This is a very interesting question because there are different beliefs around the presence of resilience in the human body or brain.
Some people think that we humans are born with it or not (DNA, genetic origin). Others believe it can be acquired as we go on in life and through different experiences. Others think that religious faith makes us act with more resilience.
It certainly is not a substance than can be injected or swallowed. There are many particularly in the psychology profession that believes it can be taught, instilled.
I’m of the view that some people can be taught or coached resilience or better still coached:
• How to promote their own resilience, or
• How to avoid the bad steps that may destroy their resilience/lives.
In my modest opinion, resilience or lack thereof is a very complex subject that requires a “pluralistic approach and observation” (wide lenses of the photo camera)
To start we could say, resilience is a combination of thoughts, behaviour, attitude, personal choices, definitely not a substance! We cannot order anyone (to switch on and off) to behave in a “resilient manner”, can we? Conversely, a series of changes in people’s behaviour may or may not promote a “more resilient attitude” and or behaviours
When it comes to CHOICES, it comes to mind: the “Half glass full – Half glass empty” analogy and when Aristotles said: “There is nothing good or bad in this world, it’s only the mind that makes it so”.
Self-determination is a huge part of the resilient person, “want to want”, stick-ability, perseverance, persistence, pride, faith, self-belief all are contributing factors into this equation. Our DNA together with the experiences in the womb may bring certain doses of fragility in front of certain risky situations or perhaps more endure-ability needed to promote more resilience to overcome them.
So good habits can be taught, mentored and coached. Perfect repetition makes perfect performances. We have around the world a huge history in sports of those that choose the right path and a percentage that choose the wrong one. In sports the athletes are under constant scrutiny of coaches, fellow players, opposition, referees, the public and the media. So, they got to be resilient or else……….
I’d like to be able to conduct a study (all long career athletes) such as: Michael Jordan, Nadia Comaneci, Lance Armstrong (who bent every rule in front of him), Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Wayne Gretzki, Mark Spitz, Babe Ruth, OJ Simpson, Pele, and Martina Navratilova. Then ask them two key questions: a) If they ever felt short of resilience in their prolonged careers?; and b) Whether today have or don’t have sufficient resilience for every day’s life or when trouble encounters them?.
This study alone may not demonstrate or provide us much to play with because here we are talking about a 1% of the population if that! However, I believe this selected group may be compared with a study of another group (their peers) and particularly with those that didn’t do that well in sports and life.
This is a terrific topic because we all come from a very different make up and origins. The many manifestations provide a scope for lots of observations and investigations in order to determine how RESILIENCE is provided by our brain and utilized by our conscience, al happening together.
I definitely believe that resilience is very coachable (education) and behaviours could be adjusted and maneuvered around to facilitate its presence.
ETR – 29/01/2014