Resilience: The Skill to Overcome Challenges - Safebridge
Resilience: The Skill to Overcome Challenges
General, Resources, Safemetrix, Soft Skills

Resilience: The Skill to Overcome Challenges

The facts prove for a situation to be stressful, overwhelming and difficult to deal with. How do you perceive it? Do you consider it as a traumatic experience with no resolution or as an opportunity to overcome the challenges, bounce back and move forward? Are you the resilient type after all?

Norman Garmezy, a developmental psychologist and clinician at the University of Minnesota, is widely known as the first to study the concept of an experimental setting. During his research work, he met thousands of children, but was amazed by a particular nine-year-old boy. He would arrive at school every day with the same sandwich, with just two slices of bread and nothing inside. He came from a troubled and poor home, but wanted no pity from anyone whatsoever. So, every day he would wake up, prepare the same sandwich and enter the classroom with the same smile on his face. He was one of the many children Garmezy would later identify as “resilient”.

Defining Resilience

The boy was defined by resilience, which was making him ‘bounce back’ and not quit. He got up every day and insisted on facing the challenge, even with a smile on his face.

Resilience involves quick recovery after experiencing a discouraging situation.
It refers to the capacity of the person to maintain healthy functioning and optimum performance, despite stressful conditions.
Aspects of resilience that are tested can range from active problem solving, to resignation and the tendency to exhibit a positive or a negative attitude towards the current situation.
It involves accepting and dealing calmly and effectively with unexpected or stressful situations.

The importance of moving on (in life and at work)

Resilience can be interconnected with inner strength, thus good mental health. When one is able to bounce back from a setback which is either an issue with a coworker or the loss of a loved one, means being able to function both physically and psychologically.

When in lack of resilience, there is no way out, one is dwelling on problems and feels victimised without the ability to think straight and deal with any issues or problems efficiently. Resilience won’t solve the issue, rather it will help to move forward, learn and grow internally. Adapting well to change and keep going in the face of adversity, can be considered as major advantages for someone.

Who is the resilient seafarer?

When social exclusion, high-risk working conditions, confinement in open spaces, sleep deprivation, long working hours, mental and physical workload define the seafarer’s daily life at sea, resilience is key for their safe journey on board.

Our industry is heavily regulated to ensure risk management and mental health for the officers on board, as their working environment is mostly unpredicted. Moreover, this is an industry where unfortunately the human factor is accountable for the majority of onboard accidents. Thus, fostering a resilient safety culture can decrease or even prevent in certain cases, any unfortunate incidents.


A resilient seafarer is able to maintain healthy functioning and respond quickly and effectively to any stressful situations that go beyond their comfort zone. The stress in a situation can be conceived as an opportunity to learn and improve for the resilient type. Moreover, he or she is tolerant of adversities and can cope effectively, deal with the workload and show a tendency to active problem solving during demanding situations. The setbacks in their way are not discouraging, rather they are in the position to fight back and prove their worth.

Furthermore, as any seafarer on board of any rank can be in a position to make a decision when it comes to safety issues, resilience should be of utmost importance and considered as one of the major skills to have.

Assess to achieve improvement

Approaching the situation on board with this attitude will most likely lead to unpleasant surprises and one way of avoiding the mishaps on board is to apply proper and targeted assessments in order to move forward. Moreover, efforts to increase safety on board should focus on proactive approaches, by implementing changes before the aftermath of a misfortunate event.

Maritime-specific psychometric assessment MET-3S assesses resilience as a soft skill included under the “Coping Under Pressure” skill scale. MET-3S puts the soft skills that matter the most under the microscope, by assessing the crew and providing actionable data to help in making more accurate decisions.

If you want to get more insights, you can always schedule a live demo, where our experts will be able to guide you through the product, explain the benefits and how it can help you and your crew on board.