Recently, I watched the mini-series “Genius,” on the National Geographic Channel, which was the story of the life of Albert Einstein. Einstein struggled for most of his early life with the fact that he viewed the world through a different prism; that his ideas of physics were abstract and difficult to prove. And, on top of everything, he was living as a Jewish physicist in Germany, during the rise of Hitler.

His early academic life was conflicted, as he was often passed over for both collegiate recognition and awards.  Yet, he had the resilience to move forward with confidence in himself and competence in his ability.

According to the Harvard Business Review (01/05/2015, Andrea Ovens) “Resiliency is the ability to recover from setbacks, recover from change, and keep going in the face of adversity.” No matter what happened in Einstein’s life – ultimately culminating in the loss of his wife and family, he continued forward, never giving up on the ideas that were formatting his goals.

His resilience gave the 20th century, and hence the world, most of the technological advances that we benefit from today. Not only in the space program, but in the computer, the microwave, and so forth. And, his work has transferred into collateral areas of discovery, which may ultimately be the source of clean energy for the world, such as cold fusion.

Looking at Einstein’s life, you can easily see the importance of resiliency. And, like compassion and empathy, resiliency can be taught – not only to ourselves but to our children.

The Power of Resiliency

Resilient children and adults have several characteristics in common:

  • They do not take failure personally, but rather think in terms of restructuring errors, while looking for different avenues to approach problem-solving.

When my own children were little, my husband, Jenard would drive them to school by a different route each day, because he wanted to show them that there was more than one way to arrive at a conclusion. Of course, that is the key to problem-solving, to not get personally invested in one direction – but to open your mind to all possibilities.

  • Resilient children and adults focus on commitment, responsibility, and obligation; not only to self, but to others. These, are the characteristics that are necessary for relationship, and they transfer to your wants, needs, and goals.
  • Resilient children and adults learn to prioritize. They put their energy where it will get the best results, and learn early how to focus their time on things that are within their control; rather than scatter their energy in areas unrelated to their goals.

Another perfect example of resiliency is Madam Curie. In 1903 and again in 1911, Madam Curie received the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery and study of two previously unknown elements – Polonium and Radium. Imagine, a woman in the early 1900’s, working under impossible conditions at the Sorbonne, in a lab that was vulnerable to the elements of cold and rain, while experimenting with radio-active material. Her resilience changed the world forever,   as did her intention to create ways to advance diagnostic tools for medical care, both on the battle field and at home.

  • Resilient children and adults use optimistic self-talk; understanding how to converse and confront their own inner critic. This, allows them to let go of what no longer emotionally serves them. For example, the critical voice of childhood and the insecurities that no longer relate to the confident and competent adult of today.
  • Resilient children and adults view failure as temporary and do not transfer the experience of failure onto the next project, but rather percolate until new ideas emerge.
  • Resilient children and adults don’t cry over spilt milk. Instead, they see problems as short-term obstacles from which they can garner or gain knowledge.
  • Resilient children and adults don’t play the “blame game”, castigating themselves. Consequently, when confronted by the defeat of an enterprise, they consider that the project or venture failed – not that they failed.

Look for Part II of my blog on the Power of Resiliency, and I will teach you how to develop both resiliency skills and techniques.


  • Dr. Gail Gross

    Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert

    Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC's The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU's Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at since 2013. Recently, Houston Women's Magazine named her One of Houston's Most Influential Women of 2016. Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning. Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention's 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award. Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To. Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.