What is resilience? 

According to the Cambridge dictionary, “resilience is the ability to be happy, successful, etc. again after something difficult or bad has happened”. The Oxford learner’s dictionary describes resilience as “the ability of people or things to recover quickly after something unpleasant, such as shock, injury, etc”. Finally, defines resilience as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”

The meaning is very clear to me. Resilience is the ability to bounce back after a setback. Now, one thing in life that is certain is that you will have setbacks. Things will happen that you didn’t anticipate and aren’t prepared for. Life is full of twists and turns, with many detours along the way. Although this is not something you can control, what you can control is how you respond to these bumps along the way.

What makes the difference in how quickly you bounce back is your level of resilience. Do you sit and wallow in self-pity or do you shift gears from disappointment to problem-solving and ultimately success? Your ability to make that shift is what will allow you to move past the failure/disappointment/setback. Resilient people are the ones who make lemonade when life hands them lemons. 

If you examine the lives of successful people, you will observe that they all have something in common – resilience. They all attained success because they didn’t give up when the going got tough. It is not how many times you get knocked down that matters, rather it is how many times you get back up. If you don’t get back up, you will never succeed. Resilience originates in the mind and the mind is a very powerful tool. It gives us hope, which I think, is the root of resilience.

Here are a few tips to help you make that mental shift from hopeless to hopeful:

  1. Acknowledge the setback. If you don’t acknowledge it, you can’t address it. Allow yourself to feel the emotions that come with the setback. But…
  2. Don’t dwell on the disappointment indefinitely. Accept that the setback has occurred and it is now out of your control. Find a way to move past it by focusing on the things that are within your control.
  3. Find things to be grateful for. Although you may feel like your world has ended, there is always someone out there who wishes they were in your position. Every day that you wake up is another opportunity to work towards turning things around.
  4. Don’t blame yourself for what has happened. Even if it has occurred because of a poor choice/decision, you can’t change the past so focus on moving forward.
  5. Determine what you need to do next. Start by analyzing what has happened and the impact that it has on you. Once you understand the impact, think about what is the next best thing that you can do to recover. What has the current setback taught you? How can you apply those lessons going forward?
  6. Write some new goals and develop a plan of action to achieve them. Take one small step at a time until you achieve each milestone. Be sure to take some time to celebrate every small victory. This will give you the confidence to keep trying.
  7. Develop and maintain supportive relationships. These people will be the ones who will hold you up when the chips are down and you feel like giving up. Their support will give you the confidence to keep trying. Cherish them. 

Finally, take care of yourself! Eat properly, get enough sleep and exercise. Taking care of your physical health will give you the energy to do the things that you need to do to keep moving forward. 

Never give up! It is not over until you are six feet under so no matter what it is, don’t quit. I leave you with two quotes from Sir Winston Churchill. “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” and “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” 



January 31, 2022 at 1:10 pm

Excellent tips. Sometimes I just want to throw in the towel but then I remember to dust off and go again.

Phyllis Wint
February 1, 2022 at 2:11 pm

Thank you. We all feel like giving up sometimes. Encouragement like this helps us to keep going.

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