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Strategies of a resilient person

I had just assembled a list of potential column topic ideas for this week’s column. Setting the list aside, I changed focus to checking the news and ponder which of the topics I wanted to dig into. Wouldn’t you know, one of the articles on the news site I happened to be on was titled, “Resilience is the Most Powerful Skill Kids Can Develop Right Now,” written by Caroline Bologna. Do not judge the content of the article by the author’s last name. It was a very good article and not boloney at all. The article jumped out at me because on the list I had just set aside was the topic of resilience. It is a topic I speak about often in my presentations. A topic I am passionate about. I am interested in helping build resilience in others because I believe, as was shared in the article, that resilience is one of the most valuable skills we can work to develop. Stumbling across that article was a sign to me that the topic from my list that I was supposed to write about for this column was, indeed, resilience.

Resilience is a toughness. It is the ability to bounce back quickly from difficulty and it is extremely important to our happiness and success.

Why is it that some people seem to quickly bounce back after a difficult experience, while others struggle? Why do some people take longer to move forward after a difficult time, seeming sometimes to even get stuck in a place of negativity and self-destruction, while others can bounce back and even seem to come out of a difficult experience further ahead than when they went into it, as if propelled forward by it? The answer is that it depends on the level of resilience a person has. It matters how people choose to deal with the situation and how they let it impact them that makes the difference in how they will come out of it.

I have been through a handful of very difficult experiences. We all have. We are all going through something right now that is a challenge in many ways. Ways that are different for everyone. It is true that some people go through challenges and come out stronger, while others get stuck in it and let it impact them in a negative way for the rest of their life. I will share with you what I have observed and learned about the things those who are more resilient do differently than the people who are less resilient.

Resilient people embrace the lessons that exist in difficult situations. They don’t curl up and wait for the situation to pass them by. They do not stop trying just because something didn’t go right. They look for ways they can learn from the situation and that can make them a better, stronger person. They are insightful and can apply what they learn to their own actions and thoughts, making adjustments accordingly.

Resilient people know they have control over their response to situations. They see hurdles as obstacles to be overcome and not as the end of the road. They stay out of their own way when it comes to achieving their goals and they use hurdles to develop strengths. They know that difficult experiences are snapshots in their life and do not define their entire life. They recognize that they can move through something and not get stuck in it. Resilient people know that there is life beyond what is in the moment of the difficulty. They keep moving toward something beyond the challenging experience.

Resilient people have a positive outlook on life, in a realistic way. They use logic to understand events. This isn’t to say they don’t have emotions, they just know how to manage their emotions and not let their emotions make decisions or form their outlook. They appreciate what they have, their abilities, and they have gratitude. Resilient people don’t compare themselves to others but dig in to make their own reality positive for them.

There are other things too. Resilient people have boundaries. They are confident and competent. They ask for and accept help. They are kind to others and to themselves.

Jackie Krawczak is president of Jackie Krawczak LLC. Her column runs every three weeks on Thursdays. Follow Jackie on Twitter @jkrawczak.

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