Success Through Resilience

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Post written by Tony Ferretti, Ph.D.

How have you coped with adversity?  We all must deal with hardship in our lives.  Why do some individuals fall apart under pressure while others thrive? Resilience is the answer.  Research shows that resilience prevents depression and anxiety, raises self-control and confidence, provides a sense of empowerment, and improves learning power.

Resilience can be defined as the process of adapting or coping well in the face of adversity.  What many people don’t realize is that resilience isn’t a “you have it or you don’t” phenomenon.  Coping is a skill set, and these skills can be learned.  Those individuals who “fall apart” under pressure are often those who just never learned how to cope.

Perseverance is an essential component of resilience.  Thomas Edison is a good example here.  He failed over a thousand times before creating a practical light bulb.  Yet he persisted.  As with Edison, we may fail at times – perhaps repeatedly.  If we’re resilient, we bounce back.  We persist.

This ability to hang in there, to continue taking risks and stretching ourselves, despite our failures often creates the opportunity for our ultimate success.  The fact is that most successful people have failed (even repeatedly), but their resilience has enabled them to press on.  We can learn from failure, if we are willing to adapt and persist.

Resilience, like a muscle, grows stronger the more you use it.  But first you have to start exercising.  I recommend the acronym “CONQUER!” as a guide to working the resilience muscle.

  • C is for “Connections.”  Life is all about relationships.  Simply stated, “people need people.”  Social support and close interpersonal relationships are extremely helpful in coping.
  • Optimism is all about having a positive attitude and outlook. Keeping problems in perspective and focusing on the big picture makes the pressure not seem so overwhelming.
  • Nurture yourself.  Exercise, eat a healthy diet, get some sleep, try to relax and have fun even in the hardship.
  • Accept the Quest that can be an opportunity for personal growth, self-discovery, and character building.  Reframe the experience to recognize the benefits it can bring.
  • Choose to be Unflappable in the face of adversity.  Controlling your response is empowering and builds resilience.
  • Expect that change and stress will come.  Life never stands still.
  • Be Relentless.  Decide to persist despite the pressure.

Remember that you’re not the first person to face problems and pressure in your life, and you won’t be the last either.  You can choose to fall apart, or you can choose to persist, to endure, to outlast and to succeed.  Choose success.  Choose resilience!

Dr. Tony Ferretti is a licensed psychologist specializing in helping clients to recognize the addictive nature of power, control, and success.  In his latest best selling book, Change Your Life, Not Your Wife: Marriage Saving Advice For Success-Driven People, Dr. Ferretti brings insights from his unique clinical experience to the general public.  A gifted communicator, Dr. Ferretti has been a guest on Dr. Phil and numerous talk radio shows nationwide.  He’s also hosted his own show, Talk to Tony, a popular weekly call-in radio series on psychological topics. His co-author, Dr. Peter Weiss, is physician and healthcare executive with a passion for helping others to health and wellness. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Weiss currently serves as an executive for the Adventist Health System in Orlando, Florida.


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