Resilience is about the ability to bounce back when you ‘fail’ or events go ‘wrong’. Often this is a perception rather than a fact because the outcome or result will be self-assessed, relative to other people’s achievements, and/or relative to one’s own or other people’s perception of success.
To build resilience you have to experience ‘failure’ and events or outcomes that go ‘wrong’, and develop coping mechanisms for moving on. As children, and adults, we are often told that we must ‘learn from our mistakes’. This negative language does not help. In particular, it does not help those who are risk averse or who do not have support, as they will be less inclined to step outside of their comfort zone and to try again for fear of ‘failing’. And yet, it is only through the iterative process of applying what we have learnt from one situation to another that we develop those essential coping mechanisms for moving on. We only truly ‘learn’ from our experiences when we have the opportunity to try again.
Resilience implies that you have the ability to ‘bounce back’ time and time again. That’s not always easy. Why? Because we are human and everyone has their breaking point. In addition, situations (and people) are complex, and resilience in one situation may not translate into resilience in another. Resilience cannot be achieved through learning or developing coping strategies overnight. It is something that you build upon and have to adapt to different situations.