Reslience is the Key to Outstanding Performance

Today is Wednesday, so this post is on outstanding performance.

Have you subscribed to the newly relaunched SUCCESS Magazine yet?  If not, do yourself a favor and get a subscription.  Yesterday, there was a great story by Lance Armstrong in their ezine.  Here is one of the pieces of advice that Lance shared:

“Come back from your low point. After cancer surgery, I was at the lowest point of my life, physically and emotionally. But to me, it was all upside from there. That’s where the comeback began. When you’re at that low point, stop and cherish it because it feels so good to come back.
Character is built by picking yourself up after a setback. Don’t limit yourself by focusing on prior obstacles. Turn your struggles into fuel for your successes.”

Lance certainly had a low point – he almost died, and then he won seven Tour de France’s in a row.  I’m a bicyclist.  I always joke that I’m not a fast rider, nor am I slow rider.  I’m a half fast rider (if you don’t get the joke, say that last sentence out loud).  I can’t imagine what it takes to even complete a stage in the Tour, let alone win it seven times in a row.

I do know firsthand, however, the despair I felt when I got the call confirming that I had cancer.  Even though I was expecting that diagnosis after undergoing a series of tests, I was quite shaken to have my worst fears confirmed.  I was lucky, after some surgery and radiation, I am as good as new — although I don’t play rugby anymore.  I bounced back from my cancer experience with a burning desire to share what I know about business and life.  That’s one of the reasons I write this blog and have written “Straight Talk for Success.”

And that’s the point for today.  Outstanding performers are resilient.  Not only do they take setbacks in stride, they use setbacks to create a better future – for themselves and for others.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Teddy Roosevelt.  It is widely known as “The Man in the Arena.”

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly…who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeat.”

This is what Lance Armstrong means when he says to cherish your low points, because they make your comeback so much sweeter.

Stephen Covey is well known for his brilliant book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”  That book has made him a multimillionaire.  However, as the story goes, he had to mortgage his house when he was writing it.  That was a low point; no money coming in, and a struggle to get a book written and published.  Yet he hung in there, finished the book, got it published and was able to taste the sweetness of his comeback. defines resilience as “the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity. The ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity or the like; buoyancy.”

I like the first part of the definition, even though in the literal sense, it refers to inanimate objects.  However, if you’re at all like me, I’m sure that if you’ve ever tried and failed, you’ve probably felt that you had been “bent, compressed or stretched.”  I once had a boss who was very tough.  My co-workers and I used to joke that if we screwed up, he would put us on the rack and stretch us to death.

Mike Jay has a new book out called “Upping the Downside.”  The subtitle is “64 Strategies for Creating Professional Resilience by Design.” Mike and his co-authors have some very interesting things to say about how to become more resilient.  If you have difficulty bouncing back from setbacks, you should consider picking up a copy on

One last quote is appropriate here.  It comes from Thomas Watson, former CEO of IBM.  “The way to have lots of success, is to have lots of failures.”  In other words, learn from your failures, use these lessons to build your success.

The common sense point to all this is simple.  Outstanding performers are resilient.  They bounce back from adversity and achieve the goals they have set for themselves.  They actually cherish low points, because low points make the high points all the better.  As Teddy Roosevelt says… if you fail, do so while “daring greatly,” so that you won’t be one of “those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeat.”

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website for more common sense and to subscribe to my weekly newsletter “Common Sense.” 

I’ll see you around the web and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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  1. Ina Matijevic says:

    This are great words Bud!
    Happy to have You here.
    My moto: ”Universe is perfect.”
    Every second is nothing but pure perfection. That brings me back everytime I fall.
    When they operate my head in vivo, it was so painful that I felt dizziness. In that moment doctor told me some jokes and I started to laugh. They couldn’t operate me few minutes cause I was laughing. That was good.

  2. Ina:
    Thank you so much for your kind words. Readers and commentors like you make writing this blog one of the best parts of my day.
    All the best,

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