Is your glass half full or half empty?

The common myths about resilience debunked

When you hear the word “resilience” do phrases like “don’t quit”, “never say die” and “Kia kaha, stay strong” spring to mind? Resilience is a hot topic right now, but much of the conversation that’s happening can give the impression that being resilient means to endure whatever life throws at you. This is unhelpful and may even be leading you to question your own resilience and ability to bounce back from everything that has been going on of late.

Resilience means always being able to manage your emotions

Resilient people experience just as many initial negative emotions in the face of stressors as everyone else. However, due to their confidence in being able to get through the current challenge, they tend to maintain a sense of purpose and hope, and process these emotions quickly. As a result they tend to move forward towards solutions more quickly than those who take longer to process their initial negative responses.

Resilience is about thinking positively

It has been shown that rather than positive thinking, resilient people tend to be good at quickly accepting the reality of the situation as it is, no matter how challenging, and then taking a solution focused approach, to that reality. This means that rather than taking a “good vibes only” approach, they assess the factors of the situation (good and bad), decide upon the goal or solution, and actively work towards that outcome.

Adversity makes people more resilient

People can experience positive changes in their lives after struggling with a crisis or trauma, a process called post traumatic growth, but others can remain stuck. In fact, it is not the adversity or suffering that makes people stronger; it is the active process of accepting, learning, and persevering with the challenge. It is key to remember that you already have a well of resilience, and you have already adapted and changed when situations called for it.

Resilience is all about the individual

Resilient people will only choose to continue to work at a company if they believe they are well supported. If the manager or organisation are not fostering team and corporate resilience successfully, then the resilient person has the confidence to leave and seek work in a more rewarding environment. The resilient person has a much better sense of their needs and how to meet them, and so is more likely to make changes that align with those needs.


So if resilience is NOT managing your emotions or grinding your way through an unsupportive environment, what is resilience really?

What resilience actually expresses and measures is our ability to encounter challenges and to move forward from them. First we withdraw from the situation, reflect and take stock, and then we adapt. We take on a new circumstance, absorb new information, understand the change and adapt to move forward.

Some of the personality traits of a resilient person includes:


Because of their emotional stability, self belief and realistic positive thinking about a trying situation, the highly resilient person shows confidence in their ability to manage whatever is thrown at them. 


The resilient person can respond flexibly to a new challenge because they quickly accept a new situation as it is, believe in their ability to manage, and understand the value of creative and novel thinking. 


The resilient person is able to acknowledge their negative responses to adversity, assess which of those responses are helpful (if any), set a new course, and be accountable for their part in making the changes necessary. This can mean removing themselves from a situation that is not in line with their needs because they are in touch with their core value system and practice self-care.

For individual resilience to flourish, managers need to be able to identify how to support individuals by building the resilience of the teams in which they work. 

Skillpod’s online resilience training has been made in partnership with Timothy Giles, resilience coach and researcher, and Anton Ashcroft, a registered psychologist. With their combined knowledge you can assess your current levels of resilience and learn management strategies to help support your resilience.