Building Unshakeable Resilience (Be Like A Daruma Doll)

July 13, 2020   |    minute read

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If there is one thing events of this year have taught us, it is the importance of resilience.

Whether in our personal lives or business lives, the ability to recover from adversity and adverse situations has always been an asset. However, let’s face it, it has been key in dealing with this years events.


Resilience rɪˈzɪl.jəns: the ability of a substance to return to its usual shape after being bent, stretched or pressed; the ability to be happy, successful, etc. again after something difficult or bad has happened.


We all experience setbacks in business and life. Many people allow these setbacks to affect them emotionally, and in the worst cases to start a downward spiral.

When this happens it can have a negative effect on our business and our lives.

The opposite is to cultivate resilience. The ability to take whatever life throws at you and bounce back smiling can have a profound impact on your life. It enables you to deal with and recover from setbacks so much more effectively.


Be Like A Daruma Doll

To develop resilience, practice being like a Daruma Doll.

Daruma Dolls are said to be like Bodhidharma, the famous teacher credited with spreading Buddhism through China and Japan, where it eventually became Zen.

Legend has it that he meditated so intensely in a cave that his arms and legs atrophied and eventually fell off.

A Daruma Doll has no arms and legs, and is heavily bottom weighted, so that you can knock it down and it just bounces back up. It doesn’t matter how many times you knock it over, it just bounces straight back up again.

When we are like a Daruma Doll we can bounce back from setbacks.


Develop An Attitude of Resilience

Another way to build resilience is to develop the attitude of a civil engineer.

Dr. Srikumar Rao (Author, TED Speaker and Professor who has taught at and spoken at many business schools including London Business School, Harvard, Stanford and MIT to name just a few) teaches the metaphor of being a civil engineer whose job it is to build a road whatever the obstacles.

“Imagine that you are a civil engineer. You are asked to build a road between A and B. Between A and B there is a forest, a swamp and a mountain. Your ability as a civil engineer is going to be measured by how you overcome the obstacles – do you go around them, over them, under them or through them?

If the mountain is made of granite and the forest is very dense and very difficult to go through you might consider doubling your feel, but apart from that it has no impact upon your emotions.

Your life is like that, you are the civil engineer. Your  job is to get the road built, the road to a successful, purposeful, joyful life.

The toxic people in your life, the adverse situations that you are subject to, these are the forest, the swamp, and the mountains.

You don’t get angry at them, you just figure out how to get the road built in spite of the obstacles

You are the civil engineer and you alone are responsible for building your fulfilled, joyful, purposeful existence.”


It might not always feel easy, but the more that you can develop resilience, both in life and business, the better that they will both be.

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