One summer evening in a nearby park, I was noticing a toddler playing with football. The football looked too big for his age. As he struggled to kick it through the overgrown grass, he stumbled, fell down and was hurt. Before anyone could move to help him out, the boy got up himself with surprising swiftness.

The incident provided me with food for thought. I wonder why some of us (including me) forget to practise the default resilience of a toddler when we face a catastrophe in life.

Yes, life is not a bed of roses. And we have every chance to act smartly and use the capability to deal with a seemingly invincible debacle and come back as fast and stronger as ever.   

In everyday life, a bully may try to let you down, a strict teacher may feel inclined to fix you, a nagging sibling may be too difficult to negotiate with, your goals and aspirations may test your determination  or you may find it tough to fit in with your peers.  

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. — Confucius

All the same, remember that acting resiliently in the face of a difficulty is something everybody can accomplish, provided you treat that ‘disaster’ as a stepping stone, a learning experience and a ladder to rise. 

History tells us that resilient nations are invincible. Nuclear attacks on its soil in Second World War could have been the end of the world for Japan. The resilience Japan exhibited after the catastrophe proves that such nations can be destroyed, but can never be defeated.

The Japanese bounced back by equipping themselves with the arms of educa­tion. The ratio of junior high school graduates who went to high school rose from 42.5 percent in year 1950 to 91.9 percent in year 1975. The nation did not give up and chose to become a pioneer of the digital world we live in today.  

Resilience is not a miracle but its effects are magical. When you see an opportunity in a problem, the problem actually turns into an opportunity. It is the art of befriending hardships and recovering smartly after an obvious defeat. Too many small victories lead to long-lasting achievements.

Late Nelson Mandela is an emblem of resilience. He lost his father at the tender age of 12. He was banned in 1952 for first time, was arrested and charged with high treason in 1956, sentenced to a five-year jail term for leaving the country without a passport, and to life imprisonment in 1964. Too many failures to overcome in one life, aren’t they?

His perseverance shone through every failure he faced. After 27 dark years, he was released in 1990, and assumed his office in 1994 as the first coloured president of South Africa.

Teamwork that celebrates resilience can accomplish the most impossible of campaigns. Nobody could predict Pakistan would lift the World Cup 1992. It was an uphill task for a side eclipsed by the injury of bowling genius Waqar Younis. The team’s journey kicked off with a defeat against West Indies. Though Pakistan overwhelmed the weaker sides, it lost against India and South Africa. The cricket pun­dits were frowning upon the Pakistan XI. Despite being a fragile team, Pakistan managed a win against Australia to show they were really serious about clinching the cup.   

Luck favours the resilient. Australia’s win against West Indians dramatically turned the points table in Pakistan’s favour. Pakistan were through to the semi-final. Pakistan outclassed the unbeaten New Zealand in the semi-final, England in the final, concluded the tournament on the winning note and showed its exemplary resolve.

The bottom line is that resilience brings about ease with every hardship. When a difficulty comes your way, do not cry, “Why me?” Instead, say yes to the call of the situation and do it. In retrospect, the same challenge will appear as it were a piece of cake.

Take on difficulties with a lion’s heart and make your life’s story stand out!

Published in Dawn, Young World, July 28th, 2018