Think Ahead, Act Now – A Note on “Resilience”

You may be hearing the word “resilience” in unexpected places, as the concept  rapidly catches hold in business, government, psychology, investing and even dating. We took the concept to heart; in 2015, we founded the Sun Valley Institute (SVI) as a center for resilience to help our community thrive.

And yet, when it comes to “resilience,” we sometimes hear the following: “Talking about resilience unnerves me – it evokes bad things happening.” Resilience does indeed describe the quality of bouncing back from a difficult experience. According to Merriam-Webster, resilience is the “capacity to recover from or adjust to misfortune or change.”

At SVI, we use “resilience” in a pro-active, empowering way. We can build personal resilience by cultivating the attitudes, skills and behaviors that allow us to adapt well, and even thrive, in the face of change. Developing grit, gratitude and creativity fall in this category, as does a willingness to grow and learn.

Applying this notion to cities and towns, SVI works towards community resilience, which sets our community up to prosper in the face of change. Changes include what we can see coming, such as climate change (affecting our tourist-based economy with less reliable snowfall and increasing fires and smoke) and housing shortages (affecting the ability of businesses to meet their employment needs). Changes also include the unexpected, such as power outages, economic downturns, and natural disasters.

Just as businesses succeed by looking ahead astutely adapting to changes in their markets, as a community we can prepare for changes with wise choices that will enhance our quality of life. Approaches such as funding affordable housing, diversifying our sources of food and energy, and creating thoughtful, fair, forward looking policies that encourage positive change serves us all. As we like to say, Think Ahead and Act Now, for a bright future.

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