In today's hypercompetitive culture, it takes more than just hard work to succeed. You've got to be bold, take risks, and put yourself out there--even when you're scared to do so. These risks don't always pan out (and most won't), which is why it is crucial to develop an attitude than can weather the storm when problems arise. Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from difficulties, and if you are in a competitive industry, you have to nurture this mental fortitude.

This list lays out the key features of resilient people--use it as a rough guide and identify where you may be lacking. If you can shore up your weak spots, you'll put yourself in prime position to deal with your work life's hardships:

1. Resilient people are independent

They don't rely solely on others for validation and their self-worth; they are proud of who they are and what they've done, not just proud about what other people think about them. By recognizing their value, positive characteristics, and their achievements, they hold themselves to their own standard, and they know when they've hit it.

2. Resilient people have a support system

Resilience doesn't necessarily refer to personal resilience, but to your ability to spring back from failure, with all tools and methods available to you. And what better tool could you have than good friends? Your support system can talk you down from the metaphoric ledge, and is crucial for helping you deal with failure, stress, and negativity.

Resilient people surround themselves with positive people by attracting them with trait No. 1. They're not desperate for support, and it shows.

3. Resilient people look to the future

When they experience failure, setbacks, or even tragedy, resilient professionals realize that life goes on and that things will get better. When in the midst of negative experiences, many find it extremely difficult to imagine life getting better, to imagine climbing out of such a huge hole. But resilient people can declare bankruptcy in their business and already see their next venture in their mind. They can lose out on a promotion and still reject feelings of bitterness or self-doubt, and choose instead to let the event fire them up and push them to work harder and achieve more.

4. Resilient people constantly strive for self-improvement

They recognize that they are not perfect and treat this as an opportunity, not a weakness. Self-improvement is always possible, for anyone, in anything they do. This attitude of accepting imperfection allows for risk-taking, for failures, for experimentation. The need to improve does not signify a deficiency or defect, but rather a life mission: the joy of becoming better. Accepting that mistakes are a natural part of life softens blows and makes it easier to look to the future.

5. Resilient people embrace failure

This is an idea that you'll hear everywhere. But while many people understand this principle conceptually, they struggle to put it into practice when the time finally comes. You nod your head and agree, but then you get laid off, and you realize that the emotions that suddenly hit you are worse than you ever could have imagined.

The good news? Even resilient people feel this way...for about a day. Then they reframe it as an opportunity, and start figuring out what they're going to do with their newfound freedom.

6. Resilient people don't build their lives with dominoes

When one thing tumbles, the rest do not follow suit.

Your life should not be constructed like a house of cards. When you allow unrelated segments of your life to impact one another negatively, you are allowing yourself to enter a vicious cycle that exacerbates each problem and ultimately makes you feel worse about it all. Business deal falls through? Don't pick up a bottle on your way home. Don't snap at your wife.

If you interrupt your normal, positive routine in order to wallow in misery or self-pity, you will achieve nothing but to add this guilt.

7. Resilient people are not rigid to the point of detriment

Unshakeable inflexibility is as bad as weakness. It's great to have routine and structure, but you also need to have the ability to shuffle obligations and make room for new opportunities, or you'll burn yourself out and won't take advantage of lucky breaks and happenstance.

8. Resilient people are human

Last, and perhaps most importantly, they will make mistakes and have true setbacks and crises. They'll question whether they're the sort of person I've described here. But they'll come out the other side, and pick things right up again the next day, or the day after. They can't be kept down for long. That's really what resilience is, after all: It's about not giving up, even when things go badly, even when we've made a mistake or let ourselves down.

Resilience doesn't feel very sexy, because we're really at our worst when we need it. But as long as you keep moving forward, this list applies to you. And if you can shore up your weak spots, you will put yourself in prime position to deal with your work life's hardships.