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10 Strategies Resilient People Use To Bounce Back When Life Knocks Them Down

10 Strategies Resilient People Use To Bounce Back When Life Knocks Them Down

“People who soar are those who refuse to sit back, sigh and wish things would change. They neither complain of their lot nor passively dream of some distant ship coming in. Rather, they visualize in their minds that they are not quitters, they will not allow life’s circumstances to push them down and hold them under” Charles Swindoll

The word Resilience has its origin in the Latin word “resilíre,” which means, “to leap back” or as I like to say, “bounce back”. Resilience helps to make the uncertain things in our lives certain. Knowing how to “bounce back” from adversity and life challenges is something that all of us are able to do – we just need to know HOW.

Resilience enables you to live a life that is based on choice rather than being at the mercy of chance or habit. It also enables you to manage adversity and “bounce back” when life has shot you down.

When you are living a resilient life, you are living a fulfilled life, where you know who you are and you know what is important to you. You have a plan as to where you are going and you know where you should be investing your time and energy.

For you to lead a resilient life you have to overcome the pain, the adversity and the unpredictable challenges that life throws at you. It is not an easy journey, but then again, life was not meant to be easy.

The good news is that resilience is a process of thoughts and actions that can be learned. Although we can not control the challenging events in our lives, resilience can give us the strength to control our responses to these events.

Resilience Is A Life Story

Resilience is intangible, as you can’t touch it, but you can see and feel it. Resilience is a person’s life story and to truly understand and feel resilience at work, you need listen to resilient people’s stories. While you are listening to their stories, you will hear them talk about how they used various strategies to overcome the adversity and challenges in their life.

There are the 10 strategies that resilient people commonly use to manage adversity and to “bounce back” when life has knocked them down. By using these 10 strategies and listening to the stories of resilient individuals, you will be shown HOW you can live a resilient and fulfilled life.

1. Laughter Positivity And Hope

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” Dr Seuss

Resilient people live meaningful lives. They love to laugh and have a positive and hopeful attitude of life. Resilient people don’t take themselves too seriously and they have a sense of humour about the challenges of life.

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For resilient people, happiness comes because they believe in who they are, they know what they are doing, and they love what they do.

Resilient people are optimistic and believe in their own strength and ability to overcome any problems. In a crisis, a resilient person will be positive, open and willing to find the solution. They will not be dwelling on the problem but looking forward to the future solutions that should be considered.

Laughter, positivity and hope are important strateges to use when you want to build resilience in your life.

2. Accepting And Anticipating Change On A Daily Basis

it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.  Dr Leon C. Megginson

In todays world of constant change it is hard to hold on to who you are and manage the complexity and unpredictability of life. The one constant thing in our lives today is change.

Resilience is a quality that enables you to survive and thrive in a world of constant change. Resilient people are always ready for the unpredictable events in their lives. To them change is part of the daily routine of life. It is expected, and in fact, those who are most resilient embrace the opportunities that change brings.

3. Embracing The Power Of Choice

“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” Kevyn Aucion

Resilient people are comfortable with using the power of choice. They understand the value of the power of choice when dealing with tough decisions or confronting challenging situations. Using the power of choice empowers and strengthens their ability to take action and to make decisions.

They know that they are not responsible for the challenging events in their lives. They also know they are in control of their responses to these events. By embracing the power of choice, resilient people are able to maintain perspective and manage the flow of emotions that they are dealing with in the present moment.

Resilient people are not afraid to to acknowledge their negative feelings, emotions and fears. Instead, they choose not to let these negative fears and emotions take control and immobilize them.

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4. Asking For Help

“Asking for help does not mean that we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.”  Anne Wilson Schaef

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness to a resilient person. Resilient people seek support, advice and encouragement from others when times are tough.

They value the input of others, along with the wisdom and energy to overcome the adversity or solve the problems they are facing. Resilient people do not work or live in isolation. They enjoy belonging to a community and have a very collaborative approach when it comes to decision making and problem solving.

5. Being Self Aware And Connected

Resilient people practice the concept of mindfulness. They pay attention to where they are in the present moment. They are connected to what is important to them in their lives – family and friends. They know who they are and what they stand for.

They are self-aware and are able to monitor the thoughts that flow through them. This allows them to be able to tolerate ambiguity and hold opposing thoughts in their minds at the same time. Instead of reacting to their negative thoughts they will observe these thoughts and then let them pass through like a storm.

Their values and their purpose in life are the foundations from which they lead their lives. Any decision they need to make or any problem they need to solve will be aligned to their beliefs and values.

6. Living to Learn

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” Confucius

Resilient people learn to take charge of their thinking and emotions in order to become resilient. They know that to live a resilient life they must continuously develop and strengthen their skills and abilities to remain strong.

They are survivors and when faced with adversity will ask themselves, “How can I survive this and what do I need to do to overcome this obstacle?” They know their strengths and their vulnerabilities and they are solution-focused thinkers.

They will always look for ways in which they can source the best solution for the problem or challenges they need to overcome. Resilient people are inquisitive, curious and questioning – always seeking information or new knowledge that will help them to be a better and stronger person.

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They acquire new skills and knowledge through life experience, observation, reflection and from the wisdom of others. They believe in the journey of continuous self-improvement and see life challenges and adversity as an opportunity to learn.

Resilient people also understand that to live a resilient life one has to experience life – the good, the bad and the ugly.

7. Valuing The Importance of Health & Well-Being

“Intelligence comes into being when…the mind, the heart and the body are really harmonious” J Krishnamurti

The energy source of resilience comes from the physical and mental strength of a person. A resilient person understands the importance of being physically, emotionally and mentally fit. They understand the importance of consistently following daily healthy habits  that nurture and strength their health and well-being. Resilient people look after themselves and value the gift of having a healthy and emotionally strong body and mind.

They value the positive energy they get by surrounding themselves with like-minded people. This positive energy builds and maintains their emotional, physical and mental well-being. Resilient people have healthy and strong relationships which they value and nurture.

8. Practicing Appreciation & Gratitude

People who live a resilient life know that it is not a one-way ticket and that life is not all about them. It is about how they can help and support other people in their lives. They have an deep awareness of people and how they feel. They actively practice gratitude and will always acknowledge their appreciation of others. Resilient people like to serve others and develop supportive and caring relationships.

This strategy of  practicing appreciation and gratitude strengthens the emotional resilience in people. Resilient people are grateful and appreciate all the good things they have in their life. When adversity strikes, resilient people are able to keep perspective because they are emotionally resilient.

9. Embrace Failure and Disappointment

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved” Helen Keller

Resilient people have the mindset of a survivor and not a victim. They expect to make mistakes, to fail, and to be disappointed. They know that to be strong, one has to overcome adversity and failure.

They embrace life learning experiences such as failure and disappointment because it enables them to grow and become a better person.

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Resilient people do not seek validation from others to determine their success. They define their success in their own terms.

To help them define their key learnings and how they can move forward in their lives, resilient people will ask these three questions:

1. What went well?

2. What didn’t go so well?

3. What can I do better next time?

Those who are resilient do not typically have a fear of failure and they understand the importance of how they respond to their failures. Resilient people choose to respond to failure by “bouncing back” and starting again.

10. Be Adaptable, Flexible and Flow

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way ’round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves”   Bruce Lee

Resilient people understand that life is not static – it is unpredictable and challenging. Adaptability, flexibility and flow are key strengths that enable resilient people to manage the unpredictability of life. These three strengths are also essential for all the other nine resilient strategies that resilient people use to “bounce back” from the challenges of life.

Adaptability, flexibility and flow give resilient people the capacity to cope internally with the complexity of life and the range of positive and negative emotions they will experience in their lives.

If you want to live a resilient life, it is a tough journey because to be resilient you have to experience personal setbacks. This is undoubtedly scary, and for many of us, we choose not to embrace resilience and our life languishes. Resilient people know the huge effort and energy it takes to be able to “bounce back” from the challenges of life.

They use these 10 strategies to build their strength and capacity to lead a resilient life. They choose to embrace the unpredictability of life, the pain and the adversity because they know that the rewards they gain from choosing a resilient life are priceless. It is easy to take these strategies and want to follow them to lead a resilient life, but to actually follow them and live by them is a feat all on its own.

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Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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Last Updated on October 22, 2019

How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

When someone says, “I can’t do it” . . . I say to myself, “What do you mean you can’t do it?” Maybe you don’t want to do it, but saying you “can’t” do it is a completely different story.

With the right mindset, positive attitude, and a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, the only thing that is holding you back is yourself.

Can’t is a terrible word and it has to be taken out of your vocabulary.

By saying you can’t do something, you’re already doubting yourself, submitting to defeat, and you’re making that barrier around your life tighter.

So today, right now, we are going to remove this word for good.

From now on there is nothing we can’t do.

“Attitude is Tattoo”

Your attitude is everything; it’s your reason, your why and how, your facial expression, emotions, body language, and potentially the end result. How you approach an opportunity, and the result of it, is solely based on you — not your boss or your co-worker or friend.

If you enter a business meeting with a sour attitude, that negative energy can spread like wildfire. People can also feel it — maybe even taste it. This is not an impression you want to leave.

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Now imagine you enter a business meeting with a positive attitude, that whatever happens in here is going to be your result, in your control, not someone else’s. Of course, we can’t always win, but even if the outcome is negative, your attitude and perception can turn it into a positive. The question is: can you do it?

Of course you can, because there is nothing in this world you can’t do.

It’s much better to be known for your positive attitude — your poise, your energy, the reason why things go so well because you are able to maintain such character. A negative attitude is easy. It’s easy to complain, it’s easy to be mad, and it’s even easier to do nothing to change it.

When I say your “attitude is tattoo”, it sounds permanent. Tattoos can be removed, but that’s not the point. Your attitude is like a tattoo because you wear it. People can see it and sometimes, they will judge you on it. If you maintain a negative attitude, then it is permanent until you change it.

Change your attitude and I guarantee the results change as well.

Believe You Can Do It

Do you know why most people say “can’t” and doubt themselves before trying anything?

It’s our lack of self-confidence and fear on many different levels. The one thing we have to purge from ourselves is fear — fear of bad results, fear of change, fear of denial, fear of loss, the fear that makes us worry and lose sleep. Worrying is the same as going outside with an umbrella, waiting for rain to hit it. Stop worrying and move on.

Confidence is fragile: It builds up slowly, but can shatter like glass. Project your confidence and energy into believing in yourself. This is a very important and groundbreaking step — one that is usually the hardest to take. Start telling yourself you can do something, anything, and you will do it the best to your ability. Remove doubt, remove fear, and stick with positive energy.

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Embrace Failure

Do not fear failure. Do not run away from it. Face it, learn from it, grow, and take action. Just remember: You will never know success if you have never failed.

Your confidence will bolster after embracing these facts. You will be immune to demoralizing results, and instead you will find ways to fix it, improve upon it, and make it better than before. You will learn to never say “can’t,” and will realize how many more opportunities you can create by removing that one word.

Don’t let one simple and ugly word plague your confidence. You’re better and stronger than that.

Start Making the Change

But to actually start the process of change is very challenging.

Why is that?

Fear? Time? Don’t know how — or where — to start?

It’s hard because what we’re doing is unlearning what we know. We are used to doing things a certain way, and chances are we’ve been doing them for years.

So here are some ways that I avoid using the word “can’t”, and actually take the steps to put forth the change that I wish to see. I hope you can incorporate these methods into your life.

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Write down What You Want to Change

Write it on post-its, notecards, whatever makes you comfortable — something you will always see. I usually write mine on post-its and put them all over the wall behind my monitor so I always see them.

Tell a Friend and Talk About It

Discussing your goals, what you want to change, is very effective when you say it out loud and tell another person other than yourself. It’s almost like saying, hey, I bet I can do it — watch me.

When you fulfill that goal and tell your friend, it feels rewarding and will motivate you to do it again in a different aspect. Who knows? Maybe your friend adopts the same mindset as you.

Stop Yourself from Saying the Forbidden Word

Sometimes,I can’t control myself in public when I’m with friends, so I have to be careful with the words I use so I don’t embarrass or insult anyone.

Treat the word “can’t” as the worst word you can possibly use. Stop yourself from saying it, mid-sentence if you must, and turn your whole perspective around — you can do it, you will do it, and nothing is impossible!

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

You think this change will be overnight? No way. This is a practice. Something you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life from now until forever.

As I said earlier, you are unlearning what you know. You know how easy it is to say you can’t do something, so by unlearning this easy practice, you’re self-disciplining yourself to live without boundaries.

Practice this everyday, a little at a time, and before you know it, the word can’t will not be part of your language.

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Do Anything That Can Relieve Your Uncertainty

When I catch myself saying I can’t do something or I don’t know something, looking up information on that action or subject, doing research, educating yourself, relieves that uncertainty.

Sometimes, we think we can’t do something because the whole idea of it seems too large. We skip the small steps in our head and only focus on the end.

Before you say you can’t do something, rewind and slow down a little bit. Focus on what the first step is, then the next. Take it a step at a time, and before you know it you will have done something you previously thought you couldn’t do.

Final Thoughts

You know what you must do. The first step is right now. Once you begin this habit, and really start noticing some change, you’ll realize the door to opportunity is everywhere.

The funny thing is: Those doors have always been there. The evil word that we no longer use put a veil over our eyes because that’s how powerful that word is.

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Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

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