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Preventing Third World America Step 2: Tap Into Your Resilience

First Posted: 08/20/10 08:15 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 06:25 PM ET

Why is it that some people are crushed by economic hardships like job loss or foreclosure, while others are able to weather even the most trying circumstances?

Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatté, authors of The Resilience Factor, have identified resilience as the key to how we deal with what life brings us:

"Where you fall on the resilience curve -- your natural reserves of resilience -- affects your performance in school and at work, your physical health, your mental health, and the quality of your relationships. . . . We all know resilient people. They inspire us. They seem to soar in spite of the hardship and trauma they face. . . . Resilient people understand that failures are not an end point. They do not feel shame when they don't succeed. Instead, resilient people are able to derive meaning from failure, and they use this knowledge to climb higher than they otherwise would."

"Resilient people," they continue, "have found a system -- and it is a system -- for galvanizing themselves and tackling problems thoughtfully, thoroughly, and energetically. Resilient people, like all of us, feel anxious and have doubts, but they have learned how to stop their anxiety and doubts from overwhelming them. We watch them handle threat with integrity and grace and we wonder: Could I do that?"

Luckily, resilience, like fearlessness, is a muscle we can build up. The more we use it, the stronger it becomes, and ultimately, how we deal with adversity depends on how much we have developed this inner strength.


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Filed by Grace Kiser  |