Building Resiliency

Resiliency or Reslience- the ability to successfully bounce back up when life knocks you down.


US citizens are still seeking strategies for dealing with the uncertainties of the Post 9-11 world. With threats of terrorism now constantly in the news, citizens are looking for help. They feel confused. They want to understand yet they are awash in a sea of uncertainties. They don’t know where to turn to find practical ways of dealing with their concerns yet they are vaguely conscious that they might be overreacting and thus at risk of draining their positive energies on excessive fears.

In order to live productive and rewarding lives, citizens now need ways to understand risks and build resiliency in their lives so they can bounce back and overcome the fears and uncertainties of this new world order.

It is easy to make the case for this claim.

First, quite apart from terrorism and war, everyone’s journey through life involves exposure to millions of risks. Each one of these may be highly unlikely yet nonetheless, tragically, could possibly kill you or your loved ones.

However, even though the odds of a particular freak accident happening to you may be very small, the odds of some sort of serious accident knocking you down in your lifetime is very large. Yet no one can (or ever could) spend their time trying to actively protect themselves from every possible thing that might harm them.
Instead, building resiliency is something that defends people immaterial of whatever particular problem may show up. And unlike trying to defend ourselves against each specific risk, building up resiliency is something each of us can take control of.

Second, you can’t really define anything as being “a big risk” unless you have taken into account the amount of resiliency in the system. We often illustrate this by considering the hypothetical example of someone stealing Bill Gate’s Lamborghini. “A big risk” is often described as some harmful event that has a high likelihood of it occurring as well as high consequences-if it were to occur to an ordinary person. However, as soon as you figure in the financial resiliency of the richest man in the world, the event would not even be considered for his list of “big risks “.

The Overlooked Ingredient

What all of this means for the rest of us is that resiliency is the most valuable, practical and universal antidote to living in a world of risks. It is often the overlooked ingredient when it comes to assessing the seriousness of all the possible threats to our lives.

Resiliency alone cannot stop risks occurring of course –but nothing can. We must all now get used to living in a world of uncertainty and do what we can as individuals to reduce our exposure to the biggest risks to our lives. However, when it comes to homeland security, governments clearly have the major responsibility for controlling most of that. But individuals can control their own resilience and that is where our seminars come in.

The Risk Communication Institute has carried out independent research on this topic by evaluating highly resilient individuals, businesses and even countries. We are unique in offering the results of these studies as part of our keynotes and seminars. We challenge audiences to rate themselves under the different categories and, if they wish, to make efforts to increase their resiliency in areas where they may feel a need for improvement.

As an example of the some of Resiliency Factors that we teach, here is part of the list that we draw on when we speak about Individual Resiliency:

Some Resiliency Factors for Adults

  • Health
  • Money (gives greater freedom of choices, access to other resources)
  • Education for Life, Learning and Skills (includes putting risks into perspective)
  • Supporting Network of Family and Friends
  • Faith and Spirituality
  • Flexibility
  • Persistence
  • Insurances- policies but also back-up systems
  • Preparedness - Familiarity with safety drills etc.
  • “Someone to talk to” (Holocaust survivors and Vietnam POWs)
  • Positive Attitude
  • A caring relationship with others, including pets

Those organizations that see the value of this aspect of training should consider the presentation topic Building Resiliency- the antidote to worries and fears.

If you would like us to customize our communications tools to focus on your own needs, or if you would like to inquire about John Paling speaking at your next meeting, please contact us.
The Risk Communication Institute
5822 N.W. 91st Blvd.
Gainesville, FL 32653
(352) 377-2142