3 Habits of Highly Resilient People

#1: Acceptance

Nick Wignall


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

For most of us, the idea of resilience conjures up stories of profound heroism in the face of grave injustice — Viktor Frankl surviving the concentration camps or Rosa Parks sitting wherever she damn well pleased.

But resilience isn’t always epic. Sometimes it’s quite ordinary:

  • Taking criticism well from our spouse instead of getting defensive
  • Processing grief in a healthy way instead of running to escape it.
  • Giving that toast at a wedding despite feeling anxious

Even if we’re fortunate enough not to need heroic levels of resilience in our lives, we could all benefit from more resilience with everyday stressors and challenges.

Research shows that highly resilient people tend to possess three common traits or habits: acceptance, purpose, and flexibility. Importantly, we know that these are not simply genetic gifts some lucky few are born with — they’re skills all of us can learn to build.

Whether you’d like to handle relationship conflict more confidently, bounce back a little quicker from setbacks at work, or cope with anxiety and stress a little better, you can learn a lot from the 3 habits of highly resilient people.

1. Acceptance

Resilience does not mean naive optimism.

Highly resilient people are clear-eyed about the nature of the challenges they face — neither overly optimistic or pessimistic. This acceptance of the way things really are allows them to be more effective at designing strategies to navigate their challenges productively.

For example: suppose you’ve just given a presentation to your boss at work. You believe strongly that your idea is a good one, and you feel like the presentation itself went fairly well. But to your shock, the first words out of your boss’ mouth are to criticize a key component of your idea. You feel the hurt and anger quickly rising up.

You could continue down this path of defensiveness that your mind has started you on. And while you feel justified in this, you suspect that the end…



Nick Wignall

Psychologist and writer sharing practical advice for emotional health and well-being: https://thefriendlymind.com