Resilience is Not Always a Virtue, If that is all it is for…

In reporting about the explosion in Beirut, the reporter on the 9-6-2020  New York Times Daily Podcast said, “Resilience is not always a virtue, something needs to change.” In this situation it referred to the inaction of the government to secure dangerous chemicals. That statement stuck me as important. It was important because if we are always coming back from difficulty, that should be telling us something needs to change. It seemed to relate to many quotes such as:

Are you too busy mopping up the floor to turn off the tap?

This quote comes from a story about a person busily mopping up the floor without realizing the tap is open and water is flowing on to the floor. If the person simply turned off the tap, they could do something other than just mop up the water.


Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me

This ancient proverb refers to our need to learn from our experiences. As I have noted in Best Practices are Contraindicated for Improvement and Making a Better (+3) New Normal, we can’t just keep fixing what we break. We need to build a better system.

Resilience is defined as 1) the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness: the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions. 2) the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shapeWe are incredibly adaptive creatures and we learn to adapt to anything. Being able to adapt is great, but is it the best? Deming explains improvement is not continuous, but continual and discontinuous. It happens in spurts.

This means Resilience and Thriving are different. Being resilient, does not mean Thriving. To thrive we need to do better and be better. To be better we need increased capacities to live a better life. To be able to do and accomplish more and have a better life. Those capacities can then also, SECONDARILY, or as a by-product help us bounce back during difficult times when needed. The capacities therefore are to improve life, not just in case something happens, though they are useful when they do.

Resilience is a secondary benefit of increased capacities. Once again, I am suggesting we change our priorities. In health I recommend we focus on enhancing physical, social and mental well-being so we can create the life we desire. Secondarily it also will protect us against difficult times as necessary. This Pandemic provides another example. It is difficult to be healthier when something happens, we needed to achieve that prior to the pandemic.

Please share how you are able to increase your capacities and abilities and how they make your life better today. Of course the main benefit is being able to do what you want and a by-product knowing you are more protected. Building more capacities and abilities will help you generate comprehensive improvements as you create pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic (#SelfishSelflessSynergistic = +3) interactions from which everyone and everything benefits. I look forward to hearing about your successes.

On August 19, 2021 Seth Godin offered these supporting thoughts on Seth’s Blog:


If your customer service strategy consists of mollifying angry customers, you’ll always be behind.

Life becomes a fire drill and work becomes an endless chore.

The alternative is to invest in cycles that lead to better systems.

Because better systems put out the fire when it’s really small.

And to invest in design, because better design leads to clearer promises, which are easier to keep.

And to invest in quality as the focus of production, because keeping your promises creates delight and lowers costs so much it pays for itself.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!


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