The Answer - Part 1.

“A good half of the art of living is resilience.”

Alain de Botton


Ability = Resilience + Genetics


Last week we spoke about Goals; the importance of emphasising the implementation of strategies as opposed to focussing solely on goals. In fact I proposed a formula for reaching goals:

Goals = Strategies + Ability.


What is ability though? People talk about a footballer’s natural ability; A swimmer’s natural ability in the water. In essence they are only discussing one aspect, and that is a persons genetic ability. Each of us are born with genetically inherited physical attributes that make us fast, (or slow in my case), strong, musically aware etc. These attributes can be trained and improved in all persons, but in the end, I, for example, am not going beat Usain Bolt, even if he is in a wheel chair. I can get faster, better at music, it’s just that some people will have more affinity for some types of activities than other people, but in the end I will never be as fast as Bolt, as big as Arnie, great at music.

But genetics is only 1/3 of MY equation for ability. Because, just as someone can improve on their natural talents, so can they waste them, the other 2/3 of ability is Resilience.

Ability = Genetics + RESILIENCE

A quick search on Google for a definition of resilience results in:


1.     the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape;

2.     the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness


Genetics + strategies doesn’t often beget goals.  Often with strategies, there are failures. In fact, failures are inevitable, hard, vital. If we were to rely solely on genetics, then after multiple failures/challenges we would be hard pressed to continue to implement strategies. This is where the importance of resilience enters the equation.

Resilience, as defined above, is our ability to bounce back from difficulties and challenges. Resilience is almost infinite in its ability to grow, and, as it is required to overcome challenges, is necessary for all aspects of life – diet, work, relationships etc. There is no better way to build resilience than in the physical training arena. Getting up in the cold, cramming in a session at work or at night, running when cold, wet and tired, going to gym when stressed or sore – there ‘it’ begins. Running hard, pushing through a heavy lifting session, fighting the grind of a long set/session, working through the lactic, OR even more so, forcing yourself to go slow and train smart when you think you should always be going hard – your capacity grows.

Every time you train – you grow your personal resilience, your inner strength of character.

Combine resilience with some base genetics and you have ability.

Combine ability with strategies and have the formula to achieve your goals.

But in the beginning, as in the end, it is always about the RESILIENCE.


Build your resilience online with me at:


Ps following on from this article I have a special surprise contribution piece. Several months ago whilst living in Darwin I coached the USA Marine Corps through some of my PrimalThenics as part of their physical fitness instruction. I was very fortunate to become friends with one of the Marine Captains. After reading my first blog we caught up via some messages and he had, as usual, some sage advice. I asked him if he would be willing to write it down for me as I thought it would be valuable for everyone. He, generous as usual, did so. That will be in the next and final instalment in this little series. I hope you enjoy it.