Bill Cosby told the story of how his father would exaggerate how much worse his life had been.

“I got up at 4 AM, walked to school with no shoes, in five feet of snow, uphill…both ways.”


What is it that makes us feel we’re in a contest to prove our pain is the most unbearable?  And why do some people build resilience and bounce back like rubber, while others cave like a sunken soufflé?

Some people look at problems as opportunities and others as insurmountable walls.  Which category do you fall into?

The Sad Sack
Also known as Mama Melodrama.  She seems not only to be stymied by problems, but even to glory in them.

The Fence Sitter
Occasionally tackles challenges, but may revert back to inaction as the heat turns up.

The Hardy Mum
As problems arise, the Mum keeps on truckin.  When the rubber meets the road, she squares her shoulders, puts her chin up and faces it head on.

Studies show that a habit can be made or broken in thirty days with even a small amount of effort.  So, how do you build resilience?

In the same way as you would build muscle: with resistance.  When you want to build strength, you’d push against a weight machine and actively engage your muscles.  Not sit on the couch and protect the muscles from harm.

So is there such a thing as resistance training for the soul?  I think so.  Try these ideas:

  • Rewind

Remind yourself how far you have come in life.  You’ve dealt with challenges before and you can deal with this challenge. Don’t let anything get you down for long.

  • Refocus your lens

Look at problems as mountains to be climbed.  You can’t climb a mountain in one giant leap; it takes small steps and perseverance.

  • Renew

Prayer, meditation, yoga… whatever it is that centers you, lean on it.

  • Remember

Don’t hold things in until they become unbearable.  Talk to friends or family and get it off your chest, but don’t dwell on it.  Most importantly, be yourself.  In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”