Failure is not the opposite of success – it's the way to success. Click To Tweet

Are you good in a stressful situation?
If not, that’s great, because you’re reading a blog post about how to build resilience.

By the end, I’m pretty confident you’ll know what steps to take next.
However, if you’re a cool cucumber in stressful situations, don’t leave just yet.

We’re going to delve deep into understanding the specifics of resilience. At some point, we’ll even learn how the army teaches their soldiers to be more resilient. During this journey, we’ll be touching on:

  • What is resilience?
  • Why is resilience important?
  • How to Build Your Resilience

What is resilience?

Resilience is an ability, a habit, and a frame of mind. In its simplest form, it is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. To get back up and continue when the going gets tough. This is why I asked you whether you’re good in stressful situations. If someone cuts themselves and needs help, it’s a resilient mindset that will stay calm and support them.

In the eyes of an athlete, there are three defined factors for resilience in sports. A study titled ‘Resilience Scale for Athletes’ provides a factor analysis after interviewing a number of athletes during training. These are; self-determination, physical toughness, and emotional control & maturity. All of which support the development of resilience.

It must be noted that the road to resilience is not an easy journey. Whether you’re an athlete, an entrepreneur, or a parent, dealing with difficult or traumatic experiences can be challenging. Traumatic experiences come in many forms and each one of us will process them differently. 

From high work stress to the death of a loved one, the way we “bounce back” from experiences can actually lead to deep personal growth. From my own experiences, I can vouch for this. Coming from a challenging childhood and losing myself in the corporate world has affected my life. But after years of studying and self-revival, I have managed to recover from these experiences.


Why is resilience important

I used to imagine success as owning things but this is not truly satisfying. Why would it be? It wasn’t until I deconstructed my life and learnt how to recover from past trauma that I understood the power of resilience. It teaches you that failure is not the opposite of success. It’s the way to success.

Personal Growth

As much as resilience involves bouncing back from failure, it can also involve profound personal growth. Dealing with deep-rooted emotions takes time but is vital for clarity. My childhood involved a challenging parental relationship which created a number of traumatic memories. These can stick with you like glue for years. It took me a long time to realise the impact of my father. His influence had affected how I dealt with my own success. And since bouncing back into reality, my resilience to progress is unlimited.

Developing your passion

Discovering your passion is one thing, but developing it can take years. If you do not know what you’re passionate about, it’s not because something is wrong with you. You are going through a creative process, and you have to trust this process. Some manage to create it earlier than others, and some take a lot longer. 

In my case, it took 37 years to be able to define myself, and sometimes it may never happen. But there’s nothing to worry about because each of us is the creator of our own lives. We live it the way we want. Resilience will shape your determination and perseverance towards your passion. Accepting your failures and bouncing back into action will only propel you further towards success. 

No more procrastination

As mentioned in ‘The 4 Habits Hierarchy’, resilience is a key habit to stop procrastinating. When we start a difficult task or experience failure, it can be easy to give up. To ignore what we should be doing and delay the inevitable. It’s similar to self-sabotage, we begin to separate ourselves from the responsibility. But resilience is what allows us to recover from these difficulties. To stand tall and carry on. And if you’re unsure on what’s the right or wrong decision, just remember; imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.


Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction. Click To Tweet

How to Build Your Resilience

Divide it into chunks

In 2014, forty-eight adult athletes of the Banco do Brasil Beach Volleyball Circuit participated in a study. The objective of this study was to analyze the impact of coping strategies on the resilience of beach volleyball athletes. It was concluded that the following personal resources have a significant impact on the development of a resilient athlete.

  • Optimism
  • Competitiveness
  • Motivation
  • Maturity
  • Persistence

The US Army, however, use Master Resilience Training (MRT). A big part of this program is focusing on the mental factors behind resilience and how to grow them. These include:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Mental agility
  • Optimism
  • Connections
  • Character strengths

Optimism is vital in both athletes and army training. You could also say that mental agility and persistence are similar factors. We’re comparing athletes and the army because of their focus on factors. It allows resilience to be divided into separate chunks.

Recognising and reinforcing factors like these during your working day or morning workout will help to build your resilience. Dividing your development into factors will also help you to understand what makes you resilient. And hopefully, you won’t have a sergeant shouting in your face while doing so. 


Believe in Yourself

Believing in yourself is a choice. As human beings, we tend to focus on the negativity that is happening in our lives. One of my tips is to use a notebook to catch all the wins of the day, week, or the month. Write them down with big, bold fat letters a few times all around the page. It helps to enjoy what you’re doing. Make it valuable and see that you’re moving forward. Then you will start to feel good about failures. Failures become motivators, not setbacks.

If you’re struggling to start a task, make notes first, just a short draft. Then leave the task for a couple of hours and focus on other activities. You could go for a run, or meet a friend, or clean the bathroom. It always works for me, because after a few hours, I come back to my desk with a fresh bunch of thoughts. The time away from the task lets your brain process and bounce back.


Believing in yourself is a choice. Click To Tweet

Challenge yourself to fail

I know this sounds a bit counterproductive but it can really help. Challenging yourself to fail will guide you to turn this failure into success. And after a while, it will become a habit. The best part of this is, no matter how big or small, you also need to reward yourself for every achievement. 

Say it out loud: “that was awesome, that was great, good job, it was a good decision, this was the best!”. It may seem weird at first, but you will be blown away at how positive it can be. Talking to yourself can change your attitude to everything you are going to do for the rest of the day. And it will scare away any weirdos because they’ll think you’re even weirder.


What’s Next?

I hope you’ve found this breakdown of resilience useful. I’ve been researching the power of resilience recently, which is why I’ve included a number of interesting studies in this blog post. If you keep moving forward, believe in yourself, and remember that imperfect action is better than perfect inaction. You’ll be bouncing back in no time!

If you’re looking for more ideas on resilience, stay tuned!

I’ll be writing more blog posts over the coming months.

And if you’ve got any techniques of your own or opinions to share, feel free to leave a comment below.

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TED Talks

Super- Resilience: How to FALL UP by Dr. Gregg Steinberg

What Trauma Taught Me About Resilience by Charles Hunt

Grit: the power of passion and perseverance by Angela Lee Duckworth