Jackie Gingrich Cushman

One of my mother's favorite sayings is: "If you lay down too long, they will cover you up." This has led her through a life of activity and has bred a constant desire to get back up.

The good news is that, according to Southwick and Charney, resilience is something that we can learn and practice throughout our lives. Part of resilience is accepting what cannot be changed, while simultaneously looking for role models from whom to learn and changing the parts of our lives over which we have control.

Very often, moving the focus from ourselves and our plight to others can change our perspective and lead to greater resilience. Think about a time in your life when you were most concerned about other people -- did your own situation matter, or were you more than willing to work harder, give up sleep and drive for miles to help them out?

New parents often go through weeks, if not months, of sleep deprivation while taking care of their children. They do so willingly and without focusing on themselves. In a society when celebrities, successful business people or athletes are often feted and adored, it might seem that those of us who are mere mortals are less important. After all, how exciting is it to drop the children off at school, pay the bills and walk the dogs? But, in viewing the larger purpose of life, it might be helpful to reflect upon Southwick and Charney's conclusion: "We need not be the swiftest or the strongest. What counts instead is that we 'come in' -- that we develop our talents, put forth our best effort and commit ourselves to a life of purpose, growth and resilience."

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.