On Resilience

A friend sent me an article about resilience as we were talking about finding the centre of our lives (that’s for another blog post).

Rosabeth Moss Kanter defines resilience as the “ability to recover from fumbles or outright mistakes and bounce back… [One has] to learn from [one’s errors]. Those with resilience build on the cornerstones of confidence – accountability, collaboration and initiative” (2013).

Volatility has been constant in the past decade.  Organisations today have faced economic, social, political, technological, and environmental challenges.  These are aggravated by the interconnectedness of the world.  Changes anywhere typically result in changes elsewhere, making efficacious self-directed behaviour problematic at best (Bryson, 2011).

As we expect the unexpected, leaders, managers and organisations will fail at some point.  I agree that the challenge for true leaders (or people of character as more fundamental) is the acceptance of defeat with humility and have an intrinsic desire to try again.

APTOPIX Philippines Typhoon

I am writing this as my country is recovering from a disaster that Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).  Latest reports say that the provincial government of Leyte has said that at least 10,000 of its residents have been killed.

Filipinos are familiar with resilience.  Our love for being an underdog is rooted in our history of colonialism, and economic and political repressions.  We installed an action star as president before. We may be battered with various tragedies, still, we find a way to get up and continue on, if not for the better.

This year, we’ve been hit by several disasters – storms, an earthquake, a civil rebellion, and now, a super typhoon.  For a few days, we will traverse the horrors of the devastation; grieve over the deaths, and loss of property and opportunity.  As we move to relief operations, we, as a nation, have enough faith in ourselves that we will be able to recover.

Tragedies drive out the best and worst in people.  Distraught brings out our true personality as a nation.  We are gritty, and we show courage in the face of pain.

I hope and pray that we will get through this.  Let us grieve. Let us cry to the heavens. Then, let’s get up again and rebuild our nation as we always do.

10 November 2013 | Adelaide, South Australia

This essay is part of the requirements for the Transformational Leadership class under Ms Linda Chaousis, adjunct faculty at the Carnegie Mellon University – Australia.

We need all the help that we can get for the relief and rehabilitation efforts in the Philippines. Here’s the list of ways to help.



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One thought on “On Resilience

  1. Adrian Pantonial 11.10.2013 at 12.09 pm Reply

    Hey Boom! I like the way you write. And it’s inspiring too! 😀

    All the best to your Transformational Leadership class! 🙂

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