Be resilient

resilience-001A good half of the art of living is resilience. ― Alain de Botton

I have overlooked this term my entire life. I now have a tight affinity for it. I aspire to demonstrate it. I admire it in others.

Resilience is the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change and to keep going in the face of adversity.


  • Is only activated by, and can only be expressed during, difficult times. When life is peaceful and unchallenging, resilience is dormant. That’s why you won’t even know if you have it until you face a challenging situation. So the next time you encounter problems, view them as an opportunity to develop (if you don’t already have it) or perfect (if you do), resilience.
  • Requires creativity and adaptability. Resilience is needed when the next move is not obvious; you’ve hit a roadblock and there’s no apparent solution. A resolution will require imagination and enterprise.
  • Necessitates stamina and endurance. Some problems are quickly resolved and require minimal resources. Others tenaciously linger and drain resources. The latter require doggedness and perseverance—attributes found in resilience.
  • Is sustained by optimism. Pessimists are unfamiliar with resilience; they acquiesce to problems and can’t imagine a better future. But optimists see setbacks as temporary and solvable.

Resilience: master it and you’ll be unflappable and imperturbable and you’ll overcome life’s inevitable setbacks. Disregard it and you’ll be stymied by life’s inevitable problems.

“Difficulties are just things to over come after all.” -Ernest Shackleton, one of the great explorers of the 20th century.

[reminder]What are your thoughts about this essay?[/reminder]

14 Replies to “Be resilient”

    1. Thanks Don for the good thoughts and challenge. I would suggest it requires the ability to face reality, the real situation, assess the alternatives, and then choose to pursue one with a positive attitude. The passing on one’s spouse is a stark example (which was my case) of a life-changing event that requires resilience — to grieve, adjust (you don’t recover), and then choose to be optimistic and productive in the next chapter of your life.

      1. Mark, I’m so sorry to hear of your wife’s passing. It does take a lot of mental fortitude to continue following a deep loss. Take care, Don.

  1. Don,

    Wow. This post is the leader in the clubhouse for post of the year. I need to continue to develop resilience, but I also have thought about how do I pass this along to those I lead (at work, at home).

    “I aspire to demonstrate it.” I think you got it, you have to model it. Talking about resilience and studying others who have demonstrated it and passing it along is good, but it’s how you respond to life’s inevitable setbacks.

    Thanks for the good word.


    1. Thanks, Rob, for getting in touch and sharing your thoughts. You’re right, the key is demonstrating important skills and virtues and then encouraging others to follow suit. Take care, Don

  2. Resiliency! That’s it! Seems lately I’ve been immersed in “Goliath” sized circumstances that appear to have no easy, identifiable solution.

    For me, it is also about surrender, but to keep on keeping on. Just do the next right thing, whatever that is. This article is spot on and a very timely and encouraging word to me as God works His perfect will out in my life. God used your gift to certainly bless me with this moment of clarity. A drink of water to be sure.

    I confess, walking in faith does indeed, require, resiliency!! Amen! Thanks much.

    1. Barry, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Churchill once said, “When you’re walking through hell, keep walking.” Thanks for our friendship. Don

  3. I like to look to the source of all wisdom …

    Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
    knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
    James 1:2-4

  4. Don,
    For a few years, Cathey and her team at Rainbow Days have been studying Resilience in the children they serve….especially those in the Homeless Shelters. If you are interested in their findings, I am sure she would be happy to share them.
    This is a very good topic….and has a sister topic named Hope, I think.

    1. Thanks, Wade, for sharing this great insight – the importance of teaching children resilience, particularly proactively. Thanks for our friendship. Don

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