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When The Going Gets Tough . . . November 8, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.

When the going gets tough, how do you respond?

Do you collapse into a puddle of tears?  Do you give up?  Do you expect someone else to help you pick up the pieces?

Or do you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start over?

Are you resilient enough to bounce back quickly?

Not sure?

Resilient people share some common qualities ~ traits which you can cultivate in yourself to master any crisis:

1.  People who are resilient tend to be upbeat.  They expect difficulties to be temporary, and are confident in their ability to overcome them.  Feelings of loss, anger and discouragement don’t last long.

2.  Resilient folks adapt quickly to new developments.  They tend to be curious and ask questions.  They reframe situations with a positive spin.  e.g., Barn’s burnt down . . . now I can see the moon.

3.  Folks who bounce back easily from setbacks tend to see the humor in situations and are quick to laugh at themselves.  They are self confident and don’t worry much about momentary embarrassments (if they get embarrassed at all).

4.  They see silver linings in dark clouds  and benefits in (almost) any situation.  They realize that “bad” experiences often lead to valuable lessons.

5.  They allow their expectations to have fluidity.  They focus on enjoying the journey through life without having a set destination in mind.  They tend to go with the flow, switching course as necessary.

6.  They can tolerate high levels of ambiguity and uncertainty.  They let life unfold, step by step, curious to see what waits around the bend, realizing that when everything’s uncertain . . . all things are possible.

Some people are “naturally” more resilient but our level of resilience can be cultivated.

Last question:  Is increased resilience something you wish to cultivate?

If so, the first step is to observe the “spin” you put on situations.  When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, reframe them in a more positive way:  “If I change X, I’ll get a better outcome,” rather than “I never do anything right.”

Related posts:  Hang Ten:  Riding the Waves of Dismay * The AwakeningBut I Might Die Tonight * Year of the CatA Writer’s Life For MeOur Field of Dreams * Our Internal CompassKeep Writing *  A Somewhat Disorderly Life (The Water Witch’s Daughter)


1. Shannon Sullivan - November 8, 2010

Resiliency is definitely a skill I am trying to cultivate. Thank you for the advice!

nrhatch - November 8, 2010

The more we TRAIN ourselves to BOUNCE BACK (rather than waiting for assistance from others) . . . the easier life becomes.

We switch thoughts from bemoaning the “Bad” Bits . . . and refocus on the good stuff.

We remain energized and enthusiastic and curious and invigorated, instead of allowing life to beat us down.

2. Paula Tohline Calhoun - November 8, 2010

Perhaps I should have added to Part 5: I know now that I will never put salt into cheesecake again! I’ll also probably always use a 9″ x 13″ pan for the Mrs. Penrose goodies – although I’m thinking I’ll give the cupcakes one more try! 😀

nrhatch - November 8, 2010

You are the PERFECT example of a resilient spirit . . . someone who sees the humor in the spilled milk BEFORE it’s even been mopped up!

Cindy - November 8, 2010

I agree 🙂

3. Barbara Gunn - November 8, 2010

Might as well learn to be resilient because the only thing we are in charge of is how we react to what happens! Someone once told me I always twist thing around. He was right!!

nrhatch - November 8, 2010

When we control our thoughts . . . we are so much more in control of everything else.

You strike me as quite resilient!

4. Barbara Gunn - November 8, 2010

You talkin to me Nancy??

Cindy - November 8, 2010

No Barbara, I think she’s talking to me…

nrhatch - November 8, 2010

You both get high marks in resilience! 🙂

5. Patricia - November 8, 2010

I guess I am resilient. I know I am having a good time. Well, there are times that are not so good and some have been truly awful–but hey even in those times there have been some really good laughs.

Whatever it is I say bring it on!

nrhatch - November 8, 2010

Bring it, baby! Here’s to living out loud. 🙂

6. Booksphotographsandartwork - November 8, 2010

It’s very difficult when you weren’t born this way. Also depends on who I am around or how I feel.

nrhatch - November 8, 2010

I was definitely NOT born this way . . . I learned over time how to CHOOSE to view the world.

It was time well spent.

7. souldipper - November 9, 2010

Ahhhh… I asked my mom when she turned 85 what word she would chose to have as a descriptor for her. Without a blink, she said, “Resilient.” Good to see the traits you have presented.

nrhatch - November 9, 2010

Resilience helps us weather the storms.

8. Expressmom - November 9, 2010

Great post! Should be on every high school syllabus. As, unduly, confident todays teenagers are, they expect Mommy & Daddy to come to the rescue whenever there is a crisis of any level.

nrhatch - November 9, 2010

I agree.

When we lack resilience, we tend to becomd “victims” of life . . . always waiting around for someone else to come pick up the pieces instead of exercising ingenuity to put them back together (in a new and exciting way) by ourselves.

9. Judson - November 9, 2010

Nancy —

Ha! The people I hang out with on my alma mater’s sports message board call this “sunshine pumping” … fans who do not get totally bent out of shape following every loss, or even every less-than-stellar win are guilty. The ones who try to put things in perspective.

I choose to try to look on the bright side. I’m labeled a sunshine pumper.

So be it!, LOL

— Judson

nrhatch - November 9, 2010

Pump sunshine!!! Whoot!!!

Sports is definitely low on my list of things to get worked up about . . .

Unless, of course, I had big money riding on the game. 🙂

10. suzicate - January 16, 2011

Resilience…love the strength of the word alone, so yes it’s a quality to which I aspire though somwtimes not as well as I’d like.

nrhatch - January 16, 2011

I found your last post to be filled with examples of resilience and acceptance.

When we are swimming against the current of life, when we learn to go with the flow, life becomes easier. 🙂

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