9 Habits of Resilient People

This is a new series on resilience.

I have been fortunate in meeting hundreds of resilient people in my time, some of them very humble people who were not obvious heroes and who yet overcame some terrible personal tragedies.

The nine habits are the stand-out, most commonly recurring traits I have noticed. In my work – whether in coaching or psychotherapy – I am always on the watch for resilience in my clients and will do whatever I can to turn their attention back to their strengths.

By ‘resilience’ I mean the ability to manage adversity. Adverse events can range from parenting out-of-control children to rescuing 70+ wounded soldiers while under intense Japanese sniper fire, as Desmond Doss (pictured) did on Hacksaw Ridge. It can show in the way you handle an argument at the office or in the way you help your friends. Or in your approach to disability, deprivation, abuse, poverty, unemployment, relationship breakdown, illness and death.

Here are the 9 habits:

  1. Resilient people tell it the way it is
  2. Resilient people have solid boundaries
  3. Resilient people exercise mind control
  4. Resilient people know what to do with their emotions
  5. Resilient people are hard realists
  6. Resilient people practice self-renewal
  7. Resilient people spend time with resilient people
  8. Resilient people take ownership
  9. Resilient people are (mostly) spiritual people

This does not mean that all resilient people have all nine traits. Most will have some and many may have all or nearly all. Others may have started out with just one or two and added to them along the way.


I will be publishing articles on each habit over the next few weeks so stay tuned.

If you have your own resilience stories to tell – whether they are about yourself or people you have met – be sure to leave them in the comment box. 

3 thoughts on “9 Habits of Resilient People

  1. N Palermo November 17, 2018 / 2:59 pm

    I totally agree with your nine traits and look forward to further descriptions of what you may be referring to. There are a few more that have helped me along the way. I am not afraid to reach out for help. I try not to use limiting words like all or nothing, good or bad, should, should not, ought to, ought not. right or wrong, can’t etc. I change the I Hope to kind of thought to I am type. And this is probably in your descriptions but I have learned to accept myself even though I have some not nice character traits and I have learned to forgive. God Bless


    • drjohneaton November 20, 2018 / 2:40 pm

      Hi Nick. Thanks for these reminders. I hope to cover these descriptions in forthcoming articles too. God bless JOHN


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