Practices of Particularly Resilient People

Practices of Particularly Resilient People

4 min read


I wanted to learn more about how people effectively addressed challenge, change, and complexity. I am a believer in learning from what works in our lives, and hindsight being 20/20, we often have more perspective on our experiences than we did in the moment. My inquiry into how people demonstrated resilience began with one question:

Think about a time you have faced a challenge: What did you do to effectively address that challenge? 

After working with hundreds of extraordinary leaders and collecting their answers, ‘The Five Practices of Particularly Resilient People’ emerged. They are called “practices” for good reason. Enhancing our resilience isn’t a one and done affair. Rather, enhancing our resilience is a series of practices with which we engage in over the course of our lifetimes. Here is an introduction to ‘The Five Practices of Particularly Resilient People’, and in each, we’ll examine each practice as it pertains to being a musician individually.

The Practice of Vulnerability

You might be surprised to find that vulnerability is a practice of resilience. If you’re like many people, you were brought up to think that resilience is about toughness. That in order to be resilient, we need to put on a suit of armor, and ride into figurative battle, not allowing our experience to touch or change us. Yet, people who are most resilient in the face of challenge, change, and complexity are those who allow themselves to be softened by their experiences, not hardened.

Those who are most resilient allow their thoughts, experience, and feelings on the inside to match the person they show to the external world. Effectively allowing our “inside self” (i.e., our internal thoughts, feelings, and experiences) to match our “outside self”, the person we show to the world, is called ‘congruence’ in psychology. The more congruent we are as people, the more we are able to function in society without burning up a lot of energy navigating and managing two separate personas, our inside self and outside self. In addition, the most resilient people share their experiences, the challenges, changes, and complexities with the people in their lives who support them in these tender moments. Being vulnerable enough to share your experiences in these moments means having access to greater information, support, and resources because when people know what we’re going through, they are better able to provide support.

Finally, vulnerability is also key to resilience because it is the foundation of much of our human connection; vulnerability provides the cornerstone for authenticity and empathy. If you think about it, we can’t be either authentic or empathetic as humans unless we first allow ourselves to be vulnerable. In addition, if we know that vulnerability is valuable, why aren’t we all running around living fabulously vulnerable lives? The answer is a common bias we carry as humans called ‘Vulnerability Currency’. When we believe that our ‘currency’ or relationship capital will be diminished by being vulnerable, even though we tend to think more of others when they share vulnerability, we are engaging in this bias, it keeps us caught in our vulnerability cage. 

The Practice of Productive Perseverance

Being able to pursue goals intelligently is the hallmark of this practice. The intelligent pursuit of a goal is being able to navigate the, at times paradoxical approach of knowing when to maintain the mission, despite challenge, change, and complexity, and when, in the face of diminishing returns, to pivot in a new direction. The practice of Productive Perseverance is all about navigating the complexity that exists between the single-minded pursuit of a goal, demonstrating grit, versus knowing when the pursuit of a goal has diminishing returns, and it would be wise to invoke plan B. In the world of music and artists, this practice is particularly profound. Productive Perseverance is about pursuing a goal even when you don’t know if you’ll “make it” or not and doing your best to navigate the complexities of the music industry. 

The Practice of Connection

The idea of connection might seem to be simple, but this is one of the more complex practices of resilience. It allows us to dive more deeply into our relationship with ourselves and other people. It is focused on developing our intuitive abilities, to listen to and know ourselves, to value ourselves, to know our worth, and to trust our gut over external voices. In addition to our deep connection with ourselves, the practice of connection is also about our ability to draw strength from existing support networks. Living and working in communities, fostering collaborative partnerships, sharing information, and working in teams are key behaviors to develop relationships over time. However, this practice becomes difficult to discern when our internal connection to ourselves is at odds with our external connection to others. Perhaps someone gives us advice we don’t agree with or asks us to do something that is not aligned with our internal desires. Learning to effectively navigate, as well as prioritize our connection with ourselves, alongside our connection with others is a hallmark of resilience.

The Practice of ‘Grati-osity‘

Perhaps you have not heard this word before. If you haven’t it is because this is a hybrid word created to encapsulate the practice of resilience that is a combination of gratitude (grati) and generosity (osity). Put together, the practice of ‘grati-osity; is the ability to, first, reflect on the challenge, change, and complexity you experienced and to appreciate how you changed for the better, even if you would not have chosen the circumstances. The second aspect to this practice is to share these experiences generously, so that others might learn and benefit from our experience vicariously. The practice of ‘grati-osity’ is an important component of resilience becausethrough choosing to focus on gratitude and then generously sharing our stories of challenge with others, we solidify our own experience, lessons learned through our resilience and also give back by way of encouraging others. 

The Practice of Possibility

As with each practice prior to the practice of Possibility, there is a paradox inherent in each practice, and Possibility is no exception. The Practice of Possibility is about effectively navigating the polarity that exists between risk and opportunity. Resilient people who engage with the practice of Possibility are better able to resist perfection, and instead, focus on progress and possibility. The Practice of Possibility is key during times of stress because, by nature, stress makes us more myopic in how we think about the potential for possibility. However, by considering unique and novel ways to achieve a goal, we expand the aperture of how we create results, and leverage creativity to make our goals a reality, while also accurately appraising both risks and opportunities alongside one another. 

Did each of these practices make sense to you? What questions do you have about each practice? Ask them in our Discord!

If you or someone you know needs immediate help, please take a look at these resources and help lines.

About The Author

Dr. Taryn Marie is a foremost international expert on resilience, in both leadership and life. She is the former Head of Executive Leadership Development at Nike, Global Leadership Development at Cigna, and founded Resilience Leadership, where she serves as the Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), leveraging over a decade of research on resilience, that gave birth to the empirically-based framework, The Five Practices of Particularly Resilient People, leveraged for optimal sustainability, productivity, and creativity.

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Illustration of a person lifting a piano, made by Liana Finck

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