Viola Davis on How to be Resilient and Self-Confident

Viola Davis La Times photoshoot

Viola Davis is a resilient artist and a living inspiration: amazing actress, truthful, and  positive. Davis recently had feature in WebMD the Magazine. Read a few excerpts below.

Resilient Tips from Viola Davis

Live Your Life Beyond Yourself

“I always felt like my childhood was very harsh and dark, and that I had kind of a corner on the market of suffering. Then I went to Upward Bound and started sharing stories with people who had escaped the Khmer Rouge, and saw people whose families had been shattered, people who had post-traumatic stress from which they would never recover. And suddenly, I understood what it meant to define yourself in terms of the world, to live a life beyond yourself. The worst moments in life don’t define who you are, and no matter what, you can still thrive.”

Resilience will enable you to thrive in the face of harsh conditions

Psychologist David Crenshaw, PhD, clinical director of the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie in upstate New York and a faculty associate at Johns Hopkins University, agrees that people can flourish despite the worst childhoods. “Children are far more resilient than we often think,” he says. “Research demonstrates that resilience is part of normal adaptation of human beings, enabling people to survive and even thrive in the face of harsh conditions.”


Viola Davis La Times photoshootKeys for the Path to Adult Happiness

What makes the difference between those who thrive as adults and those who don’t?

Positive and supportive community

Mentors can be family members, teachers, or members of the community, but they are crucial for children to weather turbulent childhoods.

A Spiritual Life

Dr. Crenshaw  states that “the trait that almost doubled the odds of the [former Ugandan child] soldiers’ emotional resilience: a belief in a spiritual force, or that God had not abandoned them.”

Resilient Artists know your greatness.

Success at school

Positive experiences at school can strengthen children’s resilience in spite of facing “extreme adversity in their home life.”

Knowledge is power & positive reinforcement is key!

Viola Davis at the 84th Annual Academy AwardsSelf-Confidence Pointers from Viola Davis

Love Endures

Davis discusses her experience of having to evacuate California home because of fires.

If you knew you had only five minutes left, you learn what’s important. It was like that when my dad passed. Anything you thought was important fades away. Anything that angered you or destroyed you is forgotten, and the only thing that is left is pure, pure love. Because at the end of the day, nothing else matters.”

Don’t Gossip

“I’ve never been a gossipy woman, but I find that I don’t go there at all anymore. Part of it is that I’m tired all the time,” she laughs. “But the real reason I can’t gossip anymore is I’m so aware of the person we’re talking about being someone else’s child.”


Know that the space you’re taking up on this earth is important

By clearing out the emotional and social clutter, “I’m living my life with purpose, and I think when you do that things fall in line, and they fall in line in the exact order they should,” she says.

Viola Davis smiling in camera pose.Find time to exercise

  “I like zoning out and giving my brain a break because it’s constantly in motion, and I find that exercise is the easiest way to do that.”

Inspire yourself

“I think the biggest thing is the past doesn’t define who you are,” she says. “And you’re bigger than any circumstance in your path. Life is going to continue being what it is, and the only thing you have the power to change is how you approach it — in spirit, in faith, and in love.”


Read the article in its entirety. 

Photo Credits: Oprah.comLA Times, JustJared



  1. Thanks for the share!

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