Managing Adversity: The Resilience Mindset
In order to move from a place of simply surviving in life to a place of thriving, resilience is a necessary trait. At a basic level resilience is our ability to bounce back from tragedies and difficulties we encounter in life.
At a more complex level, the resilience mindset embraces the idea that true resilience is our ability to navigate life, adapt to change, learn through adversity, and understand our feelings and emotional responses to situations. In order for this to be achieved, there must be a high level of personal awareness and insight which leads to a deep understanding of self (O’Keeffe, 2019).
Resilience is an asset when it comes to managing adversity because it helps us to overcome it. Rather than crumbling under the pressure and weight of every challenge we encounter, we become able to assess the challenge, learn and grow from it as we go through it, and then move forward with the lessons we’ve been taught (O’Keeffe, 2019). It is resilience that empowers us to continue moving forward, learning, and growing, and building on the things we are learning in life.
Keys to Developing a Resilient Mindset
In order to develop a resilient mindset, there are several qualities and practices that can be implemented. The following outlines several of those qualities and practices and their relation to the development of resilience.
- Optimism: A strong trait of those with a resilient mindset is an intentional optimistic outlook when approaching challenging situations. The way a person views a situation shapes the approach they take when dealing with the situation. A more positive outlook tends to yield a more positive outcome because individuals see opportunities as opposed to obstacles, and thus enthusiastically address issues versus hesitantly avoiding them (Mind Tools, 2020). Leading psychologist Martin Seligman explains that optimism is linked to resilience in that it helps people’s views on permanence, pervasiveness, and the personalization of hardships. Optimism leads people to see bad events as temporary rather than permanent, to prevent setbacks from impacting unrelated areas of their lives, and to not blame themselves when bad events occur. Thus, people can better pivot ad recover from challenges they experience (Mind Tools, 2020).
- Focus on What You Can Control: Learning to focus on what is within your control and releasing those things that are not is an important part of developing resilience. It is only those things within our control we have the ability to influence, thus exerting physical or mental and emotional energy on things outside of our control is mismanagement of time and energy (Miller, 2020). Individuals who spend their time and energy on what they can control become more resilient because they put their efforts towards those things that will have the greatest impact and produce the most results. This allows them to actually be effective and respond better to situations that arise (Mind Tools, 2020).
- Self-Awareness: Self-awareness is critical to the development of a resilient mindset. Self-awareness helps us to assess areas of ourselves and our lives where we need to improve and areas of our lives that are producing favorable results. Self-awareness offers us key insights about ourselves that we can use to change, adapt, grow, or alter ourselves, our environment, or other elements. This ultimately contributes to resilience by helping us keep patterns and habits that help us adapt and respond to challenges while becoming aware of and purging patterns and habits that work against our goals and pursuits.
If we can cultivate a resilient mindset our ability to cope with challenges in our lives will be strengthened. Rather than being overcome by negative situations and circumstances we will become empowered to overcome those situations and circumstances. By implementing the practices mentioned and others like it, we’ll be one step closer to better navigating the difficulties we encounter.
Miller, K. (2020). 5+ ways to develop a growth mindset using grit and resilience. PositivePsychology.com. https://positivepsychology.com/5-ways-develop-grit-resilience/
Mind Tools. (2020). Developing resilience: Overcoming and growing from setbacks. https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/resilience.htm
O’Keeffe, S. (2019, March 11). 4 aspects of a resilient mindset. https://thriveglobal.com/stories/4-aspects-of-a-resilient-mindse