What made Edison great?
The same thing that made Bruce Lee into The Dragon.
The same thing that created Milton Hershey’s iconic candy bar.
That made our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln.
Do you see the theme?
Dr. Lucy Hone’s TED Talk in Christchurch explains what makes resilient people succeed: they know the world is shit, but it isn’t going to break them. They pick their battles, and can let the non-core issues go. They know that it isn’t all shiny Instagram unicorns and fluffy clouds, but they find the rainbows among the storms to make it through the hardest days. She had taught resiliency to soldiers but then she had to live it: her 12 year old daughter was killed in a car accident.
Admiral Stockdale’s Paradox of survival in the Vietnam POW camps: “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end —which you can never afford to lose —with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.” ~ James Stockdale
Viktor Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning discusses pausing while slaving away in the concentration camps to stare at the beauty of the sun breaking from behind the clouds, of God’s grandeur in the bleakest situation and making it through another minute, and another, and another. And after the horror being different but alive and adaptable in a way he would never have comprehended beforehand. Resilient.
Balancing difficulties with belief in the future is the core of this resilience. Being pushed to or past limits without losing the core belief systems, without losing hope while “embracing the suck” as many military veterans describe it. Their dark humor might be a coping mechanism, yet they aren’t giving up the fight that many still carry and each day they need to find a way to survive and win that day. Resilient.
The Science of Resilience from Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child takes a tremendous number of hours of research and consolidates it into a few minutes of scientific insight. You should watch it and ask yourself: how can I balance hope and what is currently occurring? How can I adapt and overcome?
As a martial artist I repeatedly dealt with “career ending” injuries, though none as severe as Bruce Lee’s broken back. I was told I’d never be the same, nor compete at the same level. And yet I would come back smarter, tougher, better. More resilient. A champion. The only career ending injury is breaking my spirit.
If you can become resilient, you can not fail. Because failure only happens when you don’t get back up after being knocked down again. “Nobody hits as hard as life” Rocky Balboa proclaimed. But you get up and keep fighting, “and that’s how winning is done.”
You might not go bankrupt multiple times like Hershey, or fail ten thousand times like Edison. But if you refuse to lay down when you are hurt, if you keep going through the Hell and grow and change and keep fighting, you can start to win and become unstoppable.
Because you are Resilient.