The Secrets of Resilient People

DFN: I got this from Tom Loarie, he’s one of the leaders of a net working group in Danville, called SING (St. Isdores Networking Group). I’d encourage you to take this ‘test’, I scoured a 38.

Everyone goes through tough times. Some people just navigate them better…how?
Resilient people:

  1. stay connected – They rely on others to help them survive tough times. They do not isolate themselves.
  2. are optimistic – Positive thinking is a good habit and leads to a good attitude, a characteristic that is important to survive tough times.
  3. are spiritual – Generally people who are active in their faith tradition do better in tough times.
  4. are playful – They enjoy themselves, friends and family.
  5. give back – The benefit you derive for yourself is as great as that you give to others.
  6. pick their battles – They focus their energy and time on things they can influence and not spend time on things they cannot control.
  7. stay healthy – As everyone knows but does not follow, a good diet and regular exercise provide critical buffers against stress.
  8. actively seek solutions – They zero in on challenges and deal with them; they set objectives and devise strategies for achieving them.
  9. find the silver lining – They convert misfortune into good luck and gain strength from adversity.


Rate yourself on each of these statements using a scale from 1 (Do not agree) to 5 (Strongly agree).

I’m usually upbeat. I see difficulties as temporary and expect to overcome them. Feelings of anger, loss, and discouragement don’t last long.

I can tolerate high levels of ambiguity and uncertainty about situations. I’m flexible, and comfortable with my paradoxical traits: optimistic/pessimistic, trusting/cautious, unselfish/selfish, etc.

I adapt quickly to new developments. I’m curious. I ask questions.

I find the humor in rough situations and can laugh at myself. I feel self-confident.

I learn valuable lessons from my experiences and from the experiences of others.

I’m good at solving problems. I’m good at making things work well. I’m often asked to lead groups and projects, though I have an independent spirit amid my cooperative way of working with others.

I’m strong and durable. I hold up well during tough times.

I’ve converted misfortune into good luck and found benefits in bad experiences.

Total your answers.


35-40: Highly resilient

30-34: Self-motivated learner

20-29: Somewhat resilient

Less than 20: Poor at handling pressure (but it’s never too late to learn).

Note: For a validity check, ask two people who know you well to rate you on these items; see what scores they come up with. Look for discrepancies and discuss them to come up with your true resiliency score.

Adapted from The Resiliency Advantage by Al Siebert, Ph.D. Reprinted with permission. Copyright © 2005, Al Siebert, Ph.D.


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