Emotional Resilience: Just the Beginning

Part of mental toughness is also having emotional resilience. It’s a different piece. Here’s how I like to explain it.

Imagine you were a corporate travel agent back in the 1970s, 1980s, or even the 1990s. You were great at your job. You found the best fares. Your customers loved you. You did a great job. But now, almost no one needs you. Everyone books their flights online.

The number of travel agents have dramatically decreased. Sure, you can still find travel agents. And, every so often, maybe once a year, I still use one, mostly for international flights where I combine trips. If you were a travel agent, you are most likely doing something else. You had to have the mental toughness to determine what to do, and the emotional resilience to determine what you were going to do and the follow through on it.

It’s the same idea when you have a condition like mine. The difference is that I don’t get to change my condition. It’s permanent.

But having emotional resilience is a key piece of living an adaptable life. I first discovered How Resilience Works by Diane Coutu, (an HBR article that requires HBR registration) thanks to John Horne, a great friend and colleague I met through the AYE conference.

Coutu’s points are these:

  • Face down reality (sound familiar?)
  • Search for meaning (this did not resonate with me at all)
  • Continually improvise (well, duh)

She also added that having a little black humor didn’t hurt. Did I mention that when the ENT told me my deafness was permanent we started making deaf jokes that same night? We did, Mark, Daughter #2, and I. Daughter #1 had to come around a little to the joking part, because she was not living at home at the time.

Coutu’s article was helpful, but it didn’t quite fit what I was feeling. I poked around a little more. Read the solicited response by Al Siebert.

I have read Siebert’s book and found it much more useful than Coutu’s article. I will be back with more, now that, with any luck, I’ve intrigued you.

2 thoughts on “Emotional Resilience: Just the Beginning

  1. James Jahraus

    A very cool topic indeed! After reading the linked articles, I didn’t notice any mention of experience and learning. I read sentences like People who have (quality A) are more resilient that people who have (quality B)… but where do people get the beneficial resilient qualities? I think people gain resilient qualities by learning and experience gained from the trials and tribulations of life. Also by learning from resilient ancestors, and social groups. I think experience and learning are key elements to resilience.

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