Resilience by Eric Greitens [Book Summary]


Generally, we are recognizing pain, self-doubt, and feelings that we must fight for life but why do we feel them? How can we achieve these feelings and barriers? Barriers make life valuable and also, they are part of life. If we learn that how can we get over the barriers, we will reach our full potential. Besides, to can reaching full potential, resilience is used.

Eric Greitens, who is the writer of the book, has a go-to to understand the qualities, experiences, and education needed to case-harden for barriers of life to write a letter to Navy SEAL veteran Zach. At the end of his search, he discovered history, philosophy and beyond. Eventually, the barriers have come since ancient times and according to that, the solution comes from old times.


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Chapter 1 – To achieve the barriers of life with encouragement, resilience is necessary.


Do you think that you live with your total potential? Unfortunately, we cannot reach our potential totally because of struggling with disappointment and failure.

Thanks to the power of resilience, we can learn how can we get over these feelings and barriers. The real truth is that nobody can escape from pain, fear or doubts. However, we can prevent the experiences to pull down us. The important key can look them into the correct light. Getting over the barriers is hard however if you can fight for life to get over barriers, it makes you stronger. In simple words, pain generates encourage and you should just let yourself be resilient.

Being resilient is the thing that the writer learned after spending his life studying with veterans. These veterans lost their limbs and friends for the sake of not explaining their aim. However, they faced their loss, won against the pain and later, they generated their pain to something positive.

 Think the tale of Redmon Ramos, who was a former marine. In Afghanistan, he lost his leg by stepping on a mine and then, according to his thought, there was two option that could be made and these were: to pity yourself or to be stronger. Ultimately, he went into the US Paralympic Warrior Games with the help of prosthetics and he won some medals to lead his home.  



There is a subject to be learned from here: The aim is always to learn to recuperate against difficulties. It is full of stories of people who are difficult to get over and have faced difficulties and administered to use their benefits against these events in history.

Think Miguel de Cervantes, who was incarcerated in 1602. During he was in jail time, he dreamed up a tale about an old man who attaches credence to be a knight. Ultimately, the story turned into a modern novel known as Don Quixote.

Everyone can take the example of Cervantes and we can deal with the barriers of life with encouragement and endurance.


Chapter 2 – If it is thought worth having, it is also worth dealing with.


Everybody wants to be satisfied in business life and happy in their relationships. However, just wanting is easier than reaching to own it because, it takes a lot of studying, working and fighting to have it.

However, do you know which one is valuable to worth it? So, it means having an aim and it is not anything that you could discover randomly. Instead of it, thereby you start to move and spread your wings, you should occur an aim.

To illustrate, start to work in a place where you have not to meet anyone or for the first time abroad without no one. For sure, experiencing this kind of thing can be agonizing because leaving the comfort zone for everybody is frightening.

We cannot be harmed by difficulties and we even want our difficulties to be in our lives.

Think the study made by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who is a professor of management and psychology at Claremont Graduate University. The most beautiful moments of our lives are found in times that are not passive or relaxing and showed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. We can be more active if our body or brain forces to its edges. Joyful situations are called flow and, in this case, we get lost ourselves in everything that we make.



The flow increases, when difficulty times show up and it is the important key. So, if we do not struggle in life -if everything in our lives is easily achieved- our brains are broken.

For example, just consider that if we do not give basic needs to our bodies like sleep, nourishments, and water, our body starts to fall. This kind of thing occurs if our brain takes what it needs, and, it describes it as a significant difficulty.

To illustrate, according to the Gallup study in 2014, after 52 weeks of unemployment, the ratio of depression increased to 20%, but why? The answer is basic: if people feel like unsuitable for aim, the people can sense unnecessary.

Put it differently, life aims to choose significant difficulties instead of escaping from the struggle. Because we cannot live without a valuable job and improve ourselves. It should be noted that if we are purposeless for a long term, it is as hazardous as depriving sleep.


Chapter 3 – With starting to take responsibility for your decisions, you should invite resilience.


Everybody keeps continuous to fight with characterized that is dark and painful terms. But there is a question, how can you collect your resilience during these times? Let’s start by looking in the mirror.

Eventually, resilience is related to taking responsibility for your event. This is the event of directing your focus to what you can control and accepting what you cannot switch.

It is used as a strategy to overcome your fight with life’s difficulties. To demonstrate, the promise that “wisdom and peace lie in reconciling with the uncontrollable” was written in medieval Spain by Jewish philosopher Solomon ibn Gabirol and in that time, Jews were oppressed.



Even if you are not in charge of everything that occurs to you, you should know and be in charge of how you can overtake with things that happenings.

The writer visited a refugee camp, and after his visit, he noticed that a group of people, who were in refugee camps, strive to overcome some tragic reality. Meanwhile, some of them strive from extreme poverty, other ones stood on their own feet with proud rather than hanging out and sorrowing, and later on, the others, who we can be called them as resilient, educated kids, prepared some sports, games and, etc. thanks to this trip, the writer realized that inner power, that cannot get from no one without permission, is found everyone even if most powerless.

In other respects, history notices that if you reject to take responsibilities for your events, there will be awful results.

There was a man called Eric Hoffer who worked about mass movements and fanaticism. Think about his studies. Meanwhile, he tried to see why people wanted to be a volunteer to tyranny, he met with a youthful German guy who attended the Nazi party because of his belief to be “free from freedom.”

Leaving of laying the burden of responsibilities may seem charming for the young man and others. However, some of the worst moves in the world have been eliminated thanks to this urge.


Chapter 4 – The repeating process provides us to gain new plus habitude and thanks to the process, we can be successful to achieve our targets.


Consider a ballet show or film: the finished goods seem to be painless and for this reason, remembering the work, how difficult it is, made it hard. Likewise, we do not notice that good habitude and very powerful character do not come from the only sky, but comes from care and repeating.

If you can see in another view: every day we fight against our horrible to win, and later on, we improve ourselves as a non-fearless. Also, eventually, resilience is built by repeating to achieve a bad part of life.

Actually, according to the antique Greeks, repeating process must be necessary to help to occur human action. Also, they said that both mind and body must be educated to occur in the formation of a powerful character and soul. Similarly, repeating was a necessary part of physical education in Athens and to demonstrate, the practice diet was created by again and again removing stones and defrauding the sand.



As a result, your habits must be changed to enhance differently. The reason is; a habitude is strengthened whenever every action is repeated. For example, if you desire to be a polite person, have the habitude of being polite at first and then constantly.

Kindness is a habitude that anyone can develop. Even if you see behaviors that you are nervous about, it is a matter of using your inherent politeness as a power source. You will be amazed as you use what kind of effects courtesy can have. If you are calm, kind and compassionate instead of increasing your voice level or being sad, the other person, who contacts you, will also start to behave kindly.

Unhappily, the exact process is valid for our minus habitude. For example, if we keep calm to be a mean person, nearly soon, we reinforce to being a mean person. And sure, when difficult times come, acting with bad habitudes seems easier. You should fight it to build stronger character and positive habitude with the help of education.


Chapter 5 – Discovering significant difficulties gives you the strength to strive for your misery.


Betimes, studying or educating intensively causes you to push yourself a lot and makes you under grieving. But, even if it is unpleasant, overcoming this kind of issue is easy because researches were made and the results of them are creative. On the other side, if you think different times, to illustrate trying to survive after the death of someone who was loved, then it causes you to suffer. Even if this kind of tragedy feels like being unable to breathe, still we have to face them.

The writer, who wasted his time searching the devastated veterans, met with some former soldiers who used alcohol or television as a weapon to decrease the level of pain. However, he thinks that acting brave for challenges is the easiest and best road to overcoming misery of veterans. The challenges can be like: educating a child or training a member of a team the aim of making these kinds of things is to recreate the emotion of purpose.

There was an Iraq War veteran who tried to bring his life together after the war and called Tim. Be curious about the tale of Tim. A basic and life-changing question was asked to the Tim by the writer: “How will you serve again?” and Tim said: “For the time since I got back home, someone asked to make a favor for this kind of something.” After this question, Tim became the owner of Patriot Commercial Cleaning where veterans are used to aiding them to reconstruct their lives and readapt civil life.



Eventually, life cannot be considered to be full if it does not have purposeful work and strong social ties. And this does not just apply to veterans; It is a painful event to live aimless lives. You must discover something significantly important to get over this misery.

When the writer worked with veterans as a humanitarian officer, what he learned is that people should render service to another higher aim than themselves, especially when things become difficult. As a result, there must be an outer surface to lead internal growth to occur.

Responding to fire with fire: bring a new challenge those people to help get over their misery.


Chapter 6 – If you learn how you can deal with failure, you can understand the aim of resilience because resilience is related to educate yourself for admitting faults.


Did you recollect the time when you trained in biking?  You must drop pretty most and hardly recovered your knees to be perfect for riding.

Actually, for every tarting is like that: firstly, you drop. Faults are only real. To be a highly successful person, you have to learn how to deal with faults. 

Those, who see failure as part of the healing process, fail frequently than those who fail because those who accept fails to heal process are disposed to try more and reveal themselves. Most importantly, these people do not passively fail because they are educated by their every fault.

Because of our fear of a sense of failure, we do not take action generally and that’s why we accept the fear. To illustrate, most of the writer’s friends from former SEAL were very good at boxing but now, they are reluctant to do so. Did you wonder why? The answer is simple; Because after learning how success feels like, they could not cope with the possibility of losing.

Anyway, at every step of life, learning how can you fight to achieve the fear of faults is likely. Besides, when you achieve your fear, you will be ready for trying new things like making new trips and grow.



For this aim, regard yourself as a beginner, no matter how old you are. For example, after returning home from Iraq, the writer who was the former boxing winner and the Navy SEAL thought about doing the martial art Tae Kwon. However, since he reached the top of boxing, he stopped making it because he could not sure if it was meaningful to learn a new martial art. Still, when he went to learn this art, he was badly beaten. However, he realized that he enjoyed the training and the defeat is just nonpermanent. Meanwhile, this sport helps construct power, self-control, and motivation.

It should be noticed that fault can be found in every step of life, and, progressing is the only thing that can be done. It means that if there is no fault, it is not sufficiently tried.


Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life by Eric Greitens Book Review


Meanwhile, things take a turn for the worse, men and women stand head and shoulders above! We use our inner power to make the best use of bad situations. It is a mixture of encouragement, strength, and sageness. Being resilient allows us to overcome these events.


Do exercise rigorously.

You have to discover a way to force yourself physically. A challenging exercise regimen must force you to the breaking point. Forcing yourself methodically not only provides you feel good in your body, at the same time, but it also provides an awakening of the soul and becoming free the mind.


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Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/106467014-sava-ate

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