Imagine you and your favourite colleague were both fired tomorrow. What would you do? What thoughts would you have? What actions would you take? How would it affect your mood and your self-esteem? How long would it take you to get back into the workforce? How long would it take for you to feel like yourself? Would you be faster or slower at all of those things than your colleague?

The answer to all of those questions lies in your ability to be resilient. How capable are you of handling adversity constructively?

Many people believe that resilience is an inherent trait – in other words, you either have it, or you don’t. The research is clear, however, that resilience is a combination of biology and learned behaviour. Resilience can be learned. You are quite likely more resilient than you give yourself credit for.

People tend not to embrace strategies when they believe they are incapable of using them. You won’t likely strive to become more resilient if you don’t believe that either you are resilient now, or that you have the capacity to get better. Let me attempt to convince you that: 1. You are already more resilient than you think and 2. You can learn to become even more resilient.

  1. You’ve been through some stuff: We probably don’t know each other personally and yet I am very confident in this statement. If you are old enough to read this, you have been through some challenges in your life. Compared to others they may seem small, or they may seem gargantuan. Either way, you have had to overcome something. Whether it was being bullied to school; surviving an illness; or something as innocuous as being stuck in bad traffic, we’ve all had to face something, and you are still here. You have overcome before, which means you can do it again.
  2. You’ve solved problems: Part of what makes you resilient is your ability to problem-solve. How well do you access resources and find a solution when faced with a problem? While we can always improve our attitude toward problems and our ability to solve them, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had to solve a problem or two in their lives. Most of us have done it in the last 24 hrs. This means you have the capacity for resilience.
  3. You have the ability to change your mind: It’s been said that how you see determines what you see. Perception matters, especially when it comes to our ability to be resilient. To be sure some people are more naturally inclined to see things in a positive and more constructive light than others, but the good news is, with practice, we can all change how we see things. Is the job loss a crisis, or is it an opportunity to find something even better? To some degree, the choice is yours.

Whatever you may have been told or come to believe about yourself, you have the capacity to be resilient. You can learn to be more resilient and you can practice skills and habits to grow your resilience. The question is, will you?