The Power of Resilience

There are occasions in life that knock us down and it seems impossible to be positive in the moment.  Loved ones die, relationships break up, we experience a health crisis, businesses fail, homes are lost, people disappoint us, we disappoint ourselves, or mundane things happen that ruin our day: this is life as an adult. Much of it is no fun, and you have to get over it.

When it seems IMPOSSIBLE to put a positive spin on a given circumstance, you can still ALWAYS be resilient.

Being resilient simply means that you WILL get up when you are knocked down.  It means that NO MATTER WHAT, you will pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and fight your way back.  It means that NOTHING and NO ONE can break you, because you will always get up swinging.

I continue to learn the skill of being resilient, and the more I practice, the easier it gets. At this point, I still can get twisted in knots about something and indulge in a 2-day crying jag, but for the most part I am learning to take my knocks and keep going.  The secret is in the way we frame the things that happen in our lives.

I saw an episode of ABC’s 20/20 that featured 4 billionaires that all started with nothing and built an empire.  One of the consistent traits they shared was that they shrugged off failure like it was nothing and kept going. While many people let failure put an end to their dreams, these billionaires played life like it was a game of Monopoly and accepted failure as a part of being successful.

The show reminded me of a former client of mine that I’ll call John. John is a global financier and spends his day making deals with sums of money that most of us never have occasion to even think about.

As a high-powered businessman, he always checked his Blackberry between sets at the gym.  On one particular day, he reviewed his emails as I was loading the squat rack with another couple of plates. I heard him say in a monotone voice, “Oh, crap,” and then let out what almost sounded like cocky laughter.  When I asked him what had happened, he told me that he had just lost a 26 MILLION dollar deal.  He said it like he was asking me to get him another towel.

This sort of news would leave me curled up in the fetal position for 3 days, but he shrugged it off like it was a $50 poker bet and resumed his workout.  He PLAYED life like it was a game and when he took a hit, it just made him resolve to get back in first place, pronto.  He had unwavering confidence that he could and would always land on his feet.

LESSON: problems are as big or as small as WE make them and the more we learn to shrug them off and carry on, the more we will be able to achieve.

I have done a lot of radio work with the great Dr. Leonard Coldwell.  He said on one of our shows that in life, it’s not IF you get knocked down but rather WHEN.  Get used to this idea and you will be a much happier person because when you come upon an obstacle, you will view it as a speed bump rather than a road block.

This is a mindset and it can be learned. Practice the skill and it will soon come naturally. Apply this attitude to everything you do and NEVER give up.

Live with Simplicity,