I was catching up on the Olympics in Rio recently and I was struck by an incident that had a powerful effect upon me. The incident involved two runners trying to reach the final the women’s 5,000 metres. Not long after the race started the two runners, Nikki Hamblin from New Zealand and Abbey D’Agnostino from the USA clashed and fell. It was an accident and a nasty one at that. D’Agnostino seemed to come off worse – moreover, her fellow runner could have carried on with the race but she didn’t. She turned around to help her colleague. Nikki encouraged Abbey to get up and get on with the race which she did. Despite being in obvious pain and discomfort Abbey D’Agnostini finished the race as did Nikki Hamblin. Nikki could have finished the race easily but she chose not to – she chose instead to stop and help a fellow runner, a woman she’d never met before. Going by the tremendous hug they gave each at the end of the race Nikki and Abbey will be the best of friends for life.
Resilience can be described as the ability to deal positively and proactively with adversity; to overcome and to recover quickly from setbacks…
Getting up and finishing that race was a tremendous challenge for Nikki and Abbey. They could so easily have given up but they didn’t. They decided not to give up – they decided to get up and to finish the race.
Have you ever felt like giving up – have you ever found yourself in a situation that was so daunting and challenging you thought to yourself “What’s the point – I might as well not bother” ? Do you often find yourself feeling so knocked back and demoralised that you just feel like “throwing in the towel”? Well I have some good news for you because it doesn’t have to be like that – you too can have the courage, determination and strength of character shown by Nikki and Abbey. Imagine that! Well you don’t just have to imagine it – you can have it! You too can have the mental strength and toughness shown by Nikki and Abbey. One of the particular psychological strengths shown by those two great athletes is resilience.
Resilience can be described as the ability to deal positively and proactively with adversity; to overcome and to recover quickly from setbacks; to bounce back with optimism and hope following a challenging or difficult experience or event. Examples may include redundancy, bereavement, financial hardship, relationship breakdown, serious illness or, indeed stumbling and falling while taking part in one of the biggest races of your life!
We can all think of resilient people – individuals who simply refuse to give up despite the odds.
- What particular challenges do these people face?
- What personal characteristics and values do they exhibit?
- What skills, competencies and resources do they have?
- Which qualities of theirs do you currently possess and which ones do you want?
- What can you learn from such people?
Resilience is the ability to deal positively and proactively with adversity; to overcome and to recover quickly from set-backs; to bounce-back with optimism and hope following a challenging or difficult experience or event. How resilient are you? How might you develop your resilience? What is your first going to be?
James Woodworth is a coach working in the area of psychological well-being with a particular interest in positive psychology. James has been helping people to thrive for over 25-years as a teacher, trainer, coach and, more recently as a Thrive Programme Consultant. He sees clients face-to-face at his clinic in Cambridge, UK, and throughout the UK and overseas via Skype. You can find out more about James and the Thrive Programme by visiting his website. You can also follow him on Twitter @