Habits of Highly Resilient People

By Conor Neill, an EO Spain – Barcelona member and CEO of Taxijet

Before you start reading this article, take a moment to think about the people you know really well. Of your friends and family, who would you say is the most psychologically resilient? Who among them would cope the best if they were faced with a major setback?

I recently attended a football game with a few buddies, one of whom was a former EO member named Andre. Andre was telling me about his new book, called He Fracasado, y Que? or I Have Failed, So What? In his book, Andre emphasizes the highs and lows that have come with his 20 years of business building: From selling a company for EUR$7 million to running a dot-com into bankruptcy. Throughout it all, Andre remained consistently resilient, independent of the challenges associated with entrepreneurship.

How does Andre do it? How does he weather any storm, maintain balance and keep moving forward? As a professor of leadership at the IESE Business School, I’ve had the chance to interview people like Andre and really learn about what it takes to cultivate a resilient mindset. I’ve spent days with Kilian Jornet, the world’s number-one sky-runner, and learned from Miguel Suñer, who swam the English Channel without a wetsuit, among other fascinating people. What do Andre, Kilian, Miguel and highly resilient people like them have in common?

  1. They Forgive Themselves Quickly: Resilient people understand that the “me” of two years ago made the best decisions the “me” of two years ago was capable of making. They never dwell on the past. Instead, they reflect on their mistakes and use them as fuel to keep getting better.
  2. They Never Share Victim Stories: In life and business, there are hero stories (“I am responsible for the situation, and I must change if I want the situation to change”) and victim stories (“The traffic made me late to work,”  “Nobody listens to me when I speak”).  I don’t hear many victim stories from resilient people.
  3. They Don’t Pause for Perfection: People adept at overcoming life’s obstacles don’t wait for perfect information. They make a decent decision based on the information available, and move on. They understand that you can make another decision tomorrow, and perhaps, even reverse today’s decision if necessary.
  4. They Say “Thank You” … and Mean It: Everyone I’ve ever met who has the ability to trudge forward despite failure makes it a point to thank those whom they meet along the way; they push out positive energy and receive it tenfold. They understand that negativity is a dragging anchor.
  5. They Make Time for Reflection: Resilient people reflect upon their life and re-examine past experiences based on today’s wisdom. They see frustrations, challenges and hard work differently now than when they were younger. Instead of thinking, “I am gifted, and I deserve success,” they think, “All meaningful work requires suffering.”
  6. They Rely on Core Values: Every risk-ready person I’ve ever met relies on core values to center themselves when things go south. These core values can revolve around work, family, hobbies, religion … any deep interest that drives growth. And these people don’t commit 100% to one thing, but instead rely on balance.
  7. They Separate “State” and “Person”: Resilient people understand that the state does not make the person. For example, a state of bankruptcy is not a failed person; it’s a momentary point on the journey. A resilient person understands that business and life is not always an uphill journey.

Conor Neill is the CEO of Taxijet, an on-demand, worldwide aircraft charter service. Fun fact: As a child, Conor’s dream was to own a lightsaber just like Luke Skywalker’s in “Star Wars.” Contact Conor at [email protected].

Categories: Best Practices Coaching Entrepreneurial Journey members


3 Responses to “ Habits of Highly Resilient People ”

  1. Kristiina on

    – I’m pretty sturbobn about not commenting on sneak peeks/1-photo blog posts, but man, your work is just so consistently gorgeous and stunning, I can’t NOT comment. The composition, colors, and quality of light in this knock my socks off. Or, well, they WOULD, but I’m not wearing socks. June 9, 2010 3:12 pm


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