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Is your Resilience a Trait, a Process, or an Outcome?

In this time of intense uncertainty, the term resilience is assigned now more than ever not only to human characteristics, as well as to governments’ measures against the pandemic. Indeed, this terminology is spreading contagiously, faster than the delta variant itself. Resilience became the new go to status, like a booster shot one needs to thrive and survive...Nevertheless, according to the present literature, resilience yet remains a broad concept lacking a universally accepted definition.

In order to truly understand what is resilience and what it entails, one needs to firstly distinguish whether resilience is solely a trait, a process, an outcome or rather, the synergy of the three?

Many people describe resilience as a trait; however, they often misinterpret the trait with the process and outcome. Are we born resilient or does life experience shape us into becoming resilient? Are the ones with a resilient trait the only ones who thrive and succeed or do those with a weak trait strive and die? Are they incapable of changing, evolving and learning? Does your trait allow you to overcome everything or some specific events life throws at you?

To answer these questions, firstly let’s remind ourselves that a trait is an enduring personality.

The trait on its own is not sufficient enough to respond to a diverse context of adversity. When zooming at what role these traits play in various contexts, we notice the following: in a situation where the trait is a positive factor, one will rise and shine victoriously; however, in other situations where this same trait is a contra effective factor, the trait is not sufficient on its own. As a matter of fact, according to research, the effect of the latter situation causes a regression and retains the person in the position of a victim. The notion of resilience as a trait therefore confines our perception of how people respond in various contexts.

The process is a combination of your inner and outer your resources and how you use them. It consists of capitalizing them in order to adapt your response the best possible way to face your challenge. This view that resilience is also a process by which your resources leverage your resilience is enduringly accepted by the existing resilience literature.

Your resources are what is considered in the literature as your protective factors. Your inner resources are what is in your mind such as your intent, your mindset, how you are aware of and regulate your emotions, your self-confidence and your motivation to overcome this challenge. While your outer resources are for example your professional network, a social support with positive relationships, your financial status and other material things which do come in handy. The process of using your resources the most optimal way in the context of adversity leverages your resilience.

Resilience is also a positive outcome due to the fact one expands and integrates learnings from this experience. The acquired understandings and knowledge throughout the process lead to increasing self-efficacy, adaptability, and therefore your resilience. such an outcome of resilience cannot logically occur without the process through which the outcome arises.

So, to answer the above question is resilience a trait, a process or an outcome? In my humble opinion, it is not solely a trait, a process or an outcome, but rather, the synergy of the three, like the members of the dream team the three mousquetaires.

Resilience is a key determinant to your health, wellbeing, performance and life balance. It all starts in your mindset, and your mind is the temple where change takes place.

While you enjoyed the read of this article, feel free to send me your feedback and experience about resilience to

Many more pertinent articles on resilience are available on my blog.

In the meantime, stay safe and tuned for my upcoming articles.

Shermeen Zeidan – your resilience coach

Certified Master Coach


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