What Do Resilient People Do Differently?

I have often been asked, “How do you manage to go through times of adversity?“

In my last article Want to create a “happy” organisational culture? I share two definitions of happiness.

I stand behind the second one, which is happiness is “living a rich, full, and meaningful life.”

It makes sense for me to continue writing about success and ask you the question: “What makes you successful, when times get tough?” Happiness and success are the things we all want to have in life. And we define them differently, because we are different and have unique understanding about ourselves and life in general. Being successful for me means to achieve what you truly want in different aspects of your life (deeply connected with who you are and what you value), no matter what stands in your way.

I dedicate this article to a friend of mine, who is going through a transition and is open to learn and implement “the success formula,” when challenges come in her life. Coping with challenges, which stand in our way to success, very often relates to resilience.

What is Resilience?

The simple definition of the Mariam-Webster dictionary is: the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens.

Why do you think some people are more resilient than others? What do they do differently?

Recently I was reading “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown, and an extract I read just lighted the bulb. Why? Because it brought more understanding of my own journey and the answer of the question “How did you manage to succeed, going through all these extreme challenges and pain?”

Let’s go back again to the definition of happiness. “When we take action on the things that truly matter deep in our hearts, move in directions that we consider valuable and worthy.”

The one secret ingredient for success is HOPE… Practising hope.

While I was reading about hope, I was travelling back and revisiting my past journey, and was thinking what really helped me to go through the times of adversity. This was exactly what Brene Brown observed, while doing her research work.

Brene Brown found out that the five most common factors of resilient people are: 

  1. They are resourceful and have good problem-solving skills
  2. They are more likely to seek help
  3. They believe they can do something that will help them to manage their feelings and to cope
  4. They have social support available to them
  5. They are connected with others, such as family or friends.

I can assert positively that these five factors were also the propellers for my success over the years and especially in hard times. I can also affirm this for other people I know really well. May I call these “the patterns of successful and resilient people”?

I was truly impressed by what I learned about HOPE. This actually answers the question of my wonderful friend. I remember the dialogue we had two weeks ago, when she was recovering after an episode of disappointment and pain. And I remember how I was talking to her about HOPE and how much she needs to cultivate it. I was feeling from her words that she was not confident enough about what she was speaking. It felt like she wanted it, but she did not actually believe and hope that she could have it.

What Brene Brown observed in the resilient people was that they cultivate hope. Brene says, that hope is not an emotion; it is a way of thinking, or a cognitive process. Emotions play a supporting role, but hope is really a thought process. In very simple terms, hope happens when:

  • We have the ability to set realistic goals (I know where I want to go)
  • We are able to figure out how to achieve those goals, including the ability to stay flexible and develop alternative routes (I know how to get there, I’m persistent, and I can tolerate disappointment and try again)
  • We believe in ourselves (I can do this)

So, hope is a combination of setting goals, having the tenacity and perseverance to pursue them, and believing in our own abilities.

When I read this I was really amazed, because I finally understood that we can learn to practice hope. And that is why I called it, the secret ingredient to success. Before reading this, I imagined that some people simply were resilient and they could do better than others, but now that I know, what researches have proven makes perfect sense to me and brings relief.

We can train ourselves to practice hope and it starts with clarity about what truly matters deeply in our hearts – our purpose, our core values. The next step is to set goals and dedicate efforts in taking small and purposeful actions every single day. This is where persistency and discipline, the two other important ingredients for success, come in the “basket with ingredients” for success. To add more to the success formula: being open to receive help. Connectedness to oneself and others you trust is such an important component.

With cultivating hope, pursuing our goals with tenacity and perseverance, and connecting with ourselves (meaningful purpose and values) and people who we deeply trust, we can resiliently go through storms in life.

 At the end, I want to share a belief, which implemented in our life makes a huge difference:,

We are responsible for developing our own success formula, so that the people, places, and things in our lives work the way we choose.

Are you curious to know how you can manage challenges and turn them into opportunities and success?