Someone asked me today if I could run a training that fosters resilience, so I have been thinking about resilience. I like the definitions that encourage us to think of resilience as a kind of elasticity. The Fantastic Four was one of a very few comics that appealed to me as a child. Remember the hero who could stretch and stretch and then pull back into himself. A very useful role model as heros go.
Viktor Frankl talks about the same kind of quality when he talks about the heroism of the concentration camps: the ability to remain resolutley oneself in the face of conditions designed to rob one of all individuality. The ability, finally, to assert "this is who I am" in the face of a world that wants to tell you who to be or not to be.
Can resiliency be learned? Yes. We can learn to know ourselves so well that we can get back into our true shape no matter how much we are pulled or distorted by circumstance. We can focus our attention and our intentions on having the kind of integrity that allows buildings to stand through hurricanes and rubber bands to bounce back and hold true.
Can resiliency be taught? Yes: by trainers and by everyone who reaches out and supports the efforts of any other person to find and know and maintain the self that expresses what Frankl might have called the unique meaning that only that person can offer to the world.