What are the characteristics of a driven person

What are the characteristics of resilient people?

Stress, pressure, changes and strains bring some to their knees. Others just put it away. How sensitively we react to stressful situations depends on a few personality traits.

Resilience describes the ability to withstand stress. Stressful situations are triggered, for example, by stress, uncertainty, changes or setbacks. Resilience is a mental ability that can be translated colloquially as psychological resilience. People with high resilience are often described as having the following characteristics: self-confident, relaxed, humorous, humane, confident, goal-oriented, intelligent and self-reflective. A high level of resilience is not only evident in challenging situations, but also in normal life.

In psychology, those people are referred to as resilient who are mentally resistant. Resilience works like a mental immune system that helps to get through crises or even to emerge stronger.

Resilient people are less sensitive to psychological stress such as stress or frustration and act more flexibly in difficult and changing situations. The psychological resilience is different in people and can be trained.

The seven resilience factors

The US researchers Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatté from the University of Pennsylvania have described in their book "The Resilience Factor" for the first time seven decisive factors that make a highly resilient person. Even if the names of these factors are not always identical, they can be found in most scientific publications. The seven factors of highly resilient people are:

  • Emotion control
  • Impulse control
  • Causal analysis
  • Self-efficacy
  • empathy
  • Realistic optimism
  • goal orientation

Emotion control

Emotion control describes the ability to remain calm under pressure. Resilient people are more aware of their feelings than others, recognize them and can control them through different behaviors and techniques. Usually this happens unconsciously. They also succeed in doing this when they have very large personal challenges to overcome or when they experience severe setbacks. Accordingly, their performance is only slightly affected by their emotions.

Impulse control

People with high impulse control have a clear strategy for achieving goals, plan in advance, don't immediately follow new impulses, and tend to give up less often when something isn't going well. You finish things and experience great satisfaction about them. So, above all, you are disciplined. At work, people with high impulse control can concentrate on a task for a long period of time and are not easily distracted by incoming e-mails, for example.

Causal analysis

Causal analysis describes the willingness to analyze a problem thoroughly and accurately in terms of time and content. Causal analysis helps people not to repeat a mistake they have made and prevents them from giving up too soon. Reasons for successes and failures are correctly assessed in the causal analysis. That saves your resources.

Less resilient people, on the other hand, do not carry out extensive research into the causes. They blame themselves for failures and setbacks, and they attribute success only to fortunate circumstances or coincidences.


Self-efficacy describes the belief that we can change things through our own actions. People with high scores for self-efficacy expect to be able to specifically influence the course of events. Accordingly, they are actively involved in order to achieve a good result. They prefer tasks that challenge them, even if this is initially associated with increased tension.

Realistic optimism

Realistic optimism describes the conviction that things can and will turn out for good. It also describes the ability to see and discover something meaningful and positive even in very difficult situations: the glass is usually half full and not half empty. Realistically optimistic people show a lot of forbearance with their fellow human beings. Really resilient people, however, also correctly assess reality, so they are not overly optimistic. Because unrealistic optimism leads to risks and prospects of success being assessed incorrectly and thus leads to wrong decisions.


Empathy describes the ability to put oneself in the psychological and emotional position of another person on the basis of observed behavior. Empathetic people can empathize with what other people are feeling. For many, this is easier if they have already experienced a situation comparable to that of their counterpart. Empathy helps us to develop more understanding for our counterpart and is extremely helpful, for example for people who are in frequent contact with customers, and an important prerequisite for effective emotion control.

goal orientation

Reivich and Shatté refer to this resilience factor as "reaching out" and it is not adequately translated as "goal orientation". In German there is no term that better describes this resilience factor. Goal orientation is a measure of how happy people are to set new goals and then pursue and implement them. People with high scores on goal orientation are convinced that they are doing a good job, are curious and have a clear picture of what they want to achieve. In order to achieve the goals, they take the necessary steps self-confidently, calmly and consistently.

It is crucial that you set your own goals. This is what distinguishes them from driven people. Anyone who thinks that the goals are set, will be less able to enjoy success and will rather rush headlessly from one challenge to the next. Driven people are more likely to suffer from exhaustion depression - burnout.

A person's values ​​for the individual factors can be determined with the help of questionnaires. The "Resilience Factor Inventory" (RFI) developed by Reivich and Shatté also makes it possible to determine the resilience quotient (RQ) on the basis of the values ​​and to compare it with the values ​​of an overall sample.

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