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January 1, 2020

The Art of Resilience: Thriving in Adversity

“Excellence withers without an adversary. It is not what you endure that matters, but how you endure it.”


According to the Academy of Ideas, “in life there is a constant onslaught of obstacles and adversaries, competitive classmates, stressful advanced courses and unsympathetic teachers. You might think that the passage of time would teach most people how to overcome these challenges.

Regretfully, time only teaches the willing.

Thus, most students and adults are sorely unprepared for life.

One of our problems is our victim mentality. But if we wish, as Nietzsche claims, to be “the true helmsman of our existence,” we must assume responsibility of our lives and develop courage & resilience.

“The latest science reveals that stress can make you smarter, stronger and more successful. It helps you learn and grow.”

Kelly McGonical

According to ‘Academy of Ideas (AOI),’ a VLOG that disseminates ideas of the world’s greatest philosophers and scientists, “if you believe a stress is burdensome and a threat to your well-being, the stress will be detrimental to your health. But, if you see stress as problem to solve in pursuit of success and growth, the stress acts as a constructive companion.”

AOI suggests that one solution to alleviating stress is to

live a life of “excellence and competition.”

Interestingly, severe adversity destroys more people than it elevates, and Nietzsche’s quote does not hold true for most, “that which does not kill you makes you stronger.”

Another remedy proposed by AOI to better handle stress is to practice “Premeditation of Evils” and “negative visualization.” In the former, one visualizes career or relationship failures such as the loss of a job or loved one. Having done that, we can develop a psychological armor similar to the king that builds a castle to protect his kingdom. Regarding ’negative visualization’ one envisions situations that can go wrong today, such as getting a speeding ticket from a policeman, meeting arrogant co-workers or losing one’s wallet on the train. This line of reasoning is consistent with Seneca’s quote from below.

“Anyone can endure difficulties better if he/she has previously practiced how to deal with them. People who are unprepared can be unhinged by even the smallest of things. “


Finally, AOI reminds us that “one key to living a positive life is to remain affirmative amidst life’s many burdens and blows” through a life attaining knowledge, wisdom and resilience.

“If you are distressed by situations outside of your control, the pain is not due to the event itself, but to your interpretation of it; and this you have the power to remove incorrect or unworthy interpretations in you mind at any moment.”

Marcus Aurelius

Interested in other self-development tips? Call Ivy Bound for guidance and consulting.