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Mental Fitness

The Secret to Building & Maintaining Resilience

Build resilience with mental fitness training

Published September 13, 2023
by Positive Intelligence

Resilience enables you to navigate life’s challenges with grace and strength. Your resilience is your ability to bounce back from setbacks, adapt to change, and maintain mental wellbeing despite adversity. The ability to build resilience is crucial in today’s fast-paced world, where constant stress, uncertainty, and demands can impact mental wellbeing.

What Is the Definition of Resilience?

Resilience is your ability to recover from failures or setbacks quickly. Recovery involves shifting from a negative to a positive state of mind as you deal with disappointments and setbacks. When you experience an initial Saboteur reaction (negative mindset), you can shift to a Sage response (positive mindset) much more quickly if you are resilient.

How Does Mental Fitness Impact Resilience?

Mental fitness refers to the strength and agility of your mind. Just as you may train your body to be physically fit, you can train your mind to be mentally fit. Mental fitness involves developing skills and habits that enhance emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and self-regulation. Mental fitness is about building the mental muscles you need to thrive in challenging situations.

When you lack mental fitness, you lack resilience; one setback will quickly trigger many more. This snowballing effect, known as Saboteur-spiraling, increases your Saboteur reactions. Setbacks become harder to recover from, leaving you in Saboteur reaction mode for much longer.

The opposite of Saboteur-spiraling is a mental ready state. This neutral stance of your Sage happens when you are at peace and prepared for whatever comes along. You may tell yourself, “I have let go of disappointment over what I did because if I don’t, I’m going to be disappointed with what’s going to happen next.”

How the Saboteurs Decrease Resilience

Saboteurs are the voices in your head that generate negative emotions in handling life’s everyday challenges. They represent automated patterns in your mind for thinking, feeling, and responding. They cause all of your stress, anxiety, self-doubt, frustration, restlessness, and unhappiness, and they affect your resilience.

“Saboteurs are the cause of your negative reaction to setbacks and prolong your recovery time to a positive state,” says Shirzad Chamine, founder and CEO of Positive Intelligence.

The master Sabotuer — the Judge — and its accomplice Saboteurs initiate negative reactions to setbacks and prolong your recovery from these reactions. Your Saboteurs go into hyperdrive mode when a setback has occurred, and every negative response makes it more likely you’ll have a subsequent negative reaction.

The Judge of Self

This Judge prolongs your recovery by blaming you for allowing setbacks or your inability to handle them. When you are down, this Judge likes to beat you up so you stay down. The Judge of Self prolongs recovery time by placing blame and criticism. It generates self-doubt, guilt, shame, stress, and deflation, keeping you in an adverse reaction and extending your recovery time.

The Judge of Others

This Judge blames others for setbacks. As a result, your negative emotions towards others put them on the defensive, creating backlash and draining even more of your mental and emotional energy. The Judge of Others generates frustration, distrust, disappointment, and resentment, prolonging your recovery time. 

The Judge of Circumstance

The Judge of Circumstances considers setbacks as bad capital. This Judge prolongs your adverse reactions by generating feelings of disappointment, resignation, and stress. It prevents you from generating the Sage perspective that every circumstance can be converted into a gift and opportunity.

How to Tap the Sage Perspective to Build Resilience

The most important way to begin recovering from setbacks is to assume the Sage perspective. The Sage gives you two choices when a setback has occurred: accept or convert.


Every time negative thoughts or memories of setbacks return, do PQ Reps. A PQ Rep is a 10-second hyper-focus on one of your five senses. This allows you to let go of negative thoughts and shift your mental focus. Doing PQ reps strengthens your self-command muscle, meaning the acceptance process is a gift because it strengthens your Sage.


With this option, you use the 5 Sage Powers to shift from negative to positive reactions. In doing so, the Sage perspective helps you trust that every circumstance can eventually be converted into a gift or an opportunity. To begin converting, ask yourself, “What could be the gifts and opportunities? How could I generate the gifts and opportunities?”

How the 5 Sage Powers Help Maintain Resilience

“All of your Sage Powers and the Sage perspective affect how systematically you can shift from negative to positive reaction, recover faster, and increase your resilience,” says Chamine.

When building and maintaining resilience, your ability to quickly shift to a Sage perspective and use the 5 Sage Powers is critical, beginning with the Empathize power of the Sage.

Empathize (With Self)

Empathizing with yourself is critical for maintaining resilience. Self-compassion when facing a setback recharges the mental and emotional energy drained by the Judge of Self, increasing your recovery time. The Empathize power helps you feel compassion, caring, understanding, and love for yourself. 

Empathize (With Others)

Empathizing with others allows you to see them as fellow imperfect human beings. This will help you recover the mental and emotional energy drained by the Judge of Others, thus shortening your recovery time.


The essence of Explore is to deeply understand and discover what’s going on before taking action. This Sage Power helps you feel energizing curiosity, fascination, and wonder. Discovery is a positive act and one you should do early on in setback recovery.


Once you understand how you or others contribute to setbacks, you can employ the Innovate power of the Sage. Ask yourself, “What gifts could I generate here?” Examples include knowledge, power, and creation. This Sage Power helps you feel the energizing joy of innovation.


With the Navigate power of the Sage, you can ask yourself, “What’s truly important here? What is not as important as it might seem? Looking back at the end of my life, what would still seem significant or important in this situation?” The Navigate power of the Sage helps you feel grounded, centered, anchored, and positive.


Use the Activate power of the Sage to ask yourself, “What action will produce the best result here?” Once you determine the gifts and opportunities you can generate, Activate helps you feel fearless, calm, clear-headed, and laser-focused as you take action.

Build Resilience to Boost Performance & Increase Happiness

Resilience is not just a trait; it’s a transformative force that profoundly shapes our lives. It’s the key to bouncing back from setbacks, navigating life’s unpredictable twists and turns, and emerging stronger than ever. By building resilience, we can not only weather the storms of life but also find the strength to thrive amidst adversity.

To begin building your resilience, take the Saboteur Assessment and identify the Saboteurs that are holding you back.

Then, learn more about how the PQ Program for mental fitness can help you and your team to build resilience, boost performance, and increase happiness.

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