Building Resilience-Hug and Nudge

(Vol IX)

Sometimes a warm hug is the answer to our question 

and sometimes a gentle nudge is the answer.

'Hug and Nudge' is a fortnightly column with two different perspectives from two different continents and cultures on the same question in personal development area viz. 

Jennifer Sertl (based in New York, USA) and

Dr Amit Nagpal (based in New Delhi, India).

Question-How does an individual build resilience to face the ever changing environment?
A Great Question by Preeti Subberwal, Life Skills Trainer, New Delhi

Jennifer Sertl's Answer
As you know by now I don’t think of resilience in isolation. I think of resilience in the context of agility = resilience + responsiveness + reflection. However, we can zoom directly to resilience for this post.

Building resilience is an ongoing process and there are many ways to foster and buffer this capacity. I will only share a few that I think will have the most immediate impact.

First, I think we need to start by acknowledging how resilient you already are. I want you to think of a time between the age of 5 - 7 and something that made you feel either proud or special? 

Before we knew about 'ego' or before we experience 'shame' many of us have had experiences that allowed us to illuminate and experience our unique contribution to the world. I like to start with the past because I think people are so used to looking forward to the mountain they are climbing that they often devalue - or forget to honor where they have come from.

Here is one of my favorite quotes that keeps me feeling renewed during times when I might forget how strong, resilient I have been:

“The true result of endeavor, whether on a mountain or in any context, may be found in its lasting effects rather than in the few moments during which the summit is trampled by mountain boots. The real measure is the success or failure of the climber to triumph, not over a lifeless mountain, but over oneself: the true value of the enterprise lies in the example of others of human motivation and human contact.”
— Sir John Hunt, The Last Blue Mountain 

Our world fosters competition and it is easy to envy others for what they are accomplishing. What we don’t know is whether the individuals we admire are truly happy and if they are honoring their own life journey. What we know is only our own hearts (even we are mysteries to ourselves).  Helen Keller is a wonderful teacher on resilience. I think we need to keep her voice in this conversation:

Second, if you don't have a journal - now please get one. Writing in a journal is a wonderful way to build resilience. The only way we can track how our thinking is changing is by reading our past thoughts and how our focus and language shifts over time.

Many people do not know how to get started. I have a practice I call Plus + / Delta Δ.  
At least once per week write down a situation that happened that you were proud of and what actions you took to support a successful outcome Plus +. At least once per week write down a situation that happened that you wish you could have been better prepared for or if you could have a do-over what you might do differently. We think about these things and then ruminate in our heads - but unless we get into disciplined practice and write these things down-- we might set ourselves up for lateral loops instead of progressive learning loops.

Even if you keep a blog - please, please keep a private journal. I think there are some things we need to keep private for our own learning and for our own unfolding.

To keep this post both brief and actionable, the last thing I will share for now is the idea that you create time in the morning for at least 10 minutes to think about how you want to be in the world. I have a prayer and an intention that I say that grounds my day. While we are connected to the globe, many of us are not connected to ourselves, our core. I begin my day with a 10 minute ritual that includes a prayer for safety and a prayer for my intention.

I will be in a lot of noise today.
May I have the wisdom to separate grain from chaff.
May I use my time to honor my long view commitments.
May my interactions create reciprocal value.
May I be safe from energetic and psychological harm.
Finally, may the ripples I create include wisdom, grace, and impact. . .

This is just an example of the type of prayer or meditation that I believe is vital for our practice. Your prayers (requests) might be different. The ripples you desire to create will also be unique. The point here is to claim your space and how you want to be in it - prior to jumping into the water of life on the outside with everyone else’s design.

You are already resilient. Honor how far you have come. Build some additional habits to fortify yourself from the dangers in the macro.

Onward . . .

Brief Profile

Beacon of hope. Purveyor of discipline.
Global Citizen. Transleader.
Coach. Facilitator.
Co-Author- Strategy, Leadership & the Soul and Founder of Agility3R.

Watch on Youtube


Dr Amit Nagpal's Answer 

My Story and My Lessons (in Resilience)

Very often people ask me, “Why did you decide to be a pioneer of personal branding? What is the source of your courage and resilience?” I tend to highlight the fact that seeing the mountain ahead scares you, but climbing one step at a time consistently, ultimately takes you to the top.

Resilience, (which means a combination of emotional and mental strength to me), has become my second nature now. It has been a long journey of life’s roller coaster ride, which has taught me to stand up, every time I fall.

I would like to divide my story in three phases, which represent the three belief systems I have held in my life:-

1) Life is suffering
2) Life is a set of challenges
3) Life is a drama

1) Life is suffering-and needs to be endured
I began wearing spectacles at the age of four or five. As a result, I was humiliated, kept out of outdoor sports teams and missed out on the childhood fun in many ways. I concluded life was a suffering. 

2) Life is a set of challenges-and needs to be overcome
Obstacles forced me to look for motivation to carry on. Helen Keller and Readers Digest articles were huge sources of inspiration. As I became used to obstacles at every step of life, they started to appear more as challenges to be won over and not suffering. And one day I came across a quote, “Obstacles are those fearful things you see, when you take your eyes off your goals.” This became my life philosophy later. 

3) Life is a drama-and needs to be enacted
On a lighter note, I share my birthday with India’s number one actor Amitabh Bachchan, so acting and storytelling was always right in my blood.  :) I remember reading somewhere, “Japanese always have a smile on their face. You never know whether they are happy or sad.” You don’t need to share your true state of mind with the whole world, in any case. I advocate authenticity, though within practical limits. (I wrote a blog also, “Why Leaders must be good actors?)”

Then I encountered an organisation and a life philosophy, which took me to the next level of evolution. I was getting tired of life's challenges by then and I found a new hope (in seeing life as a drama). If life is a drama, then there is nothing to worry. At the most, I must play the role to the best of my ability as I had not been given even a script. (Then I began to realize that we only write our script, with our thoughts, words and deeds).

My group leaders asked me to focus on three things viz. faith, study and practice*. I believe these three tools are very powerful for developing resilience.

a) Faith in inner divine or a higher power gives us peace of mind and thus improves resilience. Faith in self, conviction in what one is doing and working in the area of deep passion motivates us to face obstacles cheerfully.

b) Study of inspirational material keeps us on the track and provides us with the principles and guidance to live by. Though rituals have been criticised, yet a few rituals are good in my view, as they provide emotional security and stability in an ever changing world.

c) Practicing being a good human being and bringing out the inner goodness in self and others also builds a network of people of mutual support. Company of positive people helps in encouraging positive thinking and mastering of thoughts. The attitudinal shift from blame game to taking responsibility for one’s life also empowers the person and increases resilience.

I wrote a short poem, which represents the essence of my current beliefs:-

“Inspiring others, inspires me.
Strengthening others strengthens me.
I remain a leaf in the tree,
Longing to have a brush with another leaf.
I long to dance in the wind,
I know that we do magic to each other.

And let me share an open secret my dear ‘Life’.
I remain spellbound by your beauty and your charm.
The contradiction is though I am the Director of my story,
You still remain the Producer dear ‘Life’
who finances, and at times, pulls the strings from the backstage.”

Best things in the world including the best learning and lessons come at a high cost. At times, when I forget that life is a drama and get overwhelmed by emotions, I remind myself to continue,  as 'The Show" must go on!!!

* Faith, Study and Practice are tenets of Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism, a life philosophy


Brief Profile

Dr Amit Nagpal is a Personal Branding Consultant and Mega Success Coach. He is based in New Delhi, India and specializes in personal branding with a holistic touch. His philosophy is, "Enlarge as a Human Being, Excel as a Social Media Being and Evolve as a Personal Brand"

To know more about Dr Nagpal, visit

Related Posts


Popular posts from this blog

Mind Lost, Heart Won

Everything Connects, A Book by Faisal Hoque & Drake Baer

One Plus One Equals Eleven