resilience and confidence

Is confidence different to resilience?

The complexities of defining what appears to be the relatively simple concept of resilience are widely recognized in the academic and psychological world.

We know that resilience is a dynamic process involving a lot of different skills and concepts including competence, confidence, adaptability, tenacity, persistence, self-concept, self-regulation, transformability, and so on. It’s about adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress.

Confidence is about the trust or belief a person has about something or someone. So whilst confidence may well be an important contributor to how well we go about managing challenges, i.e., how resilient we are, resilience is not limited to being confident; it’s much more than that.

Our resilience was certainly taken to its limits when we took off from the UK in 2012 to travel for travel the world for 9 months on our way to starting a new life in Australia. The trip took many months of preparation whilst continuing to run several training companies and renovating and selling 2 properties. We were taking nothing with us except what we could fit into 2 backpacks and yet had decades of material and valuable possessions to sell and give away.

We set off on our first plane journey and landed in India with no accommodation as we had no time to book anything and we figured we had travelled and worked abroad before, caught all manner of transportation, and had been places where we didn’t know exactly where we would sleep that night. However, nothing prepares one for a first-time visit to New Delhi!

One can have all the confidence in the world but the culture shock we experienced was like nothing we had experienced before. Every single sensory apparatus we had was overloaded and being pushed to its limits. The noise of the traffic and smells and sights of pollution were overwhelming. We were fought over at the taxi rank and the driver took us to some unknown hotel scraping another car on route and without flinching just continued onwards. 

We had nothing that resembled our usual diet in the hotel, everything, even breakfast was spicy. We soon got very ill with Delhi belly as our immune systems were pushed to their limits. It was like being in another world. For 4 days we ate nothing, slept profusely, drank only bottled water, and were dehydrating through fluid loss at both ends.

We spoke no local language and had no support and had to ask the hotel to arrange a medical doctor to visit with some unknown medications. Our lives were in the hands of complete strangers. 

We were generally very confident that we would survive and continue the experience, and we did for another 9 months! However, our resilience i.e., ability to cope with such adverse and stressful events, and continue onwards, was certainly tested to its limits.

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