In engineering terms, resilience refers to the ability of a material to recover its shape. For people it’s about ‘bouncing back’ and recovering from life’s hits which, in its own right, is quite a helpful strength but, is it enough to simply return to the status-quo?
When you encounter a situation that challenges your mental ability to cope it is desirable to not only absorb and recover from the ‘hit’ but to learn from what happened and become psychologically stronger from having had the experience.
Notice how the word ‘experience’ can easily slip by unnoticed because of an implicit assumption that what you experience is ‘how it is’ leading to it being unthinkingly accepted as something over which you have no control. However, ‘your experience’ is a combination of what happens to you and how you react to what happens to you which, in turn, depends on how you view the world.
Hardiness turns a stressful experience into something that enhances your life. This is not done via an “It’s all good”, positive-thinking approach (which might sound good but rarely works), but in a considered, deliberate manner that prepares you for the next test of your inner resources – your next experience.
In short, hardiness is a long-term approach to developing your inner resources in much the same way a runner prepares for a marathon – without preparation, putting on a smiley face at the start line just doesn’t cut it.