Cam Taylor

Be inspired. Be focused. Be tenacious.

10 Essential Traits Needed to Survive Adversity

There is an essential quality you need if you plan on surviving trauma, set-backs, and the storms that come in life. It’s not just what I believe, it’s backed up by research.

The quality I’m talking about is resilience.

What is resilience? The dictionary defines it as…

“The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness…the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.”

Dr. William B. Helmreich, a sociologist at the City University of New York, sheds some light on the subject that I believe helps. After interviewing hundreds of Holocaust survivors, he noticed the large numbers of them who were able to resurrect their lives with courage, hope, and determination.

Dr. Helmrech found that contrary to popular belief, those who survived a horrific experience like a concentration camp, did not necessarily spiral out of control afterwards. Many of them did indeed develop a resilience that changed the trajectory of their lives.

The severity of the trauma was not a predictor of the outcome of their lives. What mattered was whether or not they cultivated the traits of resilience.

The 10 traits of resilience that survivors have in abundance*

  1. Flexibility – the capability of being bent without breaking – being adaptable.
  2. Assertiveness – the confidence to ask for what you need, be decisive and self-assured without being aggressive.
  3. Tenacity – to hold fast and be persistent in the face of pressure.
  4. Optimism – the tendency to expect a favorable outcome.
  5. Intelligence – the capacity to learn, reason and understand.
  6. Courage – the ability to face difficulty and danger with bravery.
  7. Perspective – The ability to distance themselves from the past so that it did not constantly intrude on their thinking.
  8. Community – An awareness of belonging to a particular group.
  9. Assimilation – Assimilating the knowledge that they survived.
  10. Purpose – The ability to find meaning in their lives.

What does this mean for you?

As I read over this list, I reflected on my own traumatic accident and the recovery journey I went on. I noticed many of the lessons I learned were very similar to these traits. I was encouraged and motivated to help people discover for themselves what is proven to be effective in overcoming adversity, loss and setbacks in life.

As you think about your life — whether you’re in the middle of a traumatic event, recovering from one, or anticipating your next one — these traits are worth cultivating into your own life and placing on your “need to grow” list. Resiliency training is critical because studies show that all of us will have 6-8 traumatic events in our life time.

The better prepared you are, the quicker you will bounce back after the storm.

Which of the 10 traits will you work on this week?

*Source: Bouncing Forward: The Art and Science of Cultivating Resilience by Michaela Haas

Hi! I'm Cam Taylor

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I help you live an inspired, focused and tenacious life.

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About Cam Taylor

Life and leadership coach, transition & change specialist, husband, dad, leader, writer, life long learner.

4 Replies

  1. Donald Klaassen

    At first glance I wonder if I have experienced any trauma but when I think about it some situations come to mind. I think the support of friends, family and my spiritual community have enabled me come through trauma with few scars to show for it. Thanks Cam.

    1. You probably have more of the 10 qualities of resilience that you even realized.

  2. Stephen

    Awesomely great.
    You’ve changed my life
    God richly bless you Cam.

    1. Thanks so much Stephen. I’m glad you’ve found the articles so helpful.

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