Person climbing rock

‘Bouncebackability’ means pretty much what it states – the ability to bounce back! It is the capacity to recover quickly from a setback. A relatively new addition to our collective lexicon, it is a word many people associate with the football player Iain Dowie who used it frequently, ‘bouncebackability’ has become so popular that it now resides safely in the Oxford English Dictionary.


This ability to recover, dust oneself down and move on to the next step is driven by a fuel called ‘resilience’. Resilient people cope well with, and may actually benefit from, stressful challenges. However, those with low resilience become overwhelmed, dwell on problems and utilize unhealthy coping mechanisms. While some challenges are greater than others, we are all faced with stress, adversity, changes in circumstances, issues with family and loved ones, financial problems, workday worries, illness, etc., that we have to overcome. Resilience allows us to look at these external stressors as a challenge rather than an immobilizing threat.

Can individuals learn to be more resilient, or are some just born with the ability to bounce back from adversity? Both, according to researchers. Some people do seem to have a natural resilience but for those of us who are less fortunate, there are things that you can do to improve your resilience. There is a major shift happening towards “the power of the positive”– identifying and building individual and environmental strengths that help people overcome difficulties, achieve happiness, and attain life success.

What to do

You cannot force yourself to have a positive attitude 24/7 but it is possible to develop a mindset that gives positive emotions a chance to flow naturally.

  1. Fostering strong, close relationships with family and friends can help you weather emotional storms. Link in with community groups to build your network.
  2. Make moves towards your goals – every step counts on that journey.
  3. Believe in yourself – stop criticizing yourself relentlessly, trust in your ability to solve problems.
  4. Be always hopeful – visualize what you want, rather than worry about what you fear.
  5. Pamper your body and mind – taking part in enjoyable, relaxing activities and getting regular exercise will keep you fighting fit.

Finally, recognize that nobody can be resilient and have ‘bouncebackability’ all the time. It is normal to feel stressed and overwhelmed in the face of crisis or tragedy, so remember if you feel like it’s just too much to handle, seek professional help – even the most resilient people need a hand once in a while.

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved”  Helen Keller

Michelle Murphy

Director & Regional Manager

Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group