E-Community Activity: Being Resilient

Send this message to the e-community of protégés and mentors.

Subject: Being resilient

"Resiliency" is the ability to bounce back and keep trying after failures or other difficult situations. Successful people are resilient. They don't let the small stuff get them down, and they don't give up when faced with setbacks, failures, or other difficulties. They learn from both success and failure. Below, successful young people and adults describe how events and people in their lives helped them learn to be resilient.

  • Whenever as a child I told my parents that I could not do something, they reminded me that I could do it as long as I believed in my ability to do it, and they usually were right. If I did not succeed, my parents pointed out alternate methods for achieving the goal. Now, I am motivated to continue to try something as long as I can think of other options for completing the task at hand. When I run out of options, it is sometimes tempting to give up, but I have also learned that new options sometimes open up with time. (Ph.D. candidate who is blind)
  • There have always been things I've wanted, and I couldn't get them if I didn't try again once I failed. That was true throughout school. In math, I had to do many things by slower methods than other kids used. For example, in precalculus they all had graphing calculators, but I couldn't use one. I did as much of the work as I could because I wanted to learn, I wanted good grades, and I wanted that class on my transcript for college. (college graduate who is blind)
  • What helped me to be resilient was the need to survive. I didn't attend school until the fifth grade due to numerous surgeries. The first few days in the classroom at the age of eleven were a shock. The physically and mentally handicapped soon learn to ignore the slings and arrows of misfortune. I lead a very normal life despite a birth defect in the lower spine. The people in my life who toughened me included my mother, my uncle, a doctor, and, from time to time, an understanding, compassionate teacher in high school and college. (retired counselor with mobility impairment)
  • I was motivated to reach for higher standards when I lost my sight four years ago. It made me try harder and forced me not to pity myself. My vision teacher pushed me to give it my all. He made me believe in my abilities and myself. He raised my self-esteem and pushed me into taking the specialized high school exam. Without him, I would not be in the position I am now. He played an integral part in my higher standards being reached. (college student who is blind)
  • Joining and participating in the DO-IT program was probably the most helpful. They did more than just teach me about online communications, etc. They have also helped me solve problems that were college- and career-related. (college student who is blind)
  • Say what you will about spite; it's a great emotion. My parents never believed in me (I'm sure that they'd say otherwise, but they would be lying). They don't trust me, and they really don't care what I do, so long as it meets their preconceived notions of who I am. So I decided to succeed, no matter what, just to spite them. (college student with mobility impairment)
  • The primary source of any resilience in me is extreme hope for the future and a sense of mission. In this, my father played a large part. When he gets going, I doubt there is anyone capable of more passion and exuberance. (college student with a mobility impairment)
  • Beginning with catechism and my mother's insistence on reading Bible stories to me and my brother, I fast developed a theological grounding for subsequent resilience. (college student with a mobility impairment)
  • Adults taught me that life is full of obstacles and hurdles. Sometimes I make it over the hurdle the first time around, sometimes I don't. I learned to accept failure and to learn from my mistakes. I use what I learned to help me get over the hurdle the next time. I learned that failure is not always a bad thing. In fact, that's how we develop, by learning what works and what doesn't. (graduate student with a hearing impairment)
  • One source of resilience, the joy of discovery, I inherited from both my parents. Early in my childhood I was continuously encouraged to learn. And as a quirk in their generally traditional parenting style, they never pressured me or my brother to achieve high grades in school. Thus I developed this joy intrinsically, from the inside out—something that is extremely important. (college student with a mobility impairment)

How have parents, siblings, friends, mentors, teachers, or other people in your life helped you (or NOT helped you) learn to be resilient?