We all have ideas about how we might handle an emergency. And we’re probably wrong. People who are leaders—or basket cases—in everyday life often won’t behave that same way in a crisis. But we do know there are ways to become more resilient, and they don’t all involve luck or prayer (although those are good too).
People who respond well to trauma tend to have three underlying advantages: a belief that they can influence events, an ability to find meaningful purpose in life’s turmoil and a conviction that they can learn from positive and negative experiences. This may be largely a matter of genetic makeup, but it is possible to teach yourself to be more proactive and avoid the victimization trap (“If it happens to me, there’s nothing I can do”).
Sometimes a small amount of information can help us tap into a vein of resilience we didn’t know we had.