Are resilience and perseverance the same?

Marianne Lalande

The concepts of resilience and perseverance come up over and over in the wellness and self-development fields. They feel pretty nebulous and mysterious when we try to pinpoint what they mean for the mind, but they're concepts we actually understand pretty well in the world of sports.

So let's take a look at how resilience and perseverance work, in practice.

What resilience and perseverance look like in practice

Perseverance in practice

One of the most important skills to build when we start an exercise routine is perseverance. The first few weeks are hardest: motivation alone isn't enough for a long term goal. We need to build discipline. Having a goal-oriented mindset is helpful and will help us keep putting in the effort.

That's perseverance. 💥

But just as we get used to our fitness routine, we hit a plateau. The physical benefits aren't as high, we feel like we aren't progressing any more, and we get frustrated. The same exercises might start to feel harder again, even though we keep training at the same rhythm.

We might tweak every parameter we can; our workout plan, food intake, sleep—to no avail. The stress of exercise is too much for our body to recover from as quickly as it did before. What we need is to take a so-called deload week.

Resilience in practice

A deload week aims to give the body time to rest and heal.

It can look like taking a week off from any exercise, switching up from strength building to light cardio, or using lighter weights and fewer reps. It's an important part of any healthy exercise routine. Taking a deload week is not cheating nor is it giving up; it's acknowledging and honouring the body's needs.

A deload week enables it to grow and perform again after getting the rest it needed.

That's resilience. 🌱

Is there such a thing as a deload week for the mind?

Far be it from me to suggest that taking a week off from work or a nice hot bath is all you need to go through the latest curveball that life has thrown you.

Rather, I am pointing to the fact that resilience is cultivated by letting oneself go through something—not trying to skip over it as if it never happened. When we hit a wall, whether we're overworking ourselves or our life circumstances change, it becomes unsustainable and unproductive to keep going at the same rate.

We need time to heal; perseverance for perseverance's sake serves no one. (Hello, burnout).

Are resilience and perseverance the same thing?

Let's review the definitions:

Perseverance is a continued effort, the determination to reach a goal and work at it until you do.

You might need to persevere while learning how to sew; other priorities come up, it takes time for you to figure out how to do it properly, and the effort required to get there is monumental compared to, say, turning on Netflix. Perseverance is the process of putting in the hard work even when it stops being fun or easy.

Resilience is the ability to be happy and successful after something difficult or traumatic has happened to you.

It is less goal-oriented than perseverance. Losing a job, going through a break-up or being stuck at home during a pandemic can all be versions of difficulty.

You get it: resilience and perseverance are not the same. They are sister ideas that are useful to get us through adversity. We might need some resilience today, and some perseverance tomorrow.

How can I cultivate resilience and perseverance?

You might read this and feel like you are neither resilient nor perseverant; that perhaps these are personality traits that skipped your generation and left you stuck with all sorts of problems and no coping mechanism whatsoever.

You'd be wrong.

Resilience and perseverance can be grown—in fact, they can be found.

Not in some magical forest at the end of a fantastical quest. Today, at home, on your couch.

How do I just become resilient and perseverant?

Good news! You already have everything you need.

It all starts with a thought. More specifically, a new thought. Something that will help you see things with a fresh outlook. Often, we are stuck because of stale thinking that doesn't allow us to take action. 🙅

Thoughts like I'm not a sporty person or I've always been sad anyway are stories we tell ourselves.

What if you were capable of change? What if your thoughts weren't true? What could happen then? What would you be capable of?

It's not always easy to change our outlook, especially because thoughts have a tendency to disguise themselves as facts. 👹

So if you are looking for guidance on how to become a more resilient person and regain (or create!) your optimism, you're in the right place.

We're giving out licences to the One Thought course, a series of videos that help you find ease in your day-to-day life. Get it for free only on our site; simply click the Get the course button below. 👇

Follow us on Instagram for more

This story was written by

Marianne Lalande
Marianne Lalande

Marianne is in charge of all things content at More Resilience. As a digital native, she loves bringing online culture into her work to show that technology and wellness really do go well together.

More from the blog