Stronger — Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed

Stronger — Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed book cover

Stronger — Book Review

Resilience: The examples given in the book are mostly Navy SEAL based. Almost similar to that of Simon Sinek in some cases. But those given examples are thought-provoking. And the steps given are simple enough to be practical.

Simply put, in order to build resilience we need these 5 important elements:

  1. Active optimism
  2. Decisive action and personal responsibility
  3. Good moral compass
  4. Tenacity
  5. Interpersonal support.

Active optimism reminds me of Learned Optimism, and the other 4 factors seem to be a replicate of Think and Grow Rich in a more modern and palatable approach.

I would rate the book better than Think and Grow Rich, what do you think? Do you agree? If not, why?

You can learn more on learned optimism and think and grow rich by clicking the link below:

Stronger: Develop the Resilience You Need to SucceedStronger: Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed by George S. Everly Jr.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The examples given in the book are mostly Navy SEAL based. Almost similar to that of Simon Sinek in some cases. But those given examples are thought-provoking. And the steps given are simple enough to be practical.
Simply put, in order to build resilience we need these 5 important elements:
1.Active optimism
2.Decisive action and personal responsibility
3.Good moral compass
5.Interpersonal support.


View all my reviews

Click Here to Read The Book: Stronger


Stronger — Book Summary and Reading Notes on resilience

Everyone, including myself, have a strong desire for what we consider as success, satisfaction and happiness. Hence, here is where resilience matter most, and we need to develop our resilience in the pursuit of our goals and ambitions.

Resilience refers to a state of mind which can provide us with self-protective immunity and impunity in a life crisis. Everyone can lead when the business is doing well, but when shit hit the fan, then only those with strong resilience can even bother to stand up and continue to fight.

Personal resilience

Personal resilience means getting up one more time after being knocked down, getting back in the fight and keep on throwing those punches even when you felt that you can no longer keep your arms up.

my favourite motivational quote

“It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

Resilience means turning adversity into triumph, unwavering optimism, positive attitude and belief and confidence in our own ability to keep moving forward.

“Opportunities in life seem to benefit those who act upon them more than those who merely recognize them.”


Develop the Resilience with Resiliency mindset

The resiliency mindset distinguishes US Navy SEAL, as an exclusive, hardy military force. The Seal creed states, “In times of conflict or uncertainty, there is a special person ready to answer the call; a common person, with an uncommon desire to succeed. I am that person. I stand ready to bring the full spectrum of resources to bear in order to achieve my goals…in the worst of conditions…I will not fail.”

“In times of conflict or uncertainty, there is a special person ready to answer the call; a common person, with an uncommon desire to succeed. I am that person. I stand ready to bring the full spectrum of resources to bear in order to achieve my goals…in the worst of conditions…I will not fail.”

Navy SEAL creed

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

With a powerful resiliency mindset, we can continue to operate rationally even under high pressure, able to maximize our performance, bounce back from setbacks and achieve overall happiness and fulfilment. Knowing that we did our best.


5 Components to build resilience

1. Active Optimism

With active optimism and learned optimism might become an agent who forces change. Remember, optimism is a powerful weapon, a double-edged weapon, without it we might be depressed or violent, but with it, we just might become our own self-fulfiling prophecy.

As Think and Grow Rich suggests, our mind is a very powerful tool. The same applies to an optimistic attitude. An optimistic attitude is a psychological assertion that results in beneficial physiological change.

Supercharges our body

With resilience, our body becomes “supercharged with moderate increases in hormones, such as adrenalin, noradrenaline, gamma-Aminobutyric acid, neuropeptide Y and cortisol.”

These hormones give us better recollection, higher pain tolerance, quicker reactions, and greater awareness and strength. I wonder this is the secret ingredient which makes Captain America a supersoldier.

“Interpersonal connectedness protects against overall mortality, coronary heart disease, immune suppression and increased stress.”


Resilience makes us happier

Another benefit of optimism is that optimistic thinking makes us happier which in turn makes us more successful. But be wary of passive optimism, the optimist who just hopes for the best without doing anything to pursuit the best. Instead, be an active optimist, the one who actually put in their hopes, sweat, blood and effort in making their dreams a reality.

Navy SEAL Success Philosophy

Navy SEAL philosophy for success is that success “happens because you make it happen.

Work to interpret the events in your life in a way that fosters effective results and good performance. You can learn more on how to make the best out of life’s adversity through Learned Optimism.

“Being decisive is hard. That’s why it’s rare. But by being decisive you distinguish yourself from others, usually in a positive way.”

How to develop self-efficacy (which refers to a manifestation of active optimism)?

  1. Personal attainment
    Start with small success. Like making your beds in the morning.
  2. Observation
    Watch how others attain their goals. If they can do it, you should be able to do it too.
  3. Encouragement and support
    The more support we have, the easier it is to develop self-confidence and optimism. People will support you if only you too support them.

2. Decisive action

Be prepared to act with courage, especially when faced with adversity and setbacks. Feeling strong and brave will enable us to make tough decisions under pressure and gives us the strength to act upon them. This requires making a choice from various options and keeping moving ahead decisively.

This decisiveness meets problems heads-on and teaches us how to leverage adversity to grow as a person and improve our resilient. For more information, read Learned Optimism.

Halo Effect

People respect decisive action takers. And such respect builds a halo effect: where people are positively biased to those who act decisively. People admire such people and see their actions as praiseworthy.

But there are some errors in thinking which we might need to address first.

1. Fear of Failure

Failure can be a gift, a boost in the right direction. And the fear of failure would never get us anywhere. As Sir Ken Robinson suggests, if we were afraid to try something new, we never come up with anything new.

# Read Sir Ken Robinson’s “Out of our mind: The power of being creative“.


2. Fear of ridicule

On the fear of ridicule, I remember an awesome quote from Gary Vee, advising everyone not to pay any attention to what other people think.

You can’t live your life based on other people’s point of view. I am tired of people not starting and living their life on one very simple thing which is they’re worried about what other people think“.

Some make fun of those they consider different, but more often than not, only those who are different achieve the most significant success. Therefore, don’t worry too much on other people point of view, you need to be you in order for you to be happy.

Regrets my friend, is a terrible thing. Better try and failed rather than never tried at all.

Plus, you may yet have the last laugh. Or in the very least, you will learn something new.


3. Procrastination

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone” 

Time is the real killer. Nobody survives time. Time is all we got. Thus practically every action comes with a time limit. As Mark Twain says “I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.

When a task seems too big you could use the “Swiss cheese’ technique” advocated by time-management expert Alan Lakein: Break it down into component parts. Work sequentially, completing one component after another. Apply this approach to unravel the most complicated tasks.

4. Failure to communicate relevant details

Discuss why it’s important to act, be clear and comprehensive. Describe how the problem started, explain its negative consequences, specify the actions needed to fix things and list what actions are necessary to prevent similar problems.


5. Trying to please everyone

Never tries to make everyone happy. That’s virtually impossible. Do what’s best for you.

6. Getting overwhelmed

Pareto rules. Often, the 80/20 rule will point to the solution for a problem. Since “80% of your problem comes from 20% of the potential sources” of trouble, focus your efforts accordingly.

7. Losing sight of the long-term goal

A best-case versus worst-case analysis can help you focus.

When you’re considering a decision, ask,

  • “What’s the best thing that’s likely to happen if I act?”
  • “What’s the worst thing that’s likely to happen if I act?”
  • “What’s the best thing that’s likely to happen if I do not act?”
  • “What’s the worst thing likely to happen if I do not act?”

3. Moral Compass

Our moral compass usually includes our sense of honour, integrity, fidelity and our own sets ethical behaviour.

Our moral compasses should be our lighthouse guiding all our decisions making processes. Especially when things aren’t going well.

“The more successes you have, the better you’ll understand what it takes to be successful – which will generate more successes – and the more you will tend to expect success.”

4. Relentless Tenacity

A quick look into WWII history. September 1, 1939, German Nazis attacked Poland, hence starting WWII. By October 29, 1941, Nazis occupied continental Europe. Only Great Britain maintained its liberty, and its Prime Minister, Winston Churchill had dedicated himself to the defiance of Hitler’s forces.

“Members of successful groups at any level in any endeavor tend to be successful, in part, because of the expectation of success that group membership bestows and reinforces.”

Churchill said,

“We shall fight in France;
we shall fight on the seas and oceans;
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air;
we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be;
we shall fight on the beaches;
we shall fight on the landing grounds;
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets;
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender.”

President John F. Kennedy said that Churchill “mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.”


“The adage ‘A rising tide lifts all boats’ suggests that there may be factors that foster the resilience not only of individuals but individuals in the aggregate.”

Drawing inspiration from Churchill, we learned that regardless of the obstacles we must overcome, we should trust our self-sustaining tenacity by putting in our wholehearted best effort and nothing less.

Follow the model set by courageous people who demonstrated persistence in the face of great challenges. Let them motivate us to stay on course. We should call on others to support us when we have to demonstrate our reliance and perseverance.

5. Interpersonal Support

“If all you do is sit on the right track and wait for something to happen, it will. You will get run over.”

Aristotle said that the group always outperform its individual members. This stem from the readiness of each of the group members to assist one another and to come together to support their collective well-being.

Otherwise known as “interpersonal cohesion” — meaning sharing and support. The logic is that we’ll get further when other people have our back. Hence, the more supporting and sustaining relationship we have, the easier things will go.

I usually term it as “cablelity — cable’s ability”. Might not be the right term though.


The formula to build such a relationship would be “homophily x proximity.” Start by finding people who share your values and attitudes (homophily) and spend extended time in places where they congregate (proximity).

It would be wise to find yourself some mentors and look for a cocktail of role models. A cocktail of role model refers to a combination of traits you want to have from different leaders in your industry, for you to learn and put your own branding in the mix. Combining the best traits your role model has to offer with a bit of authenticity.

“Active optimism is more than a hope or a belief. It’s a mandate to bounce back, to be successful, to avoid being a victim.”

Respect others

Respect is reciprocal. The same goes to support. Hence, demonstrate your respect and support for others. Listen attentively to what people say, don’t assume the worse from others even if they seem to oppose you.

Try not to take their action personally. Yes, it’s simple advice but would take years of practices to embodied.

“Shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” (Steve Jobs)

The five factors unfold one after the other.

It goes like this: Active optimism leads to decisive action, that depends on our moral compass. These three steps require relentless tenacity which becomes easier when you have interpersonal support.


Applying these lessons on resilience

Simplified. In order to develop resiliency, remember this few points.

Simplicity matters

Concentrate on improving the five factors of resilience. Other behaviours which could also be attributed to building resilience, including self-control and calm, innovative, nondogmatic thinking.


Resilience can be learned at any age

Hardship, anxiety and painful events can result in “neurological and neuroendocrine events” similar to the neural plasticity of youth, which enhances learning.

Self-efficacy is a useful framework

Remember that the “first success is the hardest.”

It’s important to Monitor your resilience

Self-knowledge and self-awareness is a pivotal requirement for success.

Study the past

Find your personal heroes of resilience. Study them and duplicate their success with your own personal brand.

Don’t forget to hit the like button and share it with your friends.

Read the book: Stronger



Author: Muhamad Aarif

A notorious book addict by night and an oil and gas executive by day. As Mark Twain said, "The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." So, read, read, and read some more.

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