Resilience is a major catchword in current research on stress, occupational and otherwise. The argument is that some individuals are just better able to endure stressful situations than others, and further, may even come out of an ordeal stronger than before. Others are more prone to collapse under pressure, and be much worse off than before in the aftermath of a hard time. While there are many ways of characterizing the former group, i.e., the stress-resistant individuals, “resilient” is the term I see most often of late.
In the growing literature, the resilience concept is increasingly visible. It isn’t that happy, optimistic, fulfilled people never face adversity; it is that when they face the kinds of challenges that we all inevitably do, they show resilience in the face of their trials. They overcome them, or learn to live with them, and maintain their positive outlook, which keeps them moving upward and onward. Positive Psychology finds that individuals’ perceived happiness has surprisingly little to do with their present circumstances (be they very good or very bad), and surprisingly much to do with their resilience.