The Importance of Resilience in the Pursuit of Purpose

Overcoming Purpose Intimidation
February 14, 2018
The Importance of Patience in the Pursuit of Purpose
February 16, 2018

The Importance of Resilience in the Pursuit of Purpose


n an earlier post, we narrated the story of Honda to highlight the importance of always being in motion as you gravitate towards your destiny and purpose. I will not hesitate to restate the facts surrounding this incredible visionary even with the risk of repeating myself. In that post, the message I was driving home is that at times, a setback gives you a hint of where your purpose could or could not be. It is important to discern.

noun: resilience; noun: resiliency; plural noun: resiliencies
  1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
    “the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions”
  2. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
    “nylon is excellent in wearability, abrasion resistance and resilience”
    synonyms: flexibilitypliability, suppleness, plasticityelasticity, springiness, springgive;

    durability, ability to last, strength, sturdiness, toughness
    “he uses different types of vertical and cross strings in his rackets for added resilience”
    strength of character, strengthtoughnesshardiness;
    adaptabilitybuoyancyflexibility, ability to bounce back;
    informal: bouncebackability
    “she displayed an indomitable resilience in the face of misfortune”
    antonyms: rigidityfragilityvulnerabilityweakness

Surprises of Resilience

He invented the motorbike not because he set out to, but because he chose to be resilient. The motorbike is the perfect example of an invention that was stumbled on as man exercised his resilience. It is incredible. It is not like the rocket that was invented to go to the moon. It was rather intentional. Rockets are not used daily, but motorbikes are. Indeed, when we choose resilience over giving in to setbacks, we become innovative. They said that:

Necessity is the mother of invention

I couldn’t agree more.

Honda’s Story in Brief

  • Mr. Honda’s dream was to produce and sell piston rings to Toyota Corp in 1938 while still in school
  • He invested all he had including his wife’s jewelry into his workshop only to be told that his piston rings were not what Toyota wanted
  • He was forced into two years in school to design what was needed and endured being scolded by lecturers and fellow students of how weird and uncanny his “stuff” was.

Victory At Last?

  • He got the contract from Toyota after the two years, but that’s when Japan went to war and he could not get the concrete he needed from the government to set up a factory.
  • He invented a process for creating is own concrete and built the factory
  • The factory was bombed twice during the war destroying major portions of his manufacturing facility
  • Picked up gasoline cans that US fighters had discarded calling them “Gifts from President Truman” and used them to keep manufacturing. These raw materials were unavailable in Japan at that time
  • An earthquake then leveled his factory and Honda had to sell his piston operation to Toyota.

Massive Payoff Finally

  • After the war, there was a great gas shortage. Honda could not drive his car to get food for the family
  • He created a little motor and fixed it on his bicycle, making mobility easier for him
  • Neighbors asked for the same and before long, he had ran out of motors
  • He built a factory for motors. Not having capital, he appealed to 18,000 bicycle shop owners in Japan to help him for they had a ready market. 5,000 came on board.
  • Few bikes were sold because they were bulky.
  • He made few adjustments to the design and build a lighter, powerful and versatile motorbike.
  • He became an instant success “overnight” world-wide.

The Importance of Resilience

Interesting antonyms for the word “resilience” include: rigidity, weakness, fragility and vulnerability.

  • Rigidity forces you to stay stuck in the current level. If you will not be resilient enough to embrace the change and move on at the earliest opportunity, you would lose lots of time, resources and emotions because of rigidity. Resilience therefore helps you to chart a new cause, grow and develop. It therefore gives you the impetus to endure the change that you are facing because you know what will come out of it.
  • Weakness can make you lose strength mentally. In his book, The Inner Game of Tennis, Tim Gallwey says the following:

“Every game is composed of two parts, an outer game and an inner game”

Resilience gives you a strong inner game. That strong inner game comes with you exercising your resilience at every turn of a setback. This strength is normally an internal strength. It does not talk about your physical muscles and all of that. The greatest strength is internal. That’s why they normally say,

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog that counts”

  • Fragility causes you to break easily. The importance of resilience here is to strengthen your inner man that after being broken,  you are strong enough not only to proceed to your destiny, but also to hold the hands of others who will be on that path.


In your pursuit of purpose, you will inevitably face tremedous opposition, heartaches, sorrows and setbacks. Winston Churchill famously called it “Sweat, blood and tears”. Resilience is what connects you from your vision to your purpose. Without it, Myles Munroe’s saying that the riches place on earth is the graveyard always comes true. Many people tried but never finished because they lacked resilience.