The building blocks of entrepreneurship: Resilience

29 Aug 2018


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Resilience is the ability to adapt and bounce back when things don’t go as we planned or expected. It is learning not to dwell on failures but to take stock of the situation, acknowledge your mistakes, learn from them, and move forward with vigour.

According to the leading psychologist Susan Kobasa, there are three elements that are key to resilience: an individual’s approach to challenge, commitment, and personal control.

Rising to the challenge

Resilient people stare a challenge in the eye and deal with it the best way they know how, whereas others may be paralysed with fear or afraid to take necessary action. It may be a cliché, but understanding that hurdles must be overcome – and that this enriches the human and business experience – enables you to maintain a positive outlook on the future, even in the face of adversity.

Demonstrating commitment

Resilient people are committed to their lives and their goals. They have a compelling reason to get out of bed every morning. This commitment may not necessarily be just to their job, but will apply across the board to their relationships, friendships, sporting activities and other areas of their lives. They tend to set measurable and achievable targets, which move them towards a vision of where they are heading in the future.

Exerting control

Resilient people commit their time and energy to tackling situations over which they have some element of control, rather than on areas of their life they cannot influence. This means that their efforts are concentrated on where they can have a tangible impact. While they maintain healthy relationships, they rarely bow to peer pressure or concern themselves about what others may think.

Not everyone can be resilient in every situation. Even the most hardened businesspeople are human beings, and sometimes we are thrown a curve ball which causes us to wobble. The point about resilience is that the curve ball makes only a tiny dent in our timeline, and doesn’t need to throw us off course or overwhelm our lives.


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