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Resilience sets achievers apart

Through resilience and stamina the impossible can be achieved

I think many experts would have called it impossible, that eleven-hour Wimbledon match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, the longest in tennis history and played in temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius. "It can't go on…" we kept saying, as we followed that incredible sequence of ‘sets' and ‘aces'.

Even the computerised scoreboard assumed that 59-59 was impossible. It was only programmed to go up to 47-47! Certainly it is worth keeping that thought in mind — that through resilience and stamina, they achieved the impossible.

The theme of resilience has featured more than once in this column, as an antidote against workplace stress. Usually I emphasise physical fitness as the first step towards building-up a resilient mindset.

But this case shows the reverse effect: two men who must have made the most thorough psychological preparations for their marathon, physical duel that has already passed into modern, sporting legend.

And did you ever hear such a gracious exchange of compliments between the two of them after the match? Truly these champions had scaled the heights, not only of athleticism but of human nobility.

In my counselling and training sessions about resilience, I divide this important quality into a six-part split.

1. Integrity: Be sure that the challenge is worth your effort in the first place. Don't waste it on dubious ventures that will taint your integrity. That Wimbledon record is a shining prize, which will have helped to inspire that magnificent performance.

2. Proportion: Try to maintain a perspective view, and keep the big tests sensibly in proportion. Don't become so committed to winning that you overstrain your system and threaten your health. Have a fall-back philosophy for the prospect of losing.

3. Humour: People with a sense of humour are very often winners. They refuse to let life beat them down, whatever the challenges, they are able to rise above them.

4. Support: Tennis may look like a solo effort. But behind those big winners, you can be sure that there is usually an emotional support network of family, friends and colleagues.

5. Spirituality: Resilience is often heightened and strengthened by some spiritual feeling for the world. Such people are more balanced and rounded characters, more at ease with themselves. That crucial burst of adrenaline at the critical moment may have something to do with a connection to one's spinner beliefs.

6. Tenacity: It's largely inborn, simply the hallmark of a stubbornly single-minded character. But it can also be acquired by observing and emulating those who show evidence of it. Significantly, it is the one quality that top business tycoons universally agree on, as being the key to success.

Winning habit

  • The Wimbledon record 59-set match was a triumph of resilience.
  • Resilience seems to help to achieve the impossible. 
  • It can be analysed as a mix of human qualities.


The author is a BBC guestbroadcaster and Motivational Speaker. She is CEO of an international stress management and employee wellbeing consultancy based in London. Contact them for proven stress strategies – www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk 
 

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