Why Emotionally Intelligent People Embrace the ‘Rule of Resilience’

The young girl threw her bicycle helmet in disgust. She had been trying for an hour to learn how to ride her bike, but she was failing miserably. 

“You sure you don’t want some help?” her dad asked, as he sat on a nearby park bench.

“No!” the girl responded. “Why can’t I just do it straight away?”

“That’s not how the world works, kid,” responded Dad.

Learning to ride a bike is a great metaphor for resilience, a quality that you sorely need to achieve any sort of success in business, and in life.

And how can it help you deal with pressure, overcome challenges, and even save your mental health?

What is resilience and why do you need it?

Resilience is defined as the capacity to recover easily and quickly from unpleasant and damaging events. It falls under the umbrella of emotional intelligence, the ability to identify, understand, and manage emotions.

One way to think of resilience is to compare it with the abilities of a metal spring: Just like a spring can withstand pressure and return to its original form, resilient people can do the same.

Resilience is synonymous with toughness. It’s an invaluable quality because it can help you deal with repeatedly challenging events, to face pressure more effectively, all while preserving your mental health.

The opening dialogue about the girl riding the bike is actually a scene from one of my favorite children’s television shows, an Australian cartoon named Bluey about a family of talking dogs that centers around the main character.

In this episode, after Bluey gets frustrated trying to learn how to ride a bike, she sits with her dad on a bench, observing three of her friends face their own challenges.

Bluey’s sister Bingo tries repeatedly to get water from a water fountain, but because of her size she keeps falling short.

Friend Bentley is also short, which keeps her from reaching the monkey bar rings (despite repeated efforts).

And despite her struggles, cousin Muffin can’t get her backpack on, failing to get her arm through that second strap.

Each of these characters reaches a point where they break down into tears, much like Bluey.  

They each wipe away their tears. They each get up. 

Instead of jumping and grabbing the rings, Bentley crawls up the side of the monkey bars so she’s able to reach them easier.

Muffin lays flat on her back, successfully sliding into her backpack.

And Bingo presses the water fountain button long and hard–causing the water to overflow unto the ground where she can lap it up. (This is a cartoon about dogs, remember?) 

“Less than ideal,” Bluey’s Dad mutters.

“But it’s still a win.” 

The episode concludes with Bluey strapping on her helmet, giving it another try on the bike.

So, how do you build resilience like Bluey, Bingo, Bentley, and Muffin?

By learning the rule of resilience.

How the rule of resilience helps you deal with pressure and overcome challenges

The rule of resilience is all about learning how to deal with the emotions that rise when you fail repeatedly, or when you face pressure or difficult challenges.

When this is your situation, follow these steps:

Like our story’s characters, we all reach a point where we’re ready to give up.

When that happens, it’s helpful to take a break. Doing so helps you to get your emotions under control, and recharge your “emotional batteries.” This will give you the strength to try again.

2. Embrace your feelings.

When dealing with pressure or repeated failures, you’re likely to feel frustrated, angry, and disappointed–just like Bluey and her friends.

Don’t ignore those emotions. Instead, accept them.

Talk to a friend…or to yourself.

Doing this will help you to recognize that it’s normal to feel the way you do. That it’s all ok

And that sometimes, you just need to let it all out.

You’ve likely heard the famous quote:

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Like Bluey and her friends, you must do the opposite.

In a business context, strive to solve problems in a different way from your competitors. Explore contrary opinions. Give some of your work away for free. Go the extra mile. (Actually, you can apply this principle to many areas of life.)

Sometimes, this will lead to amazing success…Other times, it will still take several tries. You may even be forced to “lick water off the ground,” so to speak.

Because when it comes to building resilience, “less than ideal” is more than enough to help you carry through. Like a tough and flexible spring, you’ll easily withstand pressure and return to your original form. 

And that’s definitely a win in my book.

(If you enjoyed this article, be sure to sign up for my free emotional intelligence course, where every day for 10 days, you get a rule designed to help you make emotions work for you, instead of against you.)

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter below and never miss the latest news.