Facing new challenges, and bouncing back from uncomfortable, difficult situations requires a high threshold for resilience. Building resilience is a habit and skill that takes time to develop. When you are in a stressful situation, it can be very emotionally draining, but when you overcome it, you become stronger. Always strive to reflect and learn from your experiences.
Avoidance of small mistakes makes big ones more severe — Nassim Taleb
There are five activities that you can participate in, that will help you raise your resilience threshold:
- Practice asking for things, and face rejection. Try asking for things that you are not sure you will receive. It doesn’t cost anything to ask. When you get rejected, don’t focus on the negative thoughts, but praise yourself for asking in the first place. Stay positive, and never apologize for asking.
- Learn something new. Put yourself outside of your comfort zone, and have humbling experiences, where you feel incompetent and uncomfortable. Doing this creates opportunities to fail and go back and try again, building resilience. Learn how to fail ad bounce back.
- Face uncomfortable situation. We all naturally gravitate towards routine, and to things that are familiar to us, that play to our strengths. Similar to above, putting yourself in uncomfortable, unfamiliar and challenging situations will build your resilience.
- Manage your energy. Take care of your body, and ensure you are eating healthy and getting enough sleep. Be aware of how your energy and productivity fluctuates throughout the day, and plan your day accordingly. Plan ahead for times that you know will be difficult, and prepare yourself to deal with it. Make sure to always find time to rest and recover from challenging situations.
- Practice positive thinking. Negative events are only temporary, and in many cases you can change the situation. Pay attention to how you respond to negative situations or criticism, and what your internal dialogue is like. Finally, make sure to keep the situation in perspective, and do not blow things out of proportion.
I’ve failed over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed — Michael Jordan
Reflection is one of the most valuable and most under-used processes of learning. It is important to take the time to go back and learn from difficult experiences, in order to build a resilience threshold.
- Evaluate your actions. What could you have done differently? How did you handle the situation? Did you stay positive?
- Choose your attitude. The first option is to be completely negative. The second option is to be completely positive, but unrealistic. The third and best option is to be positive, yet constructive. You can acknowledge any negative attitude that you may have, but do not let it define you.
- Connect with an advisory board. Have people you trust to confide in, to ask for feedback on your performance, and to ask for constructive, action-orientated advice on how to improve.
- Maximize your recovery. Take a break, both physically and emotionally. Step away from the situation and do something else for a period of time. After you have recovered, and have more energy, reconnect with a fresh perspective on the situation.
- Let it go. Sometimes, despite your effort, it is best to just let things go and move on to something else.
Where there is no struggle, there is no strength — Oprah Winfrey
Building resilience is not something that you learn from reading a book. It is something that needs to be practiced daily, in real life.