Survival of the Fittest


GRIT & RESILIENCE – This is, what is needed in the current global economic climate. It is after all a competitive world and survival of the fittest requires organisations and individuals alike to have “grit and resilience”. To have grit is to have strong determination, to be courageous and to have tenacity. Resilience on the other hand, is about having the ability to bounce back when one falls to the lowest point and having the strength of character to recover quickly from stressful, threatening or difficult situations.

The American Psychological Association states “Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences. In other words – never give up no matter what happens.

Photo credit: Fox Searchlight

Resilience is not inherent in every person. It can be developed and is crucial in assisting an individual to cope with negative circumstances and to preserve mental and emotional wellbeing. An interesting share from @Inner Drive website stated the “9 Ways Olympic Champions Develop Resilience” as follows: 1 Develop a positive personality, 2 View your decisions as active choices not sacrifices, 3 Use support available to you from other people, 4 Identify your motivation for succeeding, 5 Focus on personal development, 6 View setbacks as an opportunity for growth, 7 Strengthen your confidence from a range of sources, 8 Take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and behaviors, 9 Concentrate on what you can control. Let us start practicing this…

Most oil producing countries globally, have been hit hard by the impact of the falling oil prices. What has this got to do with the topic of grit and resilience? The answer is crystal clear, it has a direct relationship especially in terms of handling the consequences of the current situation which is very much related to the wellbeing of organisations and their people. An organisation that has a resilient workforce can stand the test of time. A resilient workforce has the following characteristics: teams with a strong supporting spirit; and teams that have the ability to adapt to disruptive changes via positive thinking and bouncing back from grave situations.

For parents, it is important to instill in young children the characteristics of grit and resilience, as these qualities will enable them to confidently face the future. Growing up is a sensitive period in a child’s life, hence this requires careful handling. From Kidspot, I would like to share the 10 best phrases that can be used by parents in order to teach their children resilience: 1 Humour – “Come on, laugh it off”; 2 Contain thinking, perfectionism and anxiety – “Don’t let this spoil everything”; 3 Distraction – “Let’s take a break”; 4 Handling worry and asking for help – Who have you spoken to about this?”; 5 Offering hope – “I know it looks bad now but you will get through this”; 6 Positive reframing – “What can you learn from this so it doesn’t happen next time?”; 7 Acceptance – “Don’t worry – relax and see what happens!”; 8 Perspective – “This isn’t the end of the world”; 9 Flexible thinking – “You could be right. But have you thought about…”; 10 Taking action – “What can we do about this?”

From my personal experience, I have asked numerous MDs, CEOs and HR Managers of local and international companies which quality besides leadership, should today’s youth possess in order to succeed? They’ve all said “RESILIENCE”, a trait which seems to be missing in some of the workforce today. Lastly, let us reflect on this phrase from Carl Gustav Jung, “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become”. Life is all about the choices we make. To the youth in Brunei Darussalam, I say, start developing grit and resilience in order to stand tall among your competitors.

This article was published in the Jul-Sept 2016 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!


Hjh Zainab is a HR Professional & Mentor. She was active in the Oil & Gas Industry for the past 30+ years. She has significant business experiences gained in a multi cultural environment in Brunei (BSP, Brunei LNG), Oman, Qatar, and Europe in the areas of HR & Learning and Development. She is passionate about people development and upholds the mantra ‘don’t let others tell you what you can’t do, and show them what you can do.