you, it’s easy to fall into negativity mode and play the “why me” game. However, you cannot overcome challenges in life if you think that the Universe isn’t on your side. Negativity will get you nowhere in life.

Research shows that one major factor that contributes to resilience is the experience of harnessing positive emotions, even in the midst of an especially trying or stressful time.[6]

A resilient person works through challenges by harnessing the power of positive emotions and leaning on their support system when necessary. They are able to reframe adversity into something positive, which allows them to bounce back and create realistic plans in the long term.

4. Help You Embrace Change

At the heart of resilience lies a simple truth—change is inevitable. The reality is that we live in a world of constant change. In fact, uncertainty is the only certainty that we can count on.

People get into trouble when they ignore or resist change. As a result, they end up living a life of pain and suffering because they are unable to find comfort in the chaos.

You will not build resilience by hanging out in your comfort zone[7]. The only way to truly grow and expand yourself is to break free from the chains of stability and dive into the unknown.

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Get out of your comfort zone to build resilience.

    This will require that you do some deep inner work, like shifting your limiting beliefs, breaking bad habits, and learning how to make friends with stress.

    Let’s face it… nobody is excited to face their “stuff,” but it’s an integral step on the road to becoming a resilient person. In the words of Socrates,

    “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

    Final Thoughts

    The next time that life throws you a curveball, trust that you are strong enough to stay in the game. Adversity may bend you, but don’t let it break you.

    It doesn’t matter how many times that you fall. All that matters is that you get back up again and keep moving forward.

    More Resources to Build a Stronger Mind

    Featured photo credit: Brad Barmore via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Ashley Elizabeth

    Resilience Mastery Coach and Motivational Speaker

    4 Signs You Have a Victim Mentality (And How to Break out of It) How to Overcome Fear and Find Success (The Ultimate Guide) What Motivates You to Succeed in Life and Keep Moving Forward? 5 Reasons Why Keeping a Mood Journal Is Good For Your Mental Health 5 Ways to Help Yourself Advance Your Mental Strength

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    Last Updated on June 4, 2021

    10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

    10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

    Failure occurs everyday, in school, jobs, housework, and within families. It is unavoidable, irritating and causes pessimism.

    While the thought of flinging your hands in the air and walking away is all too appealing, take a second to connect with the people who have been there and survived.

    Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. — Henry Ford

    Here are 10 famous failures to success stories around the world that will inspire you to keep going and achieve greatness:

      1. J.K. Rowling

        During a Harvard commencement speech, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling outlined the importance and value of failure.[1]

        Why? Simply because she was once a failure too.

        A few short years after her graduation from college, her worst nightmares were realized. In her words,

        “I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.”

        Coming out of this failure stronger and more determined was the key to her success.

        2. Steve Jobs

          The now revolutionary Apple started off with two men in a garage. Years later we all know it as a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees.

          Yet, almost unbelievably, Steve Jobs was fired from the very company he began.

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          The dismissal made him realize that his passion for his work exceeded the disappointment of failure. Further ventures such as NeXT and Pixar eventually led Jobs back to the CEO position at AppleJobs said in 2005:

          “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.”

          Lost your job today? Keep kicking and you could be just like this guy!

          3. Bill Gates
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            Bill Gates was a Harvard dropout. He co-owned a business called Traf-O-Data, which was a true failure.[2]

            However, skill and a passion for computer programming turned this failure into the pioneer of famous software company Microsoft, and the then 31-year-old into the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.

            In his own words:

            “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

            This isn’t to say that dropping out of Harvard will make you into a billionaire, but maybe that shiny degree isn’t worth as much as the drive and passion to succeed.

            If you haven’t found your passion like Bill Gates, this will help you:

            How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

            4. Albert Einstein

              The word ‘Einstein’ is associated with intelligence and synonymous with genius. Yet it is a famous fact that the pioneer of the theory of general relativity, Albert Einstein himself, could not speak fluently until the age of nine. His rebellious nature led to expulsion from school, and he was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.

              His earlier setbacks did not stop him from winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. After all, he believed that:

              “Success is failure in progress.”

              To this day, his research has influenced various aspects of life including culture, religion, art, and even late night TV.

              Just because you haven’t achieved anything great yet, doesn’t mean you can’t be an Einstein yourself.

              5. Abraham Lincoln

                Failing in business in 1831, suffering a nervous breakdown in 1836, defeated in his run for president in 1856, Abraham Lincoln was no stranger to rejection and failure. Rather than taking these signs as a motivation for surrender, he refused to stop trying his best.

                In this great man’s words:

                “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”

                Lincoln was elected in 1861 as the 16th President of the United States of America.

                The amount of rejection you receive is not a defining factor. Success is still within your reach.

                6. Michael Jordan

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                  “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

                  This quote by retired basketball legend Michael Jordan in a Nike advertisement speaks for itself.

                  It would be an easy misconception that Jordan’s basketball skills revolve around natural talent. In fact, in his earlier years,  basketball coaches had trouble looking past the fact that Jordan didn’t reach the minimum height. It was years of effort, practice, and failure that made the star we know today.

                  Michael Jordan’s success all came down to his Intrinsic Motivation, one of the most invincible types of motivation that drives people to succeed.

                  7. Steven Spielberg

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                    Regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, Steven Spielberg is a familiar household name. It is surprising to realize therefore that the genius behind Jaws and E.T. had poor grades in high school, getting him rejected from the University of Southern California three times.

                    While he was in college, he caught the eye of executives at Universal, who signed him as a television director in 1969. This meant that he would not finish his college degree for another 33 years.

                    Perseverance and acceptance of failure is the key to success, after all.

                    “Even though I get older, what I do never gets old, and that’s what I think keeps me hungry.”

                    Bad grades in high school aside, there is no questioning the genius involved.

                    To date, Spielberg has directed 51 films and has been awarded three Oscars.

                    8. Walt Disney

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                      Mickey Mouse creator Walt Disney dropped out of school at a young age in a failed attempt at joining the army.[3] One of his earlier ventures, Laugh-o-Gram Studios, went bankrupt due to his lack of ability to run a successful business. He was once fired from a Missouri newspaper for “not being creative enough.”

                      Yet today, The genius behind Disney studios is responsible for generations of childhood memories and dreams. From Snow White to Frozen, Disney will continue to entertain the world for generations to come.

                      The logic behind this is simple:

                      “We don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

                      9. Vincent Van Gogh

                        During his lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh suffered mental illness, failed relationships, and committed suicide at the age of 37.

                        He only ever sold one painting in his life, pinning him a failure as an artist. However that did not put a damper on his enthusiasm and passion for art.

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                        He would never know that years and years after his death he would become known as a key figure in the world of post-impressionism, and ultimately, one of the greatest artist that ever lived.

                        He would never know that he became a hot topic in art classes and his image was going to be used in TV, books and other forms of popular culture.

                        In the words of this great, but tragic man:

                        “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”

                        10. Stephen King

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                          As a paranoid, troubled child, tormented by nightmares and raised in poverty, it is no surprise that Stephen King grew up to the title: “Master of Horror”.[4]

                          An addiction to drugs and alcohol were his mechanisms to cope with the unhappiness he felt with his life. The frustration he felt towards multiple rejections by publishers in combination with illicit substances caused him to mentally contemplate violence towards his own children.

                          These intense emotions were those that he focused onto his writing. And that’s why he said:

                          “We make up horros to help us cope with the real ones.”

                          Writing became his new coping mechanism, and this is how the master author we know today grew to success.

                          Fail More Often in Order to Succeed

                          Like Albert Einstein said, failure really is just success in progress. If you’d rather not to fail, you will probably never succeed.

                          Success comes from moments of frustrations when you’ll be most uncomfortable with. But after you’ve gone through all those bitter times, you’ll become stronger and you’ll get closer to success.

                          If you feel like a failure and think that you’ve failed all too many times, it’s not too late to change things up! Here’s how to turn your limitations into your opportunities:

                          Don’t be afraid to fail. In fact, start failing, and start failing often; that’s how you will succeed.

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                          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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