Resilience: the ability to bounce back

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As most of us know, in today’s world, it’s no longer our IQ that determines how successful we are in various walks of life, but our EQ, or emotional intelligence-the ability to manage the emotions of one’s self, of others, and of groups. People who possess certain traits like assiduity, goal-orientation, communication skills, inter-personal skills and most importantly, the ability to handle stress and failure are surely the ones who are the most likely to succeed-both in their professional and personal life. Studies have shown that one of the most important of these traits is resilience-the ability to successfully overcome setbacks and traumas, so that they do not affect ones life at any later stage.

Failures, setbacks, catastrophes and trauma constitute an essential part of life’s journey. So being unable to work through such episodes is tantamount to accepting defeat early on in the game of life. This is the reason for the great importance attached to resilience as an essential trait for survival and success.

Though biology does play a role in determining how resilient a person is, it is possible to learn to be resilient. The following are some ways of building resilience into one’s personality.

A positive outlook : Resilient people have their own way of looking at a situation which helps them interpret any situation in a new light. In trying times, where others see only a problem, they see an opportunity to learn and grow. And a fact that should help anyone have a more positive view of difficult circumstances is that, once you have successfully dealt with the problem, you emerge even stronger than before, because this time you know you’ve already successfully tackled something difficult .

The Ability to Tolerate Pain and Distressing Emotions
: Some people can cope with emotional pain and anxiety better than others, and this may have a biological component. But the good news is that, through patience and perseverance anyone can significantly increase their own resilience. The best way to do so is to constantly remind yourself of your need to succeed, which will always give you an extra leg-up in tackling the obstacles that you ‘re encountering in your path.

A Meaningful System of Support : Even if someone is innately resilient, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible for them to tackle every problem all alone. So reaching out to friends and family and opening up to them is essential for coping with setbacks.

A Wide Range of Interests: Finally, people who divide their energy among various activities, and have found multiple meanings to their existence can naturally fall back on some other sphere of their lives when they suffer setbacks in one. This also gives them the necessary sense of support and fulfillment that difficult times tend to drain out. For example if in addition to your professional life, if you also value your role as a parent, and, say, are involved in some social work in your community which gives you a sense of satisfaction, then you’ll be able to fall back on these other spheres of your life when you face difficulties at work.

My experience tells me, all the methods and techniques for attaining resilience work best only if you have the strongest desire to reach your goal. If you do, then that desire becomes a huge driving force behind everything you do. That desire makes you tell yourself, “Whatever happens, I won’t let anything keep me from reaching my goal.” And it is this belief that forces you to find ways around and through the walls you hit.

Sulagna Dasgupta

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