Role of Resilience in Success – Overcoming Adversity For Lasting Results

The role of resilience in success can be defined quickly as the “variable constant”. Many other factors will be attributed, whether it be luck, timing, natural ability or a host of other elements, there is only one variable on a long enough timeline that will always be present. That variable is resilience, the ability to overcome obstacles which lie in one’s path on the road to success. Often overlooked or dismissed as stubbornness, it is resilience that has ultimately led to the technological and social advancements that our society enjoys today. Listed below are the reasons resilience is important in reaching success, ways to determine whether you are practicing resilient behaviour and examples of extremely successful people who became so only by being resilient.

The role of resilience in success – How reaching the top happens through individual tenacity.

Have you ever been witness to an event that left you utterly awestruck? I’ve been privy to such an event in only a handful of instances, though in every case an individual had the following traits, which ultimately allowed for the role of resilience in success:

  • An ability to keep one’s own counsel and not allowing outside opinion to sway the individual from the goal.
  • A clear idea of what the goal in fact was, allowing for certainty of completion, as well as an ability to establish checkpoints along the way.
  • A previous model, or similar experience to use as a basis for completing their undertaking.
  • A role model or mentor to use as a resource when required during points of increased complication, or introduction of new variables.
  • A positive mindset that allowed the individual to carry on undeterred at times of very slow, or virtually no progress.



The role of resilience in success is one of necessity. As per the last trait listed in the previous paragraph, a positive mindset may be the only thing that allows an individual to carry on. Waking up each day and having the intestinal fortitude to carry on when all visible conditions are telling you to give up may be the only reason you succeed. Often it will come down to a war of attrition with your goal and having the ability to see it through one day longer, having lost coin, cohorts and confidence along the way. This willpower may be initially cast aside as sheer stubbornness and it may well be. The point is, when determination is directed in the right way, it can make for a formidable force.


The role of resilience in success – Do you practice resilient behavior?

Resilience is rooted by definition in the latin phrase meaning, to “spring back”.  When do you practice the spring back mindset?  Here are few thoughts for consideration, to determine whether you are currently practicing resilience in your daily life:

  • When faced with a problem do you typically create at least one, if not multiple solutions to the problem, or do you only see the problem without solution?
  • Do you incorporate the help of someone more experienced if the challenge lies outside the scope of your knowledge base?
  • If you find a way to succeed at a problem which has taken considerable effort to solve, do you consider the solution a “one off”, or do you template the system you used to solve the problem; incorporating it as a process for solving future issues that arise?
  • When you are up against great resistance and slow progress, are you able to keep the failures in perspective and in the context of a much greater overall goal?

The role of resilience in success – Techniques to practice

If you’re facing difficulties in reaching your goals, or even in everyday life – whether it be now or in the future, here a few techniques you can incorporate into your daily routine to develop a resilience mindset.

  • Consider meditating.  Simple breathing allows for better focus, easier transition to a calm state, as well as an opportunity to more easily find both context and gratitude.
  • Ask yourself what will happen if you don’t follow through.  Often the answer is “nothing”, which means the current state of discontent will continue.  A desire to transition to a state of contentment will be enough to spur you on past the temporary roadblock.
  • Remind yourself “why”.  Why is it you began down the road you are on?  For myself, I keep a journal as I am moving towards any goal – whether it be tangible, or more philosophic.  Either way, having a point of reference allows you to easily crystallize your thoughts and reinvigorate your efforts.

The role of resilience in success – Famous people who also struggled before reaching success

Thomas Edison

The inventor who brought us so poetically to the”light” we take for granted today, once had resistence from even the most trusted of sources. A collegue took pity on the amount of effort going into thousands of failed attempts during Edison’s research into battery storage, questioning what the inventor had to show for it.  Edison advised his friend that  “results” were what he had to show for his efforts, adding that he had discovered several thousand ways which didn’t work, thus leading him closer to the one method which would.


William Saroyan

The Pulitzer Prize winning author (The Human Comedy – publ.1943) began writing early and developed a very thick skin, as the rejection letters mounted.  Saroyan kept the rejection letters, which eventually climbed to a staggering count numbering over 7,000.  If anyone had been provided the information giving up was a road he should take, it was Saroyan.  Still, all of the rejection letters didn’t hold the weight of the single letter advising he was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for best story.


Charles Darwin

In Robert Greene’s book, “Mastery” the author discusses how the famous evolutionary researcher was initally a very poor fit with the crew of the HMS Beagle.  It was only after steady observation and trial and error style of employing different social tactics that Darwin was eventually accepted.  It was this same technique of observation that allowed the researcher to make such detailed study while in South America and in particular the Galapagos, ultimately leading to the naturalist’s unparalleled advances in evolutionary study and theory of natural selection.


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