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Rethinking Definition of Resilience to Work For Us

The notion of bouncing back from setbacks as a definition for resilience have been ingrained in our minds.

But it’s crucial to question these definitions when we seek to enhance our resilience. We must define what we are pursuing.

These traditional definitions fall short.

{Note: this is part 2 out 5 part series of newsletters to help you Build Your Resilience Toolbox}

The concept of “bouncing back” is derived from physics, where materials assume their initial shape. However, real-life challenges rarely allow us to revert to our original state after significant setbacks like losing a limb, experiencing divorce, or losing a loved one. The goal isn’t to bounce back but to move forward, embracing a new reality for sustained well-being.

Recent research offers more accurate and helpful definitions of resilience:

  • “Process to harness resources for adaptation & sustained well-being”
  • “It is not about bouncing back, but moving forward”
  • “Seeking growth & opportunities when conditions don’t support it”

These are the elements we should look for:

  • A process: Life does not end at one setback, as I am sure you have already learned. Life is ongoing, and resilience involves continually adapting to live your best life given the circumstances.
  • Harvesting resources: We are naturally resourceful, and different situations call for various resources based on availability.
  • For sustained well-being: While at times surviving is good enough, I hope we can all aim for well-being
  • A choice: In my workshops, I emphasize that resilience is a conscious decision. I share my personal story, highlighting the transformative power of choosing resilience in my life, when I faced a cancer scare in my twenties.

👉Now, I invite you to decide for yourself: Choose resilience.

Without this choice, all the tools and frameworks available become absolute waste of time. Trust me on this* (*with the understanding that you are addressing the root cause and not covering up with resilience, as we discussed in previous newsletter)

We can’t manage what we don’t understand.

In part 3, we will understand what stress is, and why we are so stressed these days.

Now, it’s your turn. What do you define as resilience? What is a helpful definition for you?

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