Resilience 101
by Lea Sicat Reyes

Last Thursday, I was given the opportunity to speak to young leaders from different Paulinian colleges and universities in the Philippines. The central theme of my talk was RESILIENCE. Whether at home, in school, or at work, resilience is one life skill that is essential in nurturing a healthy mental state naturally leading to better personal and professional relationships.

What is resilience? Let me go to its most basic etymology. It comes from the Latin word “resilire” which means to spring back or recover. It is the ability to come back with guns blazing, so to speak, after facing adversity eyeto- eye.

According to a new research by the Harvard Business School, gone are the days when the #1 trait of an exemplary business leader was cutthroat efficiency. Wellrespected leaders are no longer those who deliver results sans compassion. It is emotional quotient that registered the highest which was surprising to say the least. Given that the corporate world, at least in the outside, seems cold and calculating, this research puts forth a clear conclusion: people gravitate towards leaders with a heart.

This is where resilience comes in. In the aforementioned research, resilience was one of the make or break factors where “leaders with a heart” were concerned. Resilience allows a leader to be open to change. Resilience inspires a leader to see opportunity in the midst of challenges. Resilience keeps a leader fixed on the prize for the long haul. Resilience makes a leader accepting of dissenting opinion and strives towards finding common ground. Resilience reminds a leader to persevere, to keep on swimming no matter how strong the opposing tide. Such a leader becomes the team’s anchor and compass. He/She leads while being grounded.

We can extend the findings of this research to daily life. One can just imagine the heights a person can soar when he/she is resilient. The question is: How do we develop resilience? Starting early is the best ways to do so. Parents can teach their children resilience in the most mundane ways. Here are some ideas. Let us not completely insulate them from challenges. Let us allow them to stand up by themselves when they fall. Let us be kind with words even when they make mistakes. Practice setting goals and give them the necessary space to achieve them. These small things, when practiced consistently, will come as a huge help to our children when their time to step into the real world finally comes. It will teach them to persevere, to be open to constructive criticism, and to rise to the occasion when obstacles face them. They will not break. They will be resilient.

Resilience is a great life skill to imbibe and to live out. As famous poet Maya Angelou so succinctly put it:

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. Please remember that your difficulties do not define you. They simply strengthen your ability to overcome.”

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