Building resilience is the key to turning challenges into success

Thomas Oppong
NurPhoto | Getty Images

Why do some people bounce back from adversity and misfortune? And why do others fall apart? Resilience make all the difference.

Turns out surviving the most difficult obstacles have some good lessons you can use to learn how to be resilient in everyday life.

Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress.

"The things which hurt," Benjamin Franklin wrote, "Instruct."

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"The human capacity for burden is like bamboo —  far more flexible than you'd ever believe at first glance," says Jodi Picoult.

Highly resilient people are flexible, adapt to new circumstances quickly, and thrive in constant change.

Jodi Picoult, author
Darren McCollester | Getty Images

Resilient people do not bounce back from hard experiences; they find healthy ways to integrate them into their lives.

Your capacity to recover quickly from difficulties has a lot to do with your long-term success in every endeavor.

You will come across obstacles in life  —  fair and unfair.

And you will discover, time and time again, that what matters most is not what these obstacles are but how we see them, how we react to them, and whether we keep our composure.

You will learn that this reaction determines how successful we will be in overcoming  —  or possibly thriving because of  —  them.

Resilient people acknowledge difficult situations, keep calm and evaluate things rationally so they can make a plan and act.

Steve Maraboli once said, "Life doesn't get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient."

In his book, Survivor Personality: Why Some People Are Stronger, Smarter, and More Skillful at Handling Life's Difficulties…and How You Can Be, Too, Al Siebert writes, "The best survivors spend almost no time, especially in emergencies, getting upset about what has been lost, or feeling distressed about things going badly…. For this reason they don't usually take themselves too seriously and are therefore hard to threaten."

To be resilient, you must understand that objective is to use what hits you to change your trajectory in a positive direction.

Live to learn

Life is not all roses. Sometimes you will feel broken, depressed, forgotten, but persist anyway. We all need something to struggle against and to struggle for.

Nelson Mandela once said, "Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."

Nelson Mandela served as president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999
AFP | Getty Images

Every obstacle you face is the way to advance your next action. What stands in the way becomes the way. Action is the solution and the cure to our predicaments.

"90% of life is about remaining calm," says Dr. Chris Feudtner.

The aim in life is not to avoid struggles, but to have the right ones; not to avoid worry, but to care about the right things; not to live without fear, but to confront worthy fears with force and passion.

Don't expect a time in your life when you'll be free from change, free from struggle, free from worry.

Anyone who does anything worthy will attract critics. Begin anyway.

Push yourself to grow, to get better, to dive deeper to become your best self.

Your growth is beyond your comfort zone. You improve when your body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.

The more you can leverage challenges as opportunities to grow and evolve, the more resilient you are likely to be.

In Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life, Eric Greitens Navy SEAL says, "The first step to building resilience is to take responsibility for who you are and for your life. If you're not willing to do that, stop wasting your time reading this letter. The essence of responsibility is the acceptance of the consequences  —  good and bad  —  of your actions."

"When we're struggling, we don't need a book in our hands. We need the right words in our minds. When things are tough, a mantra does more good than a manifesto," writes Greitens.

Eric Greitens and his wife, Sheena, celebrate his victory in the 2016 election for Missouri governor.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Getty Images

At the root of resilience is the willingness to take responsibility for your progress and outcome.

The only person that can really push you a little bit further in life is yourself.

Obstacles are uncomfortable, stressful, and can be scary. Sometimes it can feel so overwhelming that you're not sure how to keep going.

However, if you can embrace the impediment that stands before you, accept the problem as it is and prepare to challenge it, and take action despite the present setback, you can find the way that you didn't know was there.

"I will persist until I succeed. Always will I take another step. If that is of no avail, I will take another, and yet another. In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult. I know that small attempts, repeated, will complete any undertaking," says Og Mandino.

People who persist no matter the obstacles, sooner or later are bound to succeed. Despite the setbacks, it's in your best interest to turn obstacles into stepping stones.

Don't choose to complain, or worse, to just give up. These choices do nothing to get you across the finish line.

Elbert Hubbard once said, "A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success."

There will be times in all of our lives when pressures mount and at some points we will struggle to cope. However, through learning about ourselves and realizing what we can and cannot manage, we are able to manage, move on and make the most of life.

Learn to persist in the face of struggle. Not for egoist purposes, but for the greater good. For the cultivation of your best self.

Cultivate your grit and push yourself further outside your comfort bubble. And remember what Ryan Holiday said, "The obstacle is the way."

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This article originally appeared on Medium.

Top JPMorgan exec shares her single-best piece of career advice
Top JPMorgan exec shares her single-best piece of career advice