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Nothing is impossible if we put our heart to it - by A

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'N' level student-inmate from institution TM1

Consolation Prize


“Tough times don’t last but tough people do”, my mother’s famous quote.


The quote above does not refer to the physical strength but the strength of one’s mental and emotional being. To be able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult situations or in short, resilient. 


Resilience is a skill that can be learnt and in the process, we need to identify certain components; the high degree of resilience, less susceptible to burnout, emotional exhaustion and psychological distress. Some of us may not have the high degree of resilience and this might be a major setback for them. There are also a few which are less susceptible to burnout and they can withstand pressure. But there are those who face emotional exhaustion and psychological distress from family to colleagues and friends. If they are not strong enough, they are likely to have a breakdown.


There are five aspects of mental resilience; coping approaches, self-belief, putting in effort, internal/ external resources and spirituality. Coping approaches refer to actively seeking ways to solve problems and self-belief is having the confidence in one’s ability to make difficult decisions for instance. Putting in effort entails working hard to attain one’s goals and being motivated by a sense of purpose. There are internal resources such as being able to find humour in one’s situation along with external resources like having a secure relationship and knowing where to seek help during adversity. Spirituality refers to being better able to accept setbacks in the context of a higher purpose or faith. As the saying goes, “Not all is lost if we don’t have the personality that’s because resilience is trainable.”


Most parents are results-oriented and are not helpful in resilience training because it encourages young adults to be risk-averse. What happens if their results are beyond the parent's expectations. This could prove to be a disaster for the young adults as they are being programmed by their parents to attain good results and beyond that they are considered ‘failures’. This could lead to serious mental health decline.


Mental health is a great concern in Singapore and other parts of the world and especially among young adults. Suicide cases among teenagers has been on the rise in recent years. Absence of resilience is profoundly noticeable in this group of people.


Resilience is about having problem solving skills, building self-esteem, teaching or learning ways to harness external resources. Problem solving skills refers to one’s ability in solving certain problems, be it natural or complex. By doing so, it could improve one's self-esteem because problem-solving is not easy and one needs to have confidence in tackling it. Therefore, having such skill could enhance one’s self-esteem.


All in all, resilience is trainable and attainable, depending on how much effort an individual; put in to achieve it. As the saying says, “nothing is impossible if we put our heart to it.”

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