Building personal resilience for career, business and life

Building personal resilience for career, business and life

5 principles to help you deal with adversity and come back stronger

We aspire to become and achieve many different things in our lives, and it all begins at a young age. But the reality is, life doesn’t always offer us an easy path toward all our goals. There are many challenges on the way in our quest to fulfill our aspirations.

Based on our experiences and knowledge, we all react differently in different situations. But no matter how differently we react, at some point we fall. This is where resilience comes in. No matter what life throws at us, resilience is what helps us learn the lessons of experience and get back on track as quickly as possible.

In the past week, I had a great opportunity to discuss the topic of resilience during the Techsauce Global Summit. Understanding resilience and how it affects you is very important. Resilience is all about how we bounce back from every adversity we face. Throughout our lives, we’re going to face many different problems. But how do we recover quickly? Here are 5 principles of personal resilience we can begin with.

The first principle is gratitude. Zig Ziglar, the American author, salesman and motivational speaker once said: “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions.” This is true in many ways. Without getting into the neuroscience of it, gratitude correlates to the positive feelings within us. With this positive energy, resilience thrives as every challenge faced makes us grateful for the lessons we will learn.

The second principle is compassion. Compassion doesn’t necessarily mean only toward others, but also toward one’s own self. Sometimes, we make mistakes and fail and the biggest critic we face is ourselves. Be more compassionate to yourself and learn from those mistakes so you can bounce back quickly.

The third principle is acceptance. Sometimes, the reality of our situation is hard to accept. We have experienced being in denial after adversity has hit us. But acceptance doesn’t mean being okay with the bad things happening to us; it means accepting that reality can be tough and that we must do our part to control the things we can control and accept those we cannot.

The fourth principle is meaning. It is only human of us to find meaning in our lives through positive encounters. However, through adversity, meaning and value can rise. Finding meaning in challenges can help us grow in many ways and also build our strengths to face future, similar adversities.

The final principle is forgiveness. This is the most difficult thing to do, but also very important. It is forgiveness that allows us to set aside those things holding us back. Challenges aren’t the only things that stop us from succeeding, and sometimes there’s some things we cannot let go. Forgiveness can help us let go of the things that stop us from getting back on track.

While these principles are things we need to work on daily, here are some tips to kickstart your journey and practise so that you can strengthen your resilience to meet goals in career and life.

First, become more self-aware. We need to understand that our usual ways of doing things may not work since our world has shifted to a new situation and context. Becoming more self-aware of what works and what doesn’t will be an important part of the learning curve. 

Additionally, self-awareness isn’t just about knowing the situation. It also helps us understand ourselves and where we stand in the current situation. This is especially relevant to the third and fourth points mentioned above, where we begin to develop ourselves in ways to strengthen our resilience.

Second, strengthen your foundation, beginning with mindset. There are a lot of great mindsets we can develop to support our resilience.

Finally, set actionable goals, whether it’s with work or life. While resilience first and foremost is about getting back up from a fall as quickly as we can, it is also about what we must do next. We cannot just get back up and continue with the same old ways.

Resilience is an essential skill to help us face all kinds of adversity in our work and lives. While it can be applicable to organisations and businesses as a whole, it all begins with the individual resilience. I’d like to leave you with a quote for inspiration from Maya Angelou, an American poet, and civil rights activist. She said: “I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.”

Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC - Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Center. She can be reached by email at or Explore and experience our lifelong learning ecosystem today at

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