Resilience Is a Skill

Too often, we allow our young men to wander into life. We watch as they fight or flounder as they experience some of the darker chapters that we will all inevitably face.

Resilience is a skill we can practice to prepare ourselves for interactions with trauma. To properly consider how we might develop ourselves to be more resilient, it’s important to define what we mean by that. Typically, resiliency is seen as the ability to withstand trauma. I think that’s a great place to start, but there’s more to it. It’s the ability to stand against that which provokes us to harm and continue our work despite the threat.


The example I use most is about a castle and the barbarians that crest over the horizon. Imagine you’re a king of some far-off land. As you survey your territory, you come upon a clan of barbarians out along the ridges. They’re coming.

There’s nothing you can do to stop them from arriving. But, you have time. You can build and prepare.

The US Army has a system for that – it’s called ‘The Big 4 Tools of Mental Resilience’. These tools include goal setting, mental rehearsal, tactical breathing and positive self talk.

A great way to introduce those ideas – the ‘Big 4’ – is to participate in something difficult by choice. Martial arts, long distance endurance exercises like ruck marching and weightlifting encourage the type of mindset that men need to face and fight back against the waves of barbarians that will meet us at the gate.

3 Things Men Worry About

  • Am I strong enough?
    • Sometimes, we’re looked at for support. That might take shape as being the muscle behind moving a couch or having people look at us for stoicism in a moment of emotional duress. No matter how hard we train, we can’t be ready for everything at all times. It’s okay to recognize that we too need respite and rest.
  • Who can I tell?
    • An epidemic of loneliness has carved into our men and boys. This virus infects our belief systems, our trust and maybe worst of all, the faith we have in ourselves. This powerful tonic lies to us – it tells us that we’re alone in our struggle and that seeking support is weak. Learning how to ask for help is a life-saving skill.
  • Am I running out of time?
    • We are encouraged to be in ‘work mode’. That pressure assumes we will lose sleep, put off relationships and negate a healthy lifestyle in pursuit of a goal. Anything less tries to suggest we’re not maintaining the right mindset. Creating balance is something that has to be learned and refined – it’s not something we can always muster without a little instruction.
This information was provided by Social Service Worker, Bill Dungey. For more information about how Bill can support you, call us at 519.302.2300 or email and set up a free consultation.