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Resilience: An Insurance for a Fulfilled Life

5 minute read

By Sandeep Gupta

Setbacks in life are inevitable, even for high achievers. Recovering quickly from these setbacks is a skill that many of us, including high achievers, do not actively develop. A skill also known as resilience.

Picture a scenario. A crisis suddenly turns up in our life. A financial setback – loss of a job, stock market crash. A health setback – diagnosis of cancer, a mental health disorder. A relationship setback – death of a loved one, a difficult divorce.

No one is immune to some misfortune touching their life. Why not be prepared for it? Resilience is like an insurance policy, something we do not need until we need it. Which is why we do not invest our time in building this skill.

Going back to the imaginary scenario, what will we be thinking about? What will be our emotional state at the time? Anger, depression, fear, worry? Add to that a tendency to blame something or someone and a feeling of failure. A potent cocktail that can bring even the most successful person crashing.

Can we trust ourselves to make rational decisions at this time? Will we have the clarity in thought to identify the next steps in rebuilding our lives? Will we have the hope and courage to take these steps?

The pace of change is increasing, and our world is getting more complex. Increasingly, our lives are less and less in our control. Agreed? Willing to dive deeper into resilience?

In this article, we will talk about the components of resilience and how to develop resilience.


Resilience is a mindset game. The skill is to ensure a positive view of life, especially in adversity. Some key traits are:

  1. Perspective

An ability to rapidly shift our perspective is essential. Looking at the adversity as a challenge, an opportunity and the lessons learnt.

For instance, with the loss of a job, resilience allows us to view this as an opportunity to reconsider our goals and the direction of our career. A life-threatening health diagnosis allows us to re-prioritise our health needs and brings about a balance in life that can be more fulfilling. A relationship setback is an opportunity to reflect, learn things about ourselves and grow to become a better person.

  1. Physiology

Physiology has a two-way relationship with our mindset. To improve our mindset, we need to improve our physiology. Try this trick – stand straight, chin up, shoulders back and hands holding the hips. Does this bring about a small positive shift in our mindset? This is why we need to smile often, even when we don’t feel like it. This tricks the brain into thinking ‘all is well’ and it is difficult to be angry and smiling at the same time.

Exercise, diet, and connecting with nature are obvious requirements for a better self. In addition, we need to calm our mind. Two ways to achieve this are with good, quality sleep and with breathing exercises, which activate our parasympathetic nervous system and reduce stress.

  1. Social Network

A social network is a great way to combat adversity. Even though we may feel like hiding in a corner or becoming a social recluse, we are social beings, and we need the connections and outlet for emotional support and more importantly, to help us shift our perspective. Let us scan our network and cherry-pick those who can provide the required support.

  1. Controllable

Focusing on what is in our control helps us keep a positive intent to make the best use of our energy and manage our expectations. As John Wooden said, “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

  1. Adaptable

Keeping a flexible mind and being ready to adapt helps us to broaden the possibilities and gives us genuine hope.

  1. Values

Knowing our core values adds meaning and purpose to the actions we take to recover from adversity.

  1. Strengths

Realising our strengths ensures we put our best foot forward and maximise the speed of recovery.

The first adversity is the hardest as we have no experience in how to deal with it. The next ones are easier as we become more resilient.


Like with any skill, building resilience takes time and deliberate effort. The best time to do this is when we need it the least. Some steps we can take:

  1. Become self-aware of our energy enhancers and diminishers, their triggers, our values, and our strengths.
  2. Replace habits that don’t serve anymore with better ones.
  3. Build a social network of positive-minded people who can support with a perspective shift when needed.
  4. Learn to focus on the silver linings.
  5. Stop blaming and focus on what is controllable.
  6. Look after our health – mental and physical.
  7. Incorporate regular fun activities in our lives.
  8. Take time out to pause and reflect, to pursue a hobby, for a coffee and a chat.


As high achievers, there is a vulnerability in assuming that we are smart, we are safe, we have enough, and we are enough. Adversity makes no distinction when, where and whom it strikes. The higher we climb, the bigger the fall.

Everyone goes through derailing moments in life. Everyone needs the insurance of resilience. Fortunately, this is a skill that is available to anyone willing to invest the time. A skill that helps us survive, and with practice, thrive in the face of the challenges in life.

If there is still any doubt, let us ask ourselves this one question – how would our life be different if we were resilient?

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” – Maria Robinson.



Sandeep Gupta is a professionally certified coach, a chartered accountant, and a CPA. He is passionate about helping people live a meaningful and fulfilled life focusing on high achievers with his 8-week programme: Explore, Evolve & Emerge. Find out more here:


This article is an expression of the opinion of the author and is not a medical article. The situation of each person is unique, and medical advice may be the most appropriate action for you.

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