A positive outlook is the most important predictor of resilience. It’s not just Hollywood magic.
One of the most memorable scenes of the Oscar-nominated film Silver Linings Playbook revolves around Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, a novel that does not end well, to put it mildly.
Patrizio Solitano Jr. (Bradley Cooper) has come home after an eight-month stint being treated for bipolar disorder at a psychiatric hospital, where he was sentenced to go after he nearly beat his wife’s lover to death. Home from the hospital, living under his parents’ charge, Pat has lost his wife, his job, and his house. But he tries to put the pieces of his life back together. He exercises, maintains an upbeat lifestyle, and tries to better his mind by reading through the novels that his estranged wife Nikki, a high school English teacher, assigns her students.
Pat takes up a personal motto, excelsior — Latin for “ever upward.” He tells his state-appointed therapist, “I hate my illness and I want to control it. This is what I believe to be true: You have to do everything you can and if you stay positive you have a shot at a silver lining.”