In the late 1800s, Orison Swett Marden, an American author, wrote a book in a livery stable for an entire year. Working diligently day and night, he titled the book Pushing to the Front. Late one evening, he finally finished the last page of his book and, being tired and hungry, he went down the street to a small café for dinner. While he was away for an hour, the livery stable caught on fire. By the time he got back, his entire manuscript had been destroyed in flames. Pushing to the Front went on to become the runaway bestseller in the nation.
Resilience: Adapting to stress and adversity
In the late 1800s, America was going through a terrible depression. Orison Swett Marden lost the hotel he owned in the midst of this depression. He then decided to write a book to motivate and inspire others to persist and carry on in spite of the difficulties facing the nation. That is when the unfortunate incident that destroyed his book in a fire happened.
Overwhelmed and heartbroken, Marden picked himself up and started all over again. With little money, but with lots of time on his hands, he decided to rewrite the manuscript. He sat down, threw himself into his work and spent another year writing the book over again. When he finished the book, he offered it to various publishers. None of them seemed interested in a motivational book with the country in such a depression and unemployment so high.
Struggling to find publishers for his book, Marden moved to Chicago and took another job. One day he mentioned his Pushing to the Front manuscript to a friend of his who happened to know a publisher. Houghton, Mifflin & Company published and presented the book to the public on December 1, 1894. Pushing to the Front went on to become the runaway bestseller in the nation. People like Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone and J. P. Morgan cited it as inspiration.
Face difficult experiences and rise above them
Stress and adversity can come in the shape of family or relationship problems, health problems, or workplace and financial stressors, among others. You show resilience when you can face difficult experiences and rise above them. Marden pushed on. Despite losing his hotel due to the depression, losing his first manuscript to a fire, and struggling to find publishers after re-writing the manuscript. Most people would have given up at just the loss of the hotel, a business he had built up over years. Orison Swett Marden once said:
There are two essential requirements for success. The first is ‘get-to-itiveness,’ and the second is ‘stick-to-it-iveness.’ No, there is no failure for the person who realises their power, who never knows when they are beaten; there is no failure for the determined endeavour; the unconquerable will. There is no failure for the person who gets up every time they fall, who rebounds like a rubber ball, who persists when everyone else gives up, who pushes on when everyone else turns back.
Marden went on to write fifty or more books and booklets during his career. Each of his books has produced dozens of famous quotes, and he is considered the base and inspiration of dozens of modern authors of self-help and motivation.
Resilience is not a rare ability; in reality it is found in the average individual and it can be learned and developed by anyone. You are going to face some difficult experiences in your life, everyone does. It is during these difficult times that you need to be resilient and push on. With resilience, you have the ability to adapt to stress and adversity.