Resilience requires that we be able to ask and answer the question each morning, Why am I getting up? The answer is hopefully not because we have to or we should, but because we have some sense of purpose and direction for the day.
Being able to adapt well to adversity, to be able to bounce back from difficult times, requires us to have a sense of direction in our lives and a belief that we are acting in a way that is consistent with our values.
In the novel, Reaching Home, Muqtada is a terrorist who is planning a bio-terror attack on the city of Boston. A man in his mid-sixties with thinning hair and a light gray beard, Muqtada feels he has spent most of his life in motion. He is an average man in many ways, height and build, but his life has not been average. He fled Iran with his family in the early 1970s when the Shah's regime collapsed. Although his father reestablished the family in New England, Muqtada always dreamed of returning home. He dropped out of college and tried to create his own future in business, but failed. He lost his left hand and part of his arm in one of these failed efforts. In the story he now wears a glove prosthesis as a means of keeping from being easily recognized by the authorities.
After his father's death, he took his inheritance and traveled in the Arab world. It was there that he found a way back home. He would prove himself, not as a traitor to his country and his faith as his father had been seen, but as a true believer in the cause of his countrymen. When the nuclear accident occurs at Pine Grove Labs, he believes that the government of the United States will be preoccupied. They will not have the time to worry themselves with him. The time is now, he thinks. He and his allies have planned and waited. They are ready.
The values that Muqtada is acting on may be quite different from ours. But his belief in what he sees as right and just helps give him the resilience to continue on. To continue the plan and to act, as a human being, he is similar to us in that his sense of purpose and direction gives him the strength and the resilience to act on his plans, no matter how misguided and evil we may see believe them to be.
Dr. Ron Breazeale, Ph.D
Author of Duct Tape Isn't Enough
Original blog can be found at www.psychologytoday.com/blog/