What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

The definition of resilience: The capacity to recover quickly from difficulty

Resilience throws up all sorts of images: rugby players battling injury to score the winning goal, soldiers getting shot in the movie and then saving the day – you get the picture. But what does it mean to be resilient in a world where most people won’t expose themselves to a situation where they feel vulnerable?

Consider the new approach to school sports day. By dumbing down the competitive nature of the event, it completely voids the reason for the day. To strive, to persevere, to taste defeat and success, to have your chance to shine and achieve. These are vital and disappointment is just part of life. Everything about this type of event is a life lesson. Being gracious in winning is just as important as being gracious in defeat. We’ve all seen the kids who show-boat or gloat – it’s vital they learn too.

Society is designed in a certain way to avoid pain and discomfort. Elevators, cars, fast food, junk food, diets and media campaigns (to name a few) all work in a certain way to help you avoid challenges that actually help us to grow.

So how can we work on being resilient? As the definition explains, it’s the capacity to recover quickly from difficulty. It’s about how to be present in the moment, how to react and how to proceed, no matter how difficult the moment is. We aren’t saying that you avoid all of life’s creature comforts but it is really effective to put yourself into new situations that test your mettle. Setting yourself challenges and overcoming any fears are other ways. I like to practise the value of being in the moment where nothing else matters except the exact moment I am in.

You could actively seek out moments of discomfort and learn to be present in that moment, embracing the feelings and thoughts that you are experiencing. This is one of the many reasons I sit for 10 mins in a bin of ice cold water as part of my daily morning routine. This helps me to build my resilience. In the water I am forced to be present and take it for what it really is. I can only focus on my breath and the effect of the water’s temperature on my body and mind.

This translates into my working day. I have already done the hard thing for the day. I have been present in a difficult moment and embraced that experience for what it really is – a feeling and a sensation. Throughout my day, when I am faced with situations that test my resilience and my ability to be present, I am more than likely to be successful in each moment, more easily able to focus my energy into a positive direction.

That is one of the reasons I get in the bin! What is your ‘bin’? What could you do that stretches you and challenges you each day?

blogs you might like