Resilience is the New Persistence

I think about resilience a lot.

About its relevance in day to day life. In everything we do.  In how we approach things and how we are judged.

It used to be enough to be persistent. To be forceful and to drive change. To believe in something and be determined to make it happen. But that’s not enough.  It’s how we come out the other end and what we learn in the process. How we handle ourselves when things don’t work and how we approach the next phase of that setback. And what we do with that knowledge and experience. In short – and in accordance with the definition of resilience – whether we have the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

Resilience is never more in the spotlight than during elite sports and the Olympic games is the greatest showcase of resilience – or lack of it.  Of course it’s easy to judge from the lounge room and expect the athletes to be super human not only in their selected sport but in their behaviour and ability to cope with the unimaginable stress.  We don’t understand how world champions and record breakers don’t automatically win the gold medals.  How some do and some don’t. It’s not enough to have the talent – you also need to have the character to take that talent to the top in the most extreme cases.  To have the resilience to cope with the most difficult of circumstances, the courage to be genuine and the grace to show empathy.

Resilience has never been so sought after in the corporate world too.  in recruitment it is a “soft skill” that has soared up the list of desired attributes at a rapid pace.  Right up there with empathy, curiosity and problem solving.  And don’t forget common sense and courage.  We now want all of these when hiring talent.  Persistence is great but without resilience we are a tad suspicious.

I love that we are now valuing these attributes as highly as academic success, titles, awards etc. That we are looking beyond the cv to the real essence of the person in a way we never have before. That the puzzle of each person we interview consists of lots of different pieces and as we carefully place them all in the right spots the full potential of the person comes to light.

That qualities such as resilience are now rated as they should be.

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