How to go from Delicate to Resilient

discover how to train your resilience response, and generalize the skills you already have

Posted By: TeamTKN

It happened about a year ago. 


I didn’t know it at the time, but I was a few weeks away from a complete breakdown. I was visiting with my brother, and we had stayed up late catching up on life. There were a lot of hard things going on, but at the end of the conversation, my brother noted that I was the most resilient he had seen me in a long time. 


That comment sat with me because it gave me a word for the change I had felt in myself. Ever since then, I have been mulling over resilience. 


Are you born with it?

Do you learn it?


Do tough times make you resilient or is it the resilient people who make it through tough times?


It’s actually neither. 


My entire family could attest: I was NOT a resilient person. 

My primary coping strategy was: curl up in a ball and give up. 


At the same time, I did not gain resilience through hardship. 


And not for lack of trying. 

I have certainly thrown myself in the path of unnecessary hardship.  I would sacrifice things no one asked me to sacrifice because I had yet to learn that: Pain for the sake of pain is dumb. 


But if tough times don’t make you resilient 


you don’t have to have been born resilient to make it through tough times:


What exactly is the relationship between hardship and resilience?

Resilience Response

What is a typical response to being truly challenged?


Overcome and Adapt?


Distribute the negativity and blame from the experience?


Imagine that two people have an equally traumatizing experience. They both get equally traumatized.


One person spirals out of control, and their mind and body deteriorate at a rapid rate.


The other recovers and more: seeking mastery and better skills. Their mind and body improve beyond baseline.

  1. What is the difference?
  2. Why does one deteriorate while the other grows stronger?
  3. And is this an outcome you can influence with conventional means?

1) The difference between these two people is their resilience response. 2) The resilience response allows a person to find value in times of strain, hardship, and doubt. 3) Yes, this is an outcome that you can influence.


This is great news because you need to rely on your resilience response every day of your life. 

You need it when you:

  • Hit a red light
  • Get sick
  • Break up

You also need a resilience response for traumatic experiences:

  • Natural disasters
  • Violence
  • Torture

Many of us admire those we see as resilient people. But if there are resilient people, does that mean everyone else is inherently fragile and weak?

If the answer is, “yes,” we may as well stop right here. 


I mean, maybe I could make you a fun quiz to determine if you are delicate or resilient. But there would be no further action to take. You would simply need to accept your quiz results as fate. 

Fortunately, this is not our situation. 

But if we want to have a useful conversation on this subject, we must learn to separate the person from the skill. 


Academic, clinical, and empirical evidence all support that resilience is a skill that we can develop. When we assign resilience as a personality label, we do everyone a disservice. 


Instead of labeling someone as a resilient person, it is much more helpful to identify a person as having a strong resilience response. 

General vs. Categorical

More good news:

Everyone has a good resilience response for something. There is an area of your life where you can experience strong emotion, recover and move forward. The thing about the resilience response is that it is categorical. That is, you can exercise a strong resilience response in some areas better than others.

  • You may exercise a strong resilience response at work, but crumple in your personal life.
  • You may be able to hold up under the barrage of war, but not under the barrage of emails.
  • You may be a champion when it comes to intense interpersonal conflict, but completely lose it when you’re stuck in traffic.

Your next step is discovering how to train your resilience response, and generalize the skill you already have

10 Trainable Skills that make up the Resilience Response 

  1. Study Other People with a Strong Resilience Response
    A perfect example is found in Dr. Victor Frankl, the holocaust survivor who was also a neurologist and psychiatrist. He recorded his experiences in this book, Man’s Search for Meaning. His case study is the bedrock for resilience response.


  2. Find and Record Data in Real Time
    If you can exit your brain during challenging experiences and view the situation as a spectator, you can choose better actions in the present, and learn from your responses for the future. Over time you’ll have given yourself a personalized manual for how YOU actively respond to adversity in multiple contexts


  3. Actively Search for Teachable Moments
    Growth happens when you look in the right place and ask the right questions. Our days are overflowing with teachable moments. Keep your eyes open, and you can deepen and accelerate the process of building your resilience response.


  4. Respecting Risk, Discomfort, Challenge
    Rather than embracing, ignoring or suppressing risk, discomfort and challenge, simply respect that these elements are part of your life. They are not inherently good or bad. Recognizing their presence allows you to draw on them as resources to build your resilience response.


  5. Be Open to New and Different
    Like the previous skill, you neither have to universally embrace OR shun the new and different. By opening yourself up to these experiences, you are able to raise your potential while maintaining your safety net. You open up the top, while protecting the bottom. This is the path to limitless growth.


  6. Develop a Robust Solution Framework
    Learn to separate practical problems from thinking problems, and develop appropriate solutions for each.


    Practice using your Solution Framework by being PURPOSEFUL in your decision making but FLEXIBLE in your execution.


    Remember between stimulus and response there is a space. In this space is your opportunity to inject logic and reason. Coach yourself into making that space as large as possible


  8. Practice Self Respect
    Practicing self respect means separating your thoughts, belief and actions from who you are as a person. Making a mistake is light years away from being a mistake


  9. Substantiate with Evidence
    Now that you are practicing self respect, you can begin to rebuild your beliefs. Base your new beliefs on evidence.


  10. Practice Self Reliance
    Self reliance does not mean you have to isolate yourself or take life on by yourself. Part of self reliance is trusting yourself to find support from the RIGHT people. The best environment for nurturing a resilience response is one where you increase your opportunity for growth WHILE securing your safety net. 

You handle resilience in some areas of your life better than others. This is good. It means you have already begun to develop this skill. Now you can generalize it to other areas. As you train your resilience response, the challenges that used to drag you down will transform into catapults YOU can control to launch yourself forward.

Dr. Trevor Kashey explains How to go from Delicate to Resilient

As you train your resilience response, the challenges that used to drag you down will transform into catapults YOU can control t launch yourself forward.

10 Trainable Skills That Make Up the Resilience Response

You handle resilience in some areas of your life better than others. This is good.

  1. Study Other People with a Strong Resilience Response 
  2. Find and Record Data in Real Time
  3. Actively Searching for Teachable Moments 
  4. Respect Risk, Discomfort, Challenge 
  5. Be Open to New and Different 
  6. Develop a Robust Solution Framework
  8. Practice Self Respect 
  9. Substantiate with Evidence 
  10. Practice Self Resilience 

About Jacquelyn Laporte

Jacquelyn LaPorte has had the privilege of working with TKN since 2018. The journey has been a wild one, but it has ushered her into the driver’s seat of her own life. She learned how to ask questions, answer them honestly and act on the answers. She has used this process to become a better parent to her 3 kids, a better wife, a better boss, a better learner, a better human. She believes that no experience is wasted, (not even majoring in a dead language with no career plan😊 or starting a business with 0 entrepreneurial spirit). Each experience gives the gift of new eyes. Perfect choices are not required, and that makes her free to choose.


“There are a thousand thousand reasons to live this life, and every one of them sufficient.”

-Marilynne Robinson-

Trevor Kashey Nutrition

Team TKN

Team TKN cultivates, curates and shares Dr. Trevor Kasheys’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

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