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Learning and resilience are closely linked

If you are resilient, you treat life as a process of learning and growth. You learn from successes, from other people, from life itself. Above all, you learn from your failures. This is a key aspect in resilience; when you see failure from a learning perspective it takes some of the sting out of it.

People who can react to difficulty or challenge proactively and creatively use the negative experience to strengthen, rather than weaken, their defenses and to build, rather than undermine, their sense of self. This is part of a cycle which also feeds into optimism and confidence.

We all make mistakes, feel rejection, fail exams, suffer in love and loss (for example). These facets of life are always unpleasant. Accepting that and using the experience as a learning point can make them easier to bear. As a bonus, we might learn something about a situation, our approach, or ourselves which helps us respond better in future.

Even the most proactive attitude can’t prevent bad stuff happening altogether, but it can attenuate it. This is where part of the ‘bounce back’ factor associated with personal resilience is derived from.

The link between learning and resilience is illustrated by proverbs about “getting back on the horse”, or “failure is a stepping stone to greatness”. They are a reminder of a persistent attitude.  In the words of Winston Churchill, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”.

When you accept failure and mistakes as part of life, and you decide to learn from them, you are taking an important step  towrds becoming more resilient. Allowing the negative experiences in your life to define you as a person can have the opposite effect.

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