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Resilience by Harvard Business Review

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Understanding Resilience

Resilience is the ability to face and understand the world with a calm attitude and bounce back after strain. It is essential for both individuals and companies. Strong values often correlate with higher resilience.

Building Resilience

While humor can contribute to resilience, it alone is not enough. Three crucial elements enhance resilience:

  1. Acceptance of Reality: Recognize and accept the reality of your situation.
  2. Belief in Life’s Meaning: Find meaning in life, especially during hardships.
  3. Ability to Improvise Solutions: Develop the capability to think creatively and adapt to new situations.

The Power of Improvisation

Improvisation helps in achieving a vision by allowing you to consider new approaches. Under stress, people often revert to habitual patterns and set procedures. Companies that excel in resilience often have meaningful rules and set procedures that free workers to enhance processes and overcome obstacles. For example, UPS drivers were able to continue deliveries after a disaster by following set procedures and using their initiative to adapt to changing circumstances.

Learning from Challenges

Resilient individuals view challenging times as learning opportunities. Instead of adopting a victim mentality, they ask, “Why not me?” and seek to discover what they can learn from the situation. They also practice positive self-talk and mindfulness to enhance their resilience and ability to bounce back.

Handling Feedback

When receiving feedback, avoid reacting impulsively. Take time to consider whether to disregard or accept the feedback. Separate the person giving the feedback from the feedback itself and evaluate both factors. When seeking feedback, ask for just one suggestion. This approach encourages broader input and makes it easier to learn from others.

Bouncing Back

The ability to bounce back is crucial, and each situation requires a different approach. Decide whether you need to show genuine repentance, clear your name, or take another action. For instance, not signing a non-disclosure agreement might be necessary but could incur financial risks, so weigh each option carefully.


Properly recharging is key to maintaining resilience. The busier and more stressed you become, the more important it is to find time to recharge. Ensuring you have time to rest and recover is essential for sustaining resilience in the long term.

By incorporating these principles, you can build and maintain resilience, enabling you to face challenges and bounce back stronger than before.

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