John Gardner, HEW Secretary in LBJ’S cabinet and founder of COMMON CAUSE AND INDEPENDENT SECTOR, was fond of saying that a problem is “just a well-disguised opportunity.” Individuals and organizations with this attitude and spirit are steeped in resilience— an ability to look at a problem creatively and to see new possibilities in a thorny and challenging situation. Some teams are “wired for challenges,” They view them as presenting heretofore unseen and unimaginable paths to different and deeper thinking and to opportunities for improved results.
Courage goes hand in hand with resilience and to seeing problems as opportunities. Courage is what Ernest Hemingway describes as “grace under pressure”— those qualities of mind, heart, and spirit that allow and call us to be focused, disciplined, and calm in our anxious moments and to imagine possibilities for moving constructively through vexing situations.
In our increasingly complex world, resilience is an absolutely essential individual and organizational characteristic — resilience nourished by courage and calm— which will in turn permit us to be more responsible to our missions and to all who depend on our successfully realizing the overarching purposes of our communities.