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Resilience and perseverance are two much-talked-about topics in the field of personal development and success. They are distinct skills that, when harmoniously combined, can help you push through adversity and reach your goals.
While motivation can get you started on the road to success, it cannot carry you very far. It does not prepare you for the shortcomings, the unexpected twists of events, and the inevitable failures. When faced with discomfort, it’s much easier to quit than tough it out. This is the reason why most of our endeavors reach an abrupt end.
So, if motivation is not the ticket to success, let’s talk about the attributes that are. Resilience and perseverance create adaptable and determined individuals with strong, goal-oriented mindsets that use disadvantages to their advantage. Let’s dissect these concepts to understand their differences, similarities, and their key role in success.
Have you ever noticed how people react differently to similar negative experiences? Our way of coping with adversity does not only depend on its nature but also on our own ability to process and handle it. This trait, which is different in everyone, is called resilience.
According to the American Psychological Association, resilience is the ability to successfully adapt to challenging life experiences through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility.
When resilient people hit a wall of bricks, they bounce back quickly, adjust their efforts, and find another way around.
Resilience is a trait we begin to develop as kids. However, research has shown that resilience can be worked on and developed even later in life.
What Are the 7 C’s of Resilience?
The model of the 7 C’s of Resilience was first proposed by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a strategy guide to promote resilience in children.
Dr Ginsburg, pediatrician and developmental expert, argues that the 7 C’s are interrelated elements that make up a resilient personality. While this model is directed at children, I believe it is a great guide for anyone trying to understand the process of becoming more resilient.
Here is a brief outlook of the 7 C’s of resilience:
- Competence: Developing a robust skillset empowers you to tackle difficulties, fostering confidence and a belief in your capabilities.
- Confidence: Confidence is a cornerstone of resilience, enabling you to face setbacks with a positive mindset and a belief in your ability to overcome adversity.
- Connection: Social connections provide emotional support, encouragement, and a sense of belonging, creating a buffer against stress.
- Character: A person with a strong character (values, ethics, and integrity) can navigate challenges with a clear moral compass, making choices aligned with their values even in difficult situations.
- Contribution: By contributing to a greater purpose, you can find meaning and fulfillment, which can be a powerful motivator in overcoming personal challenges.
- Coping: Adaptive coping mechanisms, such as problem-solving and emotional regulation, are crucial for resilience, helping you navigate difficult situations with flexibility.
- Control: Focusing on things you can control empowers you to take proactive steps, even in the face of adversity, leading to a greater sense of self-efficacy.
Perseverance is the drive to maintain your course of action through challenges by continuously improving and developing. It involves both passion and determination and is applied through self-discipline.
Perseverance is committing to long-term goals even when not receiving immediate gratification. According to Angela Duckworth, perseverance is a component of grit, which has been linked to increased achievement in various domains of performance and well-being.
A study by APA has surprisingly shown that goal-oriented and persistent individuals have less anxiety and depression and fewer panic attacks.
Are Resilience and Perseverance the Same?
Is there a difference between resilience and perseverance? The answer is yes! The two concepts might share similarities (like helping you achieve your goals) but are fundamentally different.
Resilience is the quality of having a structured and effective approach to handling challenges. It requires a healthy mindset, social connections, and coping strategies. Resilient people are flexible; they can adapt to adversity instead of breaking under the weight.
On the other hand, perseverance is the quality of persisting in achieving your goals despite the challenges. It requires determination, self-control, and endurance. Persistent people are goal-oriented and high-achievers.
The Importance of Building Both Resilience and Perseverance
Resilience and perseverance are different qualities, but don’t be fooled to consider one more important than the other. Only by creating a balance between the two can you have a healthy and successful approach towards your goals.
Why Perseverance Without Resilience Is Harmful
If perseverance had a motto, it would be, “Never give up!” While being headstrong is crucial for realizing your dreams, perseverance can become rigid and maladaptive. What happens when you need to change course to facilitate success?
Perseverance can sometimes result in one-directional or absolutist thinking, like wearing blinders that do not allow you to consider the alternatives. Therefore, it can cause difficulty in handling setbacks and adapting to change.
This can become hurtful as pushing through obstacles is sometimes impossible. Going around them might be the solution, but that is the quality of resilience.
Why Resilience Needs Perseverance
Resilience is a key characteristic of a well-rounded person. It allows you to process negative experiences and situations to your advantage. Resilient individuals tend to view challenges as opportunities for growth and failure as a medium for learning.
It can get you through all difficulties, from breakups to application rejections. Being able to take a hit is indeed important on the road to success, as it can often get bumpy. However, resilience alone does not provide the drive you need to charge forward.
Perseverance generates the motivation and self-discipline necessary to achieve your goals. It gives you the strength and determination to go on even when it gets hard, or you simply don’t feel like it.
How Do You Demonstrate Resilience and Perseverance?
Whether you are team resilience or team perseverance (or have none of these attributes – no judgment!), you can always choose to work on your skills to balance the two.
How To Build Perseverance
1. Remember Your Purpose
Purpose gives direction to our actions. It keeps us motivated and reminds us why our struggles are worth it. Remembering why you got in the arena in the first place will give you the passion and determination you need to keep up the hard work.
Pro tip: You can create reminders of your purpose. My personal favorite is creating a mood board of the thing(s) I wish to achieve and using it as my laptop and phone background.
2. Set Achievable Goals
You are less likely to do something if you deem it hard. Instead of giving yourself a mountain to overcome, try with smaller, more realistic goals.
Let’s say your ultimate goal is to become a morning runner, but you have no experience in running whatsoever. Instead of heading out on a cold, dark morning for a jog, begin by familiarizing yourself with the exercise. Start going on small runs, and then increase the distances while moving your exercise time sooner during the day.
Pro tip: The SMART technique is a good way to keep your goals realistic. Here is a useful article to help you smash your life’s goals.
3. When You’re Tired, Just Take a Small Step
It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re not at the top of your game. Dropping your efforts is very luring when challenges arise. However, maintaining consistency is crucial for your mindset and actual progress.
Instead of making no progress at all, identify one small thing you can do to push forward. This will allow you to drop your rhythms while sparing you from the guilt of not trying.
4. Build Self-Discipline
Self-discipline is the ability to disregard immediate gratification for the sake of achieving long-term goals. It is the ultimate form of self-love because it keeps you committed to realizing your dreams for a better life.
5. Have a Supportive Network
Having people create a safe space for you to confide your challenges and cheer you on is crucial for perseverance. Knowing you have someone to pat your back or even lend a helping hand can make a whole lot of difference in your journey to success. They can keep you accountable and refresh your confidence in yourself.
How To Foster Resilience
1. Have Confidence in Your Strengths
Having faith in your abilities to overcome challenges is crucial. Remember the times you made it despite the hardships. What qualities helped you bounce back, and how did it make you feel?
2. Take Care of Your Body and Soul
I like to think of resilience as an elastic band that has the ability to restore its initial form after you stretch it. However, the elastic band needs to be in good shape. Otherwise, it will slowly begin to loosen with each stretch.
Similarly, you cannot expect yourself to demonstrate resilience when you are tired, unhealthy, or emotionally drained. Take care of your body by prioritizing sleep, nourishment, and exercise. Also, attend to your mental needs by practicing mindfulness, catching up with friends, and having self-care time.
3. Find Constructive Coping Methods
Stress and negative emotions can drain you emotionally and mentally. Therefore, finding healthy coping methods to channel and process them is crucial for maintaining resilience. Starting a hobby, offering to your community, or trying therapy are simple yet very effective for restoring positivity.
4. Focus on Things You Can Control
Resilience is all about accepting the unpredictability of life and focusing on things you can influence. Instead of crying over spilled milk, you can divert your attention to the steps you can take. This way, you become proactive and gain a confidence-boosting sense of control.
5. Build Strong Connections
Having a reliable support network that will be there to catch you when you fall creates a much-needed sense of security. Gravitate towards compassionate and non-judgmental people that make you feel seen and heard. On the contrary, place boundaries on those who drain your energy or make you feel bad about yourself.
Having reached the end of this article, you have undoubtedly recognized the importance of resilience and perseverance in achieving your personal goals. The first allows you to adapt to change, and the latter gives you the drive and motivation to do what it takes.
Finding a balance between resilience and perseverance can vouch for success. Remain persistent in the face of challenges, but recognize when it’s time to change lanes and try an alternative. Change your perspective to see failure as an opportunity for growth, stay curious, and try again.
Resilience and perseverance can take you far. They can make you a better person, inclined towards self-improvement and constant development. Start building these skills today and make success realistic and achievable!