Resilience is the ability to face life’s challenges with strength and perseverance. People who demonstrate resilience suffer from setbacks, pain, and loss, like we all do, but they don’t feel so overwhelmed that they can’t keep going or feel so helpless that they can’t cope.
When I think of resilient people, Arthur Ashe comes to mind. Born in 1943, Arthur Ashe was a famous professional tennis player who became legendary for his many tennis match victories, including a Wimbleton championship. Yet, life dealt him a hard blow. At age 36, he suffered a heart attack, and after continued health issues, he died when he was 49 years old.
Arthur Ashe said that he was tempted to ask, “Why me?” He reasoned, though, that if he asked “Why me?” about his terminal condition, he would also have to ask “Why me?” when he won the U.S. Open or the Australian Open or after any other positive experience in his life. His 1993 memoir, Days of Grace, is a testament to his resilience.
In 2021, the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Director went to the movie, Nomadland, a raw and honest depiction of individuals who chose to live in vans and travel from job to job after times got tough. Frances McDonald portrayed a woman who persevered after her job was gone and her husband died. The cast included real life nomads working dirty and strenuous jobs to pay for bare necessities, like food and gasoline.
The movie brought attention to the many Americans, especially senior citizens, who struggle to get by on minimal resources. Even though they have worked hard all their lives, they are left with little money and tough choices. This inspiring movie was a tribute to resilient people all over our country who face life with grit and tenacity.
How do people become so resilient? How do they adapt to whatever life presents? I think resilient people have common attributes including (1) not expecting life to be easy, (2) being grateful for loved ones and good times, (3) being resourceful problem solvers, (4) connecting with and being fortified by Nature’s beauty and grandeur, and (5) believing that they are a vital part of a divine omnipotence greater than themselves.
What traits of resilient people would you add to my list?