Expert Resources, Featured, General, Resilience

Don’t be that Frog in Boiling Water

Can too much resilience desensitise us to bad situations?

Carol Yang

Resilience is a great trait to have. On a daily basis, it helps us cope with everything that life hurls at us. And when storms roll in, resilience is what gives us the mental tenacity to overcome self doubt and bounce back quickly. But can too much resilience desensitise us, and cause us to remain in unhealthy situations?

There’s an old story about a frog in boiling water. It goes that if you were to drop a frog into boiling water, it would immediately jump out to save itself. But place that same frog into cool water, and it would remain there, even when you begin slowly bringing the water to a boil ….. eventually killing it. A gross story, right?  But it does make a strong point. 

I’ve seen many high performing leaders go through extremely stressful and difficult situations. As the years go by, the situation worsens – unreasonable demands are made of them, stress sky rockets – but these leaders continue to adapt and cope. To the external onlooker, it’s clear that something needs to change. These leaders are now paying too high a price in terms of their mental and physical health, but because they’ve been in that situation for so long, they don’t even realise how toxic it’s become. They’ve now become that frog in boiling water.

If any of this sounds familiar, you need to ask yourself some hard questions –

What price are you currently paying, in terms of your health, mental state and relationships?

What are you getting back in return, and how important is that to you?

Do you foresee things improving soon? If not, what can you do to improve things?

At what point do you walk away?

Resilience is a necessary quality for all high performing leaders. But don’t let too much resilience numb you to the point that you allow yourself to remain in jobs, companies or even relationships that are actually bad for you.





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