Here’s the bottom line on being resilient—first, you must be optimistic. Believe that there is a good outcome ahead, and then do your part to reach it with a positive mindset.
Every POW I knew believed that someday we were going home; and our laser focus was to do our duty to resist the enemy and stay committed to our teammates. Optimism was a key factor in helping us endure hardship and disappointment.
In fact, the research by psychologists following our release found that optimism was the leading factor in our resilience and survival over those many years of suffering and sacrifice.
How did we do it?
- We believed in ourselves.
To be a healthy successful person, you must believe in yourself. Henry Ford is attributed with the great quote, “Whether you believe you can or can’t, you are probably right.”
This is also why I frequently revisit the importance of encouraging and believing in others. It’s essential for leaders to help their people believe in themselves.
- We believed in our mission and purpose.
When you are committed to these two goals, you are going to work through challenges with a positive attitude that will help you come out the other side—and with more experience and more resilience. Be sure to clarify your mission and purpose and if they are truly solid and important; then stick with them.
- We had great relationships with others who cared about us.
The truth is that it’s very difficult to be a healthy person if you are living alone in your own world. Knowing that others care about you and that you are important to them is essential for a healthy human nature.
- We had faith in a higher power.
First and foremost, faith in God was a key component of POW resilience. If you have read any books about the Vietnam POW experience, this idea will be familiar. We also had faith in our country that we would not be left behind. That was a struggle back home and in the camps to some degree, but we all came through and made it home. Faith in our families back home helped our optimism, too.
Please post your additional experience and tips on staying optimistic.
Also, read and watch the entire coaching on this topic – “4 Leadership Steps to an Optimistic Attitude”