Securing well-being and building resilience in response to shocks are often viewed as key goals of sustainable development. Here, we present an overview of the latest published evidence, as well as the consensus of a diverse group of scientists and practitioners drawn from a structured analytical review and deliberative workshop process. We argue that resilience and well-being are related in complex ways, but in their applications in practice they are often assumed to be synergistic. Although theoretically compatible, evidence we present here shows that they may in fact work against each other. This has important implications for policy.