Series on Resilience

Being resilient does not mean that a person doesn’t experience difficulty or distress. Emotional pain and sadness are common in people who have suffered major adversity or trauma in their lives. In fact, the road to resilience is likely to involve considerable emotional distress. Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves behaviors, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed.

These days, Henry Ford is a household name, but it hasn’t always been that way. At 23, Ford was just a machinist’s apprentice with big aspirations. There were a few early failures that taught him valuable lessons and sparked his future success. His first lesson came when he designed his first automobile, the Quadricycle, but it wasn’t fit for mass-production.

Ford’s Detroit Automotive Company had a similar, short-lived history. The board of directors dissolved and the company disbanded. It was a short-lived project and a failure in the eyes of the industry. With a tarnished reputation and no financial backers, Ford was in a bad spot. After months he found the right man – Alexander Malcomson.

He now had the backing he needed to begin creating the automobile he had always envisioned – the Model A. It took 5 more years and countless failures before the Ford Motor Company came out with the world’s best automobile – the Model T. What’s important to notice is Ford’s perseverance and ability to overcome setbacks. He used failure and the feedback gathered from those failures to fine tune his design ideas.