10 signs you’re more resilient than you give yourself credit for

Sometimes we feel that resilience is a skill or even an innate characteristic possessed only by the hyper-successful. 

It often feels like we are not strong enough to keep taking on the curveballs that life inevitably throws at us. 

Or at least it felt that way to me before I discovered these ten signs. 

You might also be more resilient than you give yourself credit for. 

Let’s find out…

1) You have made it through difficult times 

Resilience is a skill that we develop by doing difficult things. 

It follows the well-known phrase, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”, which we can thank German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche for. 

If you have gotten through difficult times and continued onward and upward, you are more resilient than you may think. 

It’s easy to downplay our achievements, but they often become more apparent when we reflect. 

You may think that you haven’t been through ‘difficult times,’ but I can assure you, you have. 


Not so long ago, almost no one escaped the lockdowns, the uncertainty, and the resulting emotional stress the pandemic caused. 

This is just one example. If you rack your mind, I assure you that you will come up with many more. 

2) You have a learning mindset

Resilient people understand that all of our experiences have something to teach us. 

Things aren’t bad or good. Things are how you see them. 

If you can relate to this, you are likely stronger than you think. 

When dealing with failure, some people give up. They lose all hope and see the work that they put in as a waste of time. 

With this mindset, they are unlikely to try again, to bounce back from failure. 

Someone who sees failure as a learning experience rather than a waste of time will more easily find the strength to keep going because everything is learning. 

While having a learning mindset in the face of challenges is a good start, if you can relate to the next point, you are in an even stronger position of resilience. 

3) You aren’t afraid to fail  

It takes great resilience to achieve big things. 

This is exemplified by a long list of incredibly successful people who failed, kept going, and beat the odds. 

Walt Disney, J.K Rowling, Arianna Huffington…the list goes on

All of these people, who now consider massive successes, failed. Most of them had setbacks that would convince most people to call it quits. 

Were they determined? Sure. 

Were they afraid to fail? Absolutely not. 

If you share this characteristic, you are in the company of some of the world’s most successful and resilient people

You don’t have to have tried to start a media empire or write a novel that would change the world of literature (and film). 

It could be something simpler. Have you ever done anything without being afraid of failing?

I am sure you have. 

Everyone fails, however. When you do, the next point on this list is essential in helping you bounce back

4) You have close personal relationships

Strong relationships are the bedrock of resilience

No man is an island”; we all need people to support us, especially in difficult times. 

This is even backed up by science. 

As reported by the New York Times, “The most significant determinant of resilience — noted in nearly every review or study of resilience in the last 50 years — is the quality of our close personal relationships”. 

In other words, quality relationships can be the difference between going on and giving up. 

If you are lucky enough to have a healthy family support system and/or social circle, you are more capable of resilience than you think.  

If you don’t have a strong family unit, you can get to building quality personal relationships. 

The next sign is not under your control, however. 

5) You were a well-loved child

“How loved you felt as a child is a great predictor of how you manage all kinds of difficult situations later in life.” – Bessel van der Kolk. (As reported by The New York Times

I am not going to beat around the bush with this one. 

If you had a positive childhood experience, you might be more resilient than you feel

As harsh as it sounds, if you didn’t, you can’t change that now. 

There are nine other signs on this list. One of them is focusing on what you can control (see sign 8). 

6) You practice gratitude 

personality traits of highly successful people 10 signs you’re more resilient than you give yourself credit for

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”― Epictetus

Maintaining a positive mindset can help you to shrug off many of the challenges life will throw at you. It’s like invisible armor. 

And if a positive mindset is armor, practicing gratitude is the skill you need to craft it. 

Giving thanks has been proven to have a host of benefits, including making people happier and healthier. 

Research also suggests that it helps to deal with adversity and develop strong relationships; both pillars on which resilience stands. 

If that’s not enough for you, it is a core principle in the writings of the stoic philosopher Epictetus who was possibly the most resilient person imaginable (more on this in point 9). 

If you regularly practice gratitude, you are probably more resilient than you give yourself credit for. 

Or perhaps, you don’t practice gratitude?

Well, the next point details a great activity to find out what you could be thankful for. 

7) You journal 

Self-reflection is critical for building and maintaining resilience.

One of the best methods to do this is journaling

It has been practiced by countless men and women who overcame obstacles to change the world, including Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Edison, and Mark Twain.

It’s also another habit practiced by Epictetus, who I mentioned in the last point. 


No one person demonstrates the power of this practice in relation to resilience as Anne Frank. 

We all know the story, but Exploring Your Mind put it well when it said:

 “Anne Frank made her diary a vehicle for reflection and reaffirmation, in the midst of extremely difficult conditions” 

If you are in the habit of you journaling, you may well be more resilient than you think. 

8) You focus on what you can control 

“We should always be asking ourselves: “Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?”

This is a principle made famous by possibly the most interesting and inspiring stoic philosopher, Epictetus

He went from being a slave to being one of the most sought-after philosophers in the world.  

If that’s not resilience, I don’t know what is. 

The list of famous people who practiced stoic teachings is astounding. More than that, you can be sure they possessed resilience in spades. 

Thomas Jefferson, Bill Clinton, Theodore Roosevelt, JK Rowling, Robert Greene, Jack Dorsey…

I could go on but here’s the deal…

You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you react. 

If you are of this mindset, you are likely more resilient than you give yourself credit for. 

9) You embrace challenges

Some people fear and avoid challenges. If you welcome them, you probably have more power to persevere than you think.

Resilience is about persevering in the face of difficulties.

If you are the type of person who enjoys or even seeks out challenges, you may also be the type of person who will excel in the face of adversity.  

Your ability to welcome tests and your determination to succeed will help you withstand life’s obstacles.

10) You can find humor in difficult situations

No matter how much you embrace challenges, learn and focus on controlling what you can; life will throw difficult situations in your path. 

Taking it all too seriously inevitably wears us out. We need to be able to laugh, even in difficult times. 

As noted by Positive Psychology, humor can serve as a coping mechanism for adversity

It can help you to get through times when it may seem all hope is lost. 

If you have the ability to laugh at yourself and life in the face of challenge and hardship, you are more resilient than you think. 

The bottom line 

We all know resilience is key to surviving and prospering in modern life. 

While you might not think you are resilient, if you can relate to some or all of the above signs, you are certainly more resilient than you give yourself credit for

On the other hand, if the signs don’t apply to you, remember that most of them are within your control. You can foster the mindsets and practices mentioned in this article. 

Mal James

Mal James

Mal James Originally from Ireland, Mal is a content writer, entrepreneur, and teacher with a passion for self-development, productivity, relationships, and business. As an avid reader, Mal delves into a diverse range of genres, expanding his knowledge and honing his writing skills to empower readers to embark on their own transformative journeys. In his downtime, Mal can be found on the golf course or exploring the beautiful landscapes and diverse culture of Vietnam, where he is now based.

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