The Power of Bouncing Back

Original Spanish version published in El Comercio newspaper (Peru) on July 22, 2017

And when I say bouncing, I clearly remember the red rubber ball that I loved when I was little. The harder I threw it on the floor, the higher it bounced back up. It was magical, invincible: it seemed to defy gravity with pride and even fury. It always bounced back higher, stronger!

There is a concept called resilience, which is the ability to positively adapt to adverse situations. But bouncing back is different. It is much more than surviving or adapting to a situation. It is about coming back from harsh or difficult situations, and with more impetus. It is coming back stronger, more driven, with more energy, more dignity, and more success. It is coming back a winner; coming back and reaching higher and achieving better results than before. With progress.

Because life sometimes throws us to the ground. And it brings its share of disappointments, losses, and disillusionment, both personally and professionally. There never fails to be some act of disloyalty or betrayal, a bad boss who does not come through, slander, cheating, something that went wrong or fell through, a dream that ends, a surprising dismissal, an idea for the future that is a waste of time and drains all of our energy. There are many reasons why we fall, and our reaction is different every time. But we know well how these falls feel, how they hurt, and how they can sink us.

Knowing that I can bounce back –the idea of bouncing back– has contributed to my reaching the turning point toward recovery several times and has guided me on my way back, driving me to refocus on my goals or objectives with renewed motivation. Knowing I will bounce back –the absolute faith that with God’s help I will– has motivated me, given me strength, that divine strength that has been the source of my inspiration. It has positioned me for success regardless of how hard the fall –or the push.

For me and for so many thousands who have repositioned themselves in better jobs –after an involuntary exit, for example–, the liberating knowledge that we will bounce back, a new idea for many, changes the paradigm of how far or high we can go after bouncing back.

And it contributes effectively to breaking free from the paralysis or apathy that self-pity, resignation, or sadness can cause. Because bouncing back is making a come back to reach even greater heights!

Why does bouncing back work? I think it is because when one falls, one learns. We get stronger. Each episode of pain teaches us. Each failure leaves lessons and makes us grow. It forces us to sort out our priorities; to know what we want and how we want it; to think of alternatives or solutions; to assess our options and needs; and to get rid of excess baggage that is no longer useful for us. It turns our fears and doubts into our best allies. In other words, it prepares us to go back into battle better equipped, with clearer ideas and strategies, and with a hunger for success and achievements. Falling makes us wiser, bouncing back makes us winners.

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