Create your own persistence and resilience

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Elijio J. Venegas Jr.
  • 71st Medical Support Squadron
My wife tells me all the time that "everything happens for a reason." It is one of her resiliency statements.

When I look back at my life and analyze it, everything did fall in place as it was intended to.

It took me twelve years to go from airman, to NCO, to officer -- to go from 21 college credit hours to a Master's degree. I was persistent.

During this journey, I had four permanent changes of station, one of which was an unaccompanied tour to the "Land of the morning calm," Osan Air Base, South Korea.

In addition I completed four deployments, starting with Operation Desert Storm.

Little did I know that it was the beginning of a long journey of deployments, temporary duty assignments and yet another unaccompanied tour as a commissioned officer.

My persistence to succeed in the Air Force led to resiliency.

Resiliency as Airmen know it today wasn't born yet, but my wife and I pioneered our personnel version.

We are a military family with five children, 12 deployments, too many temporary duty assignments and now nine permanent changes of station.

Merriam-Webster defines persistence as, "the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people."

Resilience is defined as, "the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens -- the ability of something to return to its original shape after it has been pulled, stretched, pressed or bent."

I'll offer one other definition of resiliency from the RAND Corporation's review of programs across the Department of Defense, "the ability to withstand, recover, and/or grow in the face of stressors and changing demands."

Let us take a look the concept of persistence.

As Airmen at every level, we are persistent in managing resources, improving the unit, leading people, and finally executing the mission.

In our family lives, we build new relationships and seek a diversified social life.

All of this sets the conditions for applying resiliency concepts.

Resilience spans the spectrum of physical, mental, social and spiritual pillars.

At any given time you are challenged to adopt and sustain healthy behaviors, cope with mental stressors, engage in healthy social networks and strengthen a set of beliefs or values to improve your individual sense of well-being.

Everything happens for a reason, no matter where you are assigned or what job you are doing. Find your purpose, be persistent and practice resiliency.