Log in

The Power of Resilience: Importance of Struggle and Failure in Life

Apr 3rd, 2024 | 5 Min Read
Blog Thumnail

Category: Spirituality


Language: English

The concept of resilience plays a pivotal role in achieving personal growth and success. It acts as a beacon of hope, guiding individuals through life's inevitable challenges and empowering them to thrive amidst adversity. However, before we delve deeper into the power of resilience, it is crucial to clearly define what success means. If we equate success with material possessions such as comfort, luxury, wealth, power, and prestige, we are bound to feel distraught and shattered when these are taken away. On the other hand, if we view success as the conquest of our lower nature, as a continuous process of growth and self-improvement, we are less likely to be affected by failures and setbacks, as we are striving for something significant and purposeful. Hence, developing resilience by shifting our focus from materialistic values to those that prioritise personal growth and development is crucial.

People teach their children how to succeed, but success is less common than failure. Statistics inform us that 9 out of 10 start-ups fail. What will happen when you encounter failure in life?
Saint Kabir put it so well when he said,
सोना, सज्‍जन, साधुजन, टूटि जुरै सौ बार।
दुर्जन कुंभ-कुम्‍हार के, एकै धका दरार।।
sónā, sájjən, sādhujən, ṭūṭi jurə sau bār.
durjan kumbh-kumhār ke, ekai ḍhəkā darār
Sona sajjana saadhu jan, toot jude sau baar
Durjan kumbh kumhaar ke, ekai dhakka daraar
Meaning: The nature of good people, the saints, and gold is that if you break them a hundred times, they will join again. And the nature of clay pots and evil people is that one hit, and they shatter forever. 

How do we make children resilient?

Stop being over-protective!

Take this story, for instance- Two neighbours planted trees in their courtyards. One was tending to the tree with all kinds of fertilisers he was getting from the store. The second neighbour was watering the tree regularly, but he was not pampering the tree. The first neighbour's tree was growing at three times the rate. And in the space of two years, it had shot up to ten feet.
In comparison, his neighbour's tree was just half the height. It seemed to be stunted. However, when a storm came, the winds fiercely raged, and the big tree crashed down while the little one stood firm. In the morning, the two neighbours came to inspect the damages, and they discovered that the little tree was standing while the big one had collapsed. 

The first neighbour asked the second: "How did this happen? I took such good care of my tree. I supplied it with all the fertilisers necessary". The second neighbour said, "You over-tended to it. It had an easy life. It did not need to struggle. It did not shoot its root deep into the earth. On the other hand, I was taking care of it in my case, but I was not solving every battle. And the consequence was, to survive, this tree of mine was forced to sink its roots deep in to receive the nutrition that gave it the strength to bear the storm."

Similarly, overindulging parents treat their children with kid gloves, and those children remain emotional babies when they grow up. So you don't have to solve their every problem or step in to remove their every hardship. Life is a learning process. Let them face the world for what it is.
Remember, don't control or facilitate. Your children are on a journey. Your job is not to control them with your perspectives and ideas but to facilitate their journey by merely providing proper inputs and then standing back to see them grow. This is the way to ensure that your children grow up to be brave, heroic and strong.

Resilience requires deep roots.

Compare the fern with the bamboo. The fern- you plant the seed, and it's grown up in a few weeks. The fern is out there. And the bamboo- you plant the seed and keep watering it. For the first year, you see nothing on the surface that has come out. The second year, again, nothing has come out. The third year, again, nothing. Five years in succession, nothing comes, and the bamboo starts shooting out all of a sudden. And within six months, it has shot a hundred feet.

So, what was it doing for those five years?

You'd say it was doing nothing!

It was deepening its roots. For it to rise a hundred feet, it needs such solid roots. If the roots are not strong, it's going to fall over. The Sequoia groves are huge trees, and if by chance the sequoia seed has fallen in a place that's not strong enough, after 200 years, the tree falls over. The roots can not sustain. So, the bamboo needs such strong roots that it will shoot a hundred feet up. During those five years, it has been strengthening its roots.

Similarly, God wants us to reach perfection. It will take time. And in that time, there will be mistakes, errors, and times when we fall. Never get discouraged! See all these as opportunities to learn and to progress.
Don't get demotivated after failures.

The world may say you are a failure, but God will never say it. So many things in this world were rejected as failures, and later on, they became great successes. 

We have all heard of Walt Disney. He was such a failure that he was making cartoons for some church, and the only place he had to stay was rat-infested. That's where he got the idea of the rat cartoon.
We have heard the author of Gone with the Wind. When he presented his manuscript to the publisher, the publisher wrote it "rejected," and that became one of the most successful novels in history.
We have heard that when Alexander Graham Bell made his telephone, he presented it to an investor. That person said, "Take this toy out of my table. I am not interested."

We had heard that when Wilbur and Orville Smith were trying to create their aeroplane, three days before that, in the New York Times, there was an article in the editorial: "These crazy people and their crazy machines, they actually think that they will fly up in a machine. Impossible. Only birds can fly." And three days after that, they succeeded.

In conclusion, resilience is a crucial trait that can help us overcome adversity and achieve personal growth and success. By defining success in terms of personal growth and development, we can shift our focus from materialistic values and prioritise our inner journey. Moreover, by allowing ourselves and our children to face challenges and learn from failures, we can develop deep roots and become more resilient. Remember, success is not about avoiding failures but learning from them and growing stronger.
So, there is no such thing as failure. It's a constant learning process.