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  • Writer's pictureAlpana Shitolé

What Drives Success: Resilience or Relationships?

Updated: Sep 29, 2023

Very recently, I found myself at the crossroads of a perplexing question, often voiced by concerned parents eager to cultivate future leaders: "What truly drives success, Resilience or Relationships?" They are torn between two foundational courses in our Leadership Program: one that nurtures grit and resilience, and another that focuses on the development of relationship-building skills.



It seems almost foundational to believe that resilience is the linchpin of success. Renowned psychologist and researcher, Angela Duckworth, reinforces this notion through her extensive study on grit, a quality characterized by resilience, long-term focus, and an unyielding passion for one’s goals. The gritty individuals, as she portrays, embody perseverance, standing undeterred in the face of setbacks, persistently marching towards their goals with a spirit unbroken by failures.


Yet, as I delved deeper, I realized the answer wasn't as linear as it seemed. The scale of importance between resilience and social skills appeared to teeter based on the specifics of one's goals and circumstances. In fields where grit and a robust work ethic are paramount, resilience takes the front seat, enabling individuals to forge ahead despite obstacles. Conversely, social skills become the beacon of success in arenas where collaboration, networking, and interpersonal relationships are the backbone of progress.


A Eureka Moment At A Yoga Class

In the midst of my contemplations, a flash of insight struck me in the most unexpected of places - a yoga class. It was during a tranquil moment in “Shavasana”, the corpse pose, that a profound realization dawned on me when I imagined one's final moments in life, encapsulated with a lifetime of achievements.


Would the trophies of hard work outweigh the warmth of surrounding people at that juncture?


It was an enlightening moment of realization. People skills, transcend beyond professional realms, seeping into the very essence of a meaningful life. While grit propels us to reach pinnacles of success, nurturing relationships steeps life with a richer meaning, making the journey worthwhile.


Relationships, however, cannot be built overnight. They demand time, sacrifices, and nurturing over a long period of time. The ability to express yourself clearly, respectfully, and completely, even in a disagreement, the ability to listen with empathy to a completely different point of view and the ability to form new connections and preserve them through conflicts, are some of the elements of building long lasting relationships.


As we foster future leaders, let us instill in them with the wisdom to walk the fine line between hard work and the art of fostering relationships, guiding them towards a life of true success and fulfillment.


I invite you to share your thoughts and personal stories in the comments section below. How have resilience and relationship-building skills shaped your journey to success?



Yin and yang symbol illustrating the harmony between resilience and relationships; one side features a powerful fist, embodying resilience and grit, while the other showcases care and support, representing connectivity and relationships.
Harmonizing Yin and Yang

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1 Comment


Nandita Gaur
Nandita Gaur
Sep 20, 2023

Definitely Alpana, you and other informed parents raised a great point. Building relationships at the workplace and at home is a skill that needs to be instilled in our current growing generation.

Thanks for realizing and playing a leading role in raising an informed and aware young adults 🙏

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