According to legend, Thomas Edison made thousands of prototypes of the light bulb before he finally got it right. Moreover, since this prolific inventor was awarded more than 1,000 patents, it is easy to imagine him failing on a daily basis in his lab..

In spite of struggling with "failure" throughout his entire working life, Edison never let it get the best of him. His resilience gave the world some of the most amazing inventions of the early 20th century, such as the phonograph, the telegraph, and the motion picture.


Resilience (or resiliency) is our ability to adapt and bounce back when things do not go as planned. Resilient people do not wallow or dwell on failures; they acknowledge the situation, learn from their mistakes, and then move forward.

Factors that can influence resilience include family environment, personality, previous work experience, education, maturity, intelligence, physical fitness, diet, exercise and current family circumstances.

Three elements that are essential to your resilience:

Commitment - is the tendency for you to see the world as interesting and meaningful. Resilient people are committed to their lives and their goals, and they have a compelling reason to get out of bed in the morning. Commitment is not just restricted to your work – you have to commit to your relationships, your friendships, the causes you care about and your religious or spiritual beliefs.

Control - is the belief in your ability to control or influence events. Resilient people spend their time and energy focusing on situations and events that they have control over. You have to put your efforts where you can have the most impact; you feel empowered and confident. If you spend time worrying about uncontrollable events you can often feel lost, helpless, and powerless to take action.

Challenge - involves you seeing change and new experiences as exciting opportunities to learn and develop. Resilient people view a difficulty as a challenge, not as a paralysing event. You must look at your failures and mistakes as lessons to be learned from, and as opportunities for growth. You do not view them as a negative reflection on their abilities or self-worth.

Several further attributes are common in resilient people:

Resilient people have a positive image of the future. That is, they maintain a positive outlook, and envision brighter days ahead.

Resilient people have solid goals, and a desire to achieve these aims.

Resilient people are empathetic and compassionate, however, they do not waste time worrying what others think of them. They maintain healthy relationships but don't bow to peer pressure.

Resilient people never think of themselves as victims – they focus their time and energy on changing the things that they have control over.

How you view adversity and stress strongly affect how you succeed, and this is one of the most important reasons that having a resilient mindset is so important.

The fact is that you are going to fail from time to time: it is an inevitable part of living that you make mistakes and occasionally fall flat on you face. The only way to avoid this is to live a shuttered and meagre existence, never trying anything new or taking a risk. I doubt you want to live life like that!

What do I see from all our Resilience assessments?

I am seeing some weak scores beginning to appear in Commitment and in Challenge. Especially in the latter - Challenge.

Are you somebody like this?

  • Avoid change or surprises at all cost
  • Never take a risk
  • Live your life by strict rules that never change
  • Never change your schedule
  • Criticise yourself for failure
  • Avoid anything new

So what is the solution?

  • Remind yourself – Change is an opportunity to learn!
  • Allow for variation and surprise in daily schedules
  • Be willing to change your plans to meet changing circumstances
  • When you do fail at something, ask yourself “What can I learn from this?”
  • Try new things

We are seeing some close correlations between resilience and decision-making in our assessments and research. In order to keep the article brief, I have not discussed Hardiness and Wellness which are all closely related to Resilience.

I hope you found this useful. If you would like to know more or would like to have your team or yourself assessed, please contact us.