Resilience and the Threat to Your Story

There is a dark side to resilience and storytelling. This video will tell you what it is and how to fight against it.

I remember walking through a shopping mall with my grandmother as a child.

I was holding a bubble gum flavored ice cream cone; the kind with real pieces of gum in it, and walking a few steps behind her as we made our way out to the car.

Suddenly, I struck gold! Well, copper at least. On the ground just a few strides ahead of me was a shiny new penny. I was as excited as any child who just found money while eating a bubble gum ice cream cone would be. But as I bent down to pick up the coin, my grandmother stopped me.

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“Leave that penny alone,” she said. “It’s not wise to spend your time looking down — you should always be looking up and ahead.”

Leaving the penny was hard, but I took her words to heart and have been obsessively looking forward ever since.

It’s been a good strategy. Looking ahead keeps the mind focused on what’s coming so you’re primed to seize opportunities as they come.

Unfortunately, there is a problem with always looking ahead. Researchers have explored the dark side of resilience and the dangers are significant. Especially when it comes to using your story.

(A version of these thoughts appeared on