There are certain people you meet who you just know are born to be survivors.
The key is not in their physical strength or intelligence, although these can come into play.
Instead, the key to survival for these people is in their special personality traits that they apply to even the toughest of situations.
People with grit can get through almost everything.
Whether that’s an economic collapse or the end of a relationship, they do what it takes to survive and come out stronger and better.
They don’t take hardship personally, and they know that it’s just the way life goes sometimes.
Grit is one of those traits that seems to be in rare supply these days, partly because so many parts of modern life have become automated.
But the gritty person finds ways to ensure they’re ready for whatever comes their way.
People with patience find a way to stay sane when others can’t bear it any more.
Patience can be more valuable than gold.
In so many areas of life both professionally and personally, patience can make the difference between success and failure.
At the business level, it often takes patience and consistency to start to see real growth and results.
At the personal level, patience is quite often the necessary ingredient for a relationship to bloom.
You can’t get a flower to bloom by pulling it out of the ground before it’s ready, but you can help it along with water and the right mix of sunshine and shade.
Along with patience comes its close sibling persistence.
This is a core component of any long-term success strategy.
No matter how often you need to adjust course or recalibrate, you’ll need persistence to keep going through the ups and downs.
The person who ends up emerging from the lowest lows that life has to offer has persistence in droves.
They’re able to get up in the morning and brush their hair and teeth even when almost everything else has been taken from them.
They’re persistent no matter how down they are on their luck.
4) A sense of humor
A sense of humor is vital for almost everything in this life, from dealing with waiting in an annoying line to defusing an angry argument with a friend or romantic partner.
Jokes and laughter can turn everything around, because they disarm our impulse to protect our ego and make us at least temporarily see the silliness of so much of what we fight about.
Give it a rest. Laugh it off. Life is short and none of us are perfect.
If you’re able to have a sense of humor, even about some of the trickier subjects in life and experiences that keep you up at night it’s a major superpower.
5) Historical context
Historical context means keeping in mind the bigger picture.
The person who can get through anything has at least a basic understanding and knowledge of history.
When a recession hits or a war they don’t become deeply despondent or give up on life, because they know that we’ve seen far worse historically.
When people can’t believe the kind of corruption that big corporations are engaging in, they raise their eyebrows and think back to the British East India Company.
This is not to say that historical context means any tragedy or injustice in our day is no big deal: there is still slavery in the world today and horrible injustice and wars with no justification.
But historical context helps provide a kind of stoicism and an attitude of “we will get through this.”
Our ancestors have been through things many of us couldn’t imagine. We are going to get through this.
Self-confidence is an irreplaceable quality because without it even success doesn’t mean much.
A person has to believe in themselves before they can really believe in what they’ve accomplished.
But learning to value oneself is not an overnight thing.
It takes time, resilience and grit.
That’s why a person who can overcome almost anything becomes self-confident as a result of their life itself.
Looking back on everything they’ve achieved they realize:
“I’m a lot stronger than I realized!”
And this feeds into a continuing cycle of self-reinforcing strength and solidity in the face of the storms of life.
Resourcefulness is one of those skills which can apply to almost any area of life:
Last minute repairs to a machine that’s broken down…
Planning an alternative event last minute when a venue cancels or the weather doesn’t cooperate…
Learning to consider plan B, Cs and Ds when a career option doesn’t pan out.
Resourcefulness takes a lot of persistence, imagination and creativity.
And it’s always worth the trouble.
As motivational speaker and coach Tony Robbins says, “the greatest resource is resourcefulness.”
The person who can get through anything understands the importance of collaboration and interdependence.
Far from codependence or relying on others to save us, interdependence is a voluntary and mutual sharing of skills, love and resources.
It’s pulling together when things get tough and choosing to support those around us because we can.
Just as everything in nature depends and grows around and inside and over and under everything else, so we too will always be in relation with what’s around us.
It just depends on what kind of relationship that’s going to be.
9) Thinking for themselves
When the pressure is on and times are tough, it’s easy to get sucked in by the words of a manipulator or charismatic leader.
But those who are able to think for themselves find a way to resist the siren’s song.
They think for themselves even when it would be easier to just follow the crowd.
They weigh evidence on their own without just listening to what everybody else says.
They’re willing to stand out from the crowd or even be disliked, but they will do what they believe best even if everybody else disagrees.
10) Learning from failure
When failure comes there are two basic ways to react:
Somebody can take it as a sign to walk away, or take it as a lesson.
Sometimes frustration seems final: a person’s business goes bankrupt, their husband leaves them and the marriage is over, their attempt to get into law school fails for the fourth time.
But just because a frustrating and painful situation has given its final word and put somebody on ice doesn’t mean they need to take it sitting down.
At worst they use such experiences to grow fortitude and patience.
At best they use the experience to learn how to adjust strategy and try again or find an even better thing to work towards.
When the going gets tough…
When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
With a dash of self-awareness and a lot of persistence, patience, confidence and learning, it’s possible to keep going in life and get through even the toughest times.
There’s no guarantee you won’t come out scarred: we all will.
But there is a guarantee that this journey will make you stronger and that if you take a closer look at the traits above you’ll notice one thing they all have in common:
They’re practical and all about putting one foot in front of the other even when the chips are down.
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