Understanding Resilience: The Rubber Band Analogy

by | Jun 30, 2021 | Video

This video is an excerpt from a live training session with Chrissy Scivicque, Career Coach & Corporate Trainer. The full video (“Building Career Resilience”) is available in the Career Success Library.

The article below summarizes the video content.

I like the rubber band analogy, because it really makes a lot of sense, and it’s a great visual when we’re talking about something like resilience, which is actually a pretty abstract topic on the surface.

So I have my nice little visual aid here…

A rubber band stretches, right? That’s what they’re good for! They stretch. And when it stretches, it creates tension in that rubber band, and it puts pressure on that rubber.

As human beings, we stretch as well. And when we stretch, it creates tension and pressure. When we are just comfortable, and we have no pressure and no tension on us, that’s fine. But that’s not where great things happen. It’s not where you actually have a meaningful experience in life. When we stretch, and we have that tension, and we have that pressure placed upon us, that’s when we’re actually growing as humans.

Now a rubber band stretches, and that comes right back. It bounces back to its original shape. As human beings, we do this too, we are constantly stretching and bouncing back, stretching and bouncing back. This is part of the normal natural human experience.

This is the essence of resilience. And…

At times, you stretch your rubber band and you stretch a really hard and really tight to get around something that’s a little bit too big for it, but it makes it! And you stretch it so far, and perhaps for so long, that when you finally take the rubber band off, it actually has changed shape. Have you experienced this? It’s changed shape. It’s kind of loosened up a little bit.

That same thing happens with us as human beings. We can stretch so far and so hard that it actually changes our form, so that we actually become a different person on the other side of that stretch. So much tension and so much pressure has been placed upon us that when it finally releases, we realize, “Wow, I’ve changed.”

And then of course, we’ve probably all also experienced a time when we have pulled and stretched that rubber band so hard that it’s actually snapped on us. (I’m not going to do it to save my delicate fingers!) But you’ve all experienced the snapped rubber band, because there’s so much tension and so much pressure.

As human beings, that can happen to us. We have so much challenge placed upon us that we actually snap. And what I mean by that is that we have a breakdown of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion.

When we are talking about this concept of resilience, we really need to stay conscious of the fact that there are limitations to how far we can stretch without snapping. What we ultimately want to be able to do is to stretch and bounce back to our original form or stretch and (what I call) bounce forward into that changed form.

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About the Author

Chrissy Scivicque is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and certified Professional Career Manager (PCM). She is an author, in-demand presenter and international speaker known for engaging, entertaining, educating and empowering audiences of all sizes and backgrounds. Learn more here.

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