Resilience 101

Individually and collectively,  we all face challenging times in our lives. It’s an unavoidable albeit essential part of life and growth. So building and protecting some life hardiness and resiliency is naturally essential. Given my own personal circumstances and the journey I’m on right now, I’ve been keeping a keen eye out for useful writing and tips etc. that provide support and insight.

The following is a list of ideas and universal truths – borrowed from various sources – we sometimes forget, as we career on through the madness of living in today’s world. If you find this article helpful, please share it with those whom you care about who are in need.

1. The power of perspective

Life is not always easy. We all know that. And sometimes we simply cannot control what happens to or around us. But how we choose to think, feel, and act in relation to life’s challenges is in our control, and can often make the difference between hope versus despair, optimism versus frustration, and victory versus defeat. Adopting a curious posture and being inquisitive about what’s happening to you is a powerful way to remain in a control and positive. So with every challenging situation, you encounter, try and step back and ask questions such as “What is the lesson here?” “How can I learn from this experience?” “What is most important now?”. The higher the quality of questions you ask, the better the quality of answers you will receive.

“I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”- Thomas A. Edison

2. Don’t focus on the mud

We should learn from the past, but not be stuck in it. Sometimes life circumstances and personal setbacks can haunt and prevent us from seeing our true potential and recognizing new opportunities. What has already happened we cannot change, but what is yet to happen we can shape and influence. At times the first step is simply to break from the past and declare that it is you, not your history, who’s in charge. Ask empowering questions such as “What matters to me now?” “How can I make a difference in this situation?” and “What’s the next step for my best interest and well-being?” Every moment we’re alive we can make new choices that help us move on and step toward a better future. If we pay attention to only mud on the ground after a storm, we won’t notice that the sky above us has already cleared. Goethe reminds us: “Nothing is worth more than this day.” Don’t focus on the mud. Make better choices today and move on.

3. All you have to do is ask…the right individuals

In life, we sometimes may feel like we’re walking alone, but we don’t have to be as long as we’re honest with ourselves and ask for help when needed.  Create a list of “go-to” people that you can turn to when you’re in need of sound advice, a new perspective, a certain expertise, or simply an empathetic ear. Asking for help is often hard for many people. Pride usually gets in the way or fear of looking weak, or like a failure. Nothing could be further from the truth.  The most successful in the world people assume responsibility for finding the support they need to solve their problems, and are always surrounded by people that inspire and challenge them.

“Normal people have problems. The smart ones get help. – Daniel Amen

4. Thrive on your strengths while exploring new potential

We each have certain dispositions in which we naturally excel. Some of us are great with people, others are handy with tools, yet others thrive on information. A mismatch between what you’re naturally good at and your work in life is wasted potential. Now, perhaps more than at any other time in history,  the conditions are ideal for nurturing and living a life aligned with your passion.

“When you follow your bliss… doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors, and where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else.” – Joseph Campbell

5. It’s supposed to be fun!

Van Wilder from the movie of the same name said: “You shouldn’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out alive.” No matter how difficult the circumstances, resolve to keep the fun and enjoyment in your life. Make a point to take some “you-time” everyday. The more challenging and stressful life is, the more important it is to take good care of yourself so you can relax your body, ease your mind, and rejuvenate your spirit. After recharging your batteries, you may see the same situation in a different, more positive light.

6. Keep your options open

There are many paths to opportunity, success, and happiness. We can begin by asking ourselves what true success and happiness means and looks like to us, and let our answers show the way. When one path seems to be at a dead end, look another way and see what new openings may be waiting just around the corner. Options can come from consulting the aforementioned goto people, thinking outside the box, daring to dream, doing something different, or simply letting go of a habit or condition that has clearly outlived its usefulness. We’re never stuck unless we have blinders on. Keep your options open.

“We must dare to think ‘unthinkable’ thoughts. We must learn to explore all the options and possibilities that confront us in a complex and rapidly changing world.”
– James W. Fulbright

7. Keep the faith

There are many ways to keep your faith alive: Faith in yourself, faith in your place in this world, and faith in answers the Universe has in store for you. Go to places and engage in activities that give you the greatest feeling of inner peace. When you give yourself this gift on a regular basis, what psychologists call the Higher Self emerges, as insights, inspiration, and a sense of deep knowing spring forth from the depth of your soul.

As you immerse yourself in peace, ask: “What if what I’m going through is a blessing in disguise? What greater meaning exists for me now?” Put forth these and any other constructive questions that come straight from your heart. Don’t try to figure out the answers during these moments, but rather “empty your mind” and let the solutions come to you. The answers may come at that moment or later: sometimes when the time is right; sometimes when you least expect them. All you have to do is hold the questions and pay attention.

8. Resolve to never, ever give up

I once heard a someone say that there are no losers in life, except for those who give up on themselves. If you’re still alive and breathing, your purpose in this lifetime is not yet fulfilled. The great adventure is in discovering what that purpose is, and to live it until your last breath. If you’re reading this post, you’re probably being pulled by an inner calling to do more. That calling is your adventure waiting to happen. What are you waiting for? And what are you willing to do now?

“The marvellous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse.” – Helen Keller


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