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Learning Resilience from History

Shmuel Fischler, LCSW-C · January 20, 2021

Resilience, or the capacity to quickly recover from life’s challenges, is a valuable trait that can help us navigate through times of stress and uncertainty. But how can we develop our own resilience? Sometimes it’s worth looking back in time for the answers to life’s difficult questions. Here’s how we can learn resilience from history!

A Zoomed-Out Perspective

When we are in the midst of difficult times, we tend to focus on our stressors and begin to feel isolated as a result. Connecting with a piece of history can make us feel comforted, refreshed and ready to overcome our challenges. We can connect to all sorts of history, whether it happens to be a well-known historical event or a treasured piece of family history.

Resilience from Adversity

Life’s toughest moments can leave us feeling like we need a jolt of motivation to carry on. While our challenges and situations are unique, there are likely examples of inspirational historical figures who have been through similar challenges and overcame them in the end. The added perspective of someone who has been through hard times can make them much easier to navigate for us in the present. If you happen to call on someone for advice during a difficult time, there’s a great chance you’ll set yourself up in a position to help someone else down the line. Steve Jobs, who was widely successful during his lifetime, summed up this logic perfectly in a 1994 interview only two years before returning to Apple and revitalizing the entire brand. 

Learning from Mistakes

A goal we share throughout humanity is to collectively improve ourselves to advance society forward for the next generation. Of course, many mistakes have been made here along the way. If we look at our own personal history, our family history and history at large, we can surely learn from these mistakes and use them to help navigate through our current situations. For example, George Washington lost more battles than any victorious general in modern history and is still revered as a hero for his unbreakable resilience amidst all of the early nation’s struggles.

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