Happy Ukrainian Christmas Eve!
It feels like a long time since we spoke, which probably adds to my excitement of sharing our new series.
Before you and I discuss this week’s topic, I hope 2017 will be your year of love, health, accomplishments, and increased finances.
Sadly, it might be a year of hurt, struggle, stress, and financial issues.
Much of what happens to us is beyond our control. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have any control. And what we can control is crucial.
Which brings us to our new series: Resiliency.
The resiliency of this series isn’t only the “facing trauma, tragedy, or threat” type of definition I often read. It is also how to deal with situations such as a hurtful comment, feeling left out, and working hard but not getting where you want to go.
It is using the love of those around us and the sunshine of a future goal to get through the boulders that block our way, and the uphill climb and the snow we sometimes need to plow through to get to our goal.
In other words: how do deal with and/or enjoy an ordinary life. This is not about removing the boulders, snow, and uphill climb but sharing skills that will make the travel easier (the photo was too perfect not to use it as part of the text :-)).
There are two reasons why this series isn’t about the more intense definition of resilience.
First, I want this to be applicable to daily life. Hopefully, “trauma, tragedy, and threat” won’t be part of each and every day.
Second, like increasing muscle and decision-making, resiliency is best built slowly. Practicing is encouraged, but don’t be fooled by the old adage of ‘practice makes perfect’. Reviewed and corrected practice makes improvement, or maybe on the odd occasion, perfect.
- As with many characteristics, people are born with varying amounts of resilience. However, resilience is not entirely innate.It can be learned through changing our thought processes, the words we use and the behaviours we choose. Since the three are related, changing our thoughts, words or actions will impact the remaining two. At one time, it was believed that after childhood, brain interconnections were more or less set. Now, it is believed the neuroplasticity of the brain (the ability of the brain to continuously reorganize itself by forming new neural connections) occurs throughout our lifetime. We can learn to be more resilient.
2. We do not all need the same level of resiliency to be happy. Life isn’t fair. You might be one of the luckier ones and only need a small amount of resilience. Problem is, it is only after the fact that you know if you need extra resilience. Best to have some to spare in your back pocket, just in case.
3. The strongest predictor of resiliency appears to be locus of control. Locus of control is “the extent to which people believe they have power over events in their lives. A person with an internal locus of control believes that he or she can influence events and their outcomes, while someone with an external locus of control blames outside forces for everything”.Source
4. To become a resilient person, you will face discomfort (intentional bolding and underlining). By definition, if you learn how to handle something completely, then doing it doesn’t cause stress and you don’t need to be resilient to do that activity. Emotional discomfort is part of human growth. Trying to reduce exposure to pain serves to make life smaller and reduces the number of learnings and coping strategies available when the inevitable pain occurs.
I like to give credit for the quotes I use but these are from memory and I can’t find the direct quote.
When asked why Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX) is so successful, he said: “I appear to have a high tolerance for pain.”
Successful people fail more frequently than non-successful because they do more things. They aren’t necessarily risk-takers as much as doers. Even if they fail a smaller percentage of the time, because they do more, the number of failures will be greater. But so will their number of successes. Anonymous
Below are some notes from a class on resilience. I’m including it here so you can start to shift your thinking and ask yourself better questions. Better questions lead to better answers.
Did you take time recently to review 2016 and think about what was good about it?
How did you contribute to those good things of 2016?
Did you have other personal successes?
Did you try something new? Or go through a rough patch? For either one, what did you learn?
Most of us never review our lives in a constructive way. Then we either repeat the mistake or don’t move forward, unaware we are capable of more.
Here are some things to think about:
- Do I feel proud of things I’ve done in the past?
- Do I have a belief that I can handle things?
- Am I aware of what I do when under stress?
- Does what I do when under stress help or hurt me in the long run?
- Am I worth investing time and effort into to create a better version of myself?
- Do I have a sense of humour?
- Do I feel I contribute to the world?
- Are there people in my life I can turn to when in need?
- Am I able to focus on a single goal? Am I persistent when things are difficult.
- Do I like to learn new things?
Next week, we begin the fun stuff – learning how to become more resilient.
Warning: there are lots and lots of ways to become more resilient. Instead of becoming overwhelmed with the number, do only the very, very few that would fit into your life most easily or that pique your interest. You can also adapt the suggestions so they fit into your life better.
Even if you don’t implement any/many of the suggestions, just thinking about it can give you a different mindset which might change your words or actions.
On January 14th is Ukrainian New Year’s Day. A clean slate.
Another opportunity to be a better you. As is every day, hour and minute.
P.S. It goes without saying, quality sleep increases your resilience. Do you wake up tired or become tired during the day? If you are, try one of our 10 lb or one of our heavier blankets and embrace dreamland.