The Importance of Hardiness


Hardiness is a psychological trait that motivates you to respond to stressful circumstances in ways that produce resiliency. It is a key to cultivating the existential courage that facilitates the ongoing search for meaning in life. Hardiness has three major components.

1) Commitment
Accept the situation you are in and move forward anyway. Resist the temptation to turn away from obstacles; lean into them instead. Research: “Rather than sink into isolation and alienation, do hard work of staying involved with the people and events going on around you.”

2) Control
Figure out what you can do to productively influence a situation, and then take action. Research: “Struggling to have an influence on the outcomes going on around you, even if this may seem difficult in certain circumstances, is key to hardiness.”

3) Challenge
This mindset views life as an ongoing, ever-changing exercise with no fixed outcome. Research: “You find the process of continuing to learn from your experiences—be them positive or negative—developmentally fulfilling. As a result, you feel less threatened by change.”

Researchers repeatedly found that the stronger someone is in the three C’s of hardiness, the greater their chance is of surviving and thriving during tumultuous changes. Developing hardiness isn’t easy, but it will give you the tools to better ride life’s waves Thunder cloud and rain Man surfing


(NOTE: If you want to learn and explore hardiness more, this article I recently published in my column at Outside contains more on the research above, along with examples of and practices for hardiness—both in harrowing circumstances and in everyday life (which are sometimes the same.)

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1 comment

  • Dr Pete Sudbury

    Outstanding short article.
    Sport is a microcosm of life, where we get to practise and reinforce the traits that get us through the real thing.

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