Personal Development

7 Habits of Highly Resilient People

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The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
~Nelson Mandela~

Success is seldom a straight road; it almost always involves many detours and dead ends.   It takes tenacity and determination to keep going, but those that do will eventually reach their destination.   For example, Thomas Edison failed over 1000 times but continued on despite being ridiculed by the media and those around him. What is it about those that refuse to quit long after most would have given up that makes them different?   There are a number of attributes that consistently stand out amongst those who tenaciously follow their own path in life.

keep_going_road_motivationHave a highly developed sense of self

People who are able to develop a strong sense of who they are and what matters to them are much better able to resist external influences that will keep many people from reaching their potential. They are able to draw strength from within and therefore less likely to be influenced by what others think of them.   This strong inner strength helps them deflect criticism, alienation, ridicule and other factors that everyone who forges their own path, inevitably faces. While they do make strong connections with others they have powerful internal filters that allows them to block out and ignore information they don't find useful or of benefit to them. They are internally driven and believe that they are the best person to know and decide what is best for them.

Look for a positive take away from every situation

When things don't go according to plan, resilient people look for the learning in the situation and the lesson they can take away.   They don't view failure as final, rather a necessary learning step that will take them further along the path.   Instead of taking setbacks personally, they are seen as an inevitable part of the learning process and mentally prepare themselves to deal with them. Resilient people do not lose the lesson when they fail to achieve their objectives. They are mentally prepared for setbacks and expect the goals that they set will require a lot of time effort and therefore lose little enthusiasm or confidence when things don't go according to plan.

Take a long term view

Resilient people are prepared for the long haul, fully realizing that anything worth achieving will be difficult and will take a great deal of time, effort and persistence.   Despite not seeing any immediate results of their efforts, they are keenly aware that what their lives will look like in the future will be determined by their efforts today.   Their strong sense of the future motivates them to take action even when they see no immediate benefit and don't feel very motivated in the moment.

Have highly developed sense of purpose

Whether it is a belief in a higher power, a strong sense of purpose, or a great sense of humor, resilient people have sources of strength they can rely on to get them through difficult situations.   This decreases their sense to belong and rely upon others for motivation. They see their lives beyond the everyday routine and strongly feel the need to follow their own vision. Their motivation is intrinsic and they cannot be easily dissuaded from their chosen path by others.

Don't get frightened by uncomfortable thoughts or not having the answers

Most people believe that not knowing how to do something and not being able to, are one and the same thing.   Highly resilient people don't let not knowing how to do something stop them. They believe that they will find a way. They have faith in their ability to overcome whatever obstacles are in their path.   Expecting to find new situations uncomfortable and difficult, they are willing to accept this as part of the process.

Selective in whom they look to for guidance and inspiration

Highly resilient people don't suffer fools.   It's not that they never look to others for guidance and direction, it's that they are very selective in who they chose to follow. They look for mentorship in people who have achieved greatly and whom they admire.   Once they have found the people they chose to follow, they soak up all the information, guidance and inspiration they can by reading their books and listening to their spoken messages for insight.

Find healthy ways to recharge and nurture themselves

Resilient people are no less susceptible to pressures and life's stressors than anyone else, but they have developed healthy coping mechanisms they know can be counted on.   Whether it is meditation, exercise or an all-encompassing hobby, they have proven methods that allow them to recharge their energy and get back into pursuing their passion.   Personal growth and development for them is not a passing interest or flavor of the month, it is a way of life.

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About the author

Harvey Deutschendorf

Harvey Deutschendorf is an emotional intelligence expert, internationally published author and speaker. To take the EI Quiz go to His book THE OTHER KIND OF SMART, Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence for Greater Personal Effectiveness and Success has been published in 4 languages. Harvey writes for FAST COMPANY and has a monthly column with HRPROFESSIONALS MAGAZINE. You can follow him on Twitter @theeiguy