In the book Survivor’s Club, there’s a ten-step plan to develop resilience. One of these, I think, sounds silly, but in reality, all of them are very good.
Practice optimism– not the Stockdale kind of optimism, but that (sometimes illusory) belief that you control the outcome of events. That hope for things in the future. That positive attitude that you will figure it out. That is the attitude that will help you succeed.
Identify a resilient role model. Look for people in your world who have bounced back from adversity and learn how they did it. How many of you have somebody in your head that is as tough as nails? Do you have that person in your head? That’s your resilient role model.
Most of us, we look at successful people and we think “Oh they were born with a silver spoon in their mouth. They have a charmed life.”You do not want to imitate a person with a charmed life because they are poinsettias – they won’t last until February. One of the things I’ve found with successful people is no one ever asks them how they became successful. People always ask successful people for money, not for advice. If you want to have what that wealthy person has, ask them how they did it. In most cases, those successful people have NOT led charmed lives. They typically have had to overcome tremendous adversity. I have rarely met a successful person who hasn’t experienced tremendous adversity.
If you want to learn how to develop resilience, ask a person who has been through hardship. Frankly, those people are typically old. If you are young and you don’t talk to any old people who have been through adversity to figure out how they overcame, then you’re doing yourself a disservice.
So identify someone as tough as nails. If you imitate the behavior and thought patterns of the tough as nails person, you are practicing self-efficacy by modeling your life on someone who is already resilient.