Monday, June 08, 2015

Day 65: Resilience Will Get You Far in Life

Resilience has to be a learned trait.

What is it? As I picture it, I come back to the old saying of "someone who has thick skin." It's almost that Rocky Balboa characteristic where, in Rocky IV, he just taunts the Russian to keep hitting him. Rocky spent his whole life taking a beating, in a sense preparing for this moment, and when the time came, he invited the punches knowing that instead of getting crushed he was wearing out the Russian.

And that's the point. You learn to stand up and take the beating, knowing it'll lead to victory, because you've been knocked down and out so many times.

Resilience is recovering faster and faster because you've been there before and have learned how to handle it.

Perhaps that's the other point: you have to learn how to handle it. All of us experience rejection or loss. He gets the girl he likes and she dumps him; she gets rejected by the college she wanted; they apply for a number of jobs and can't quite make it; he can never win the big game. But many people -- dare I say most people -- go through life and they never learn how to recover faster than the last time they were rejected. Somewhere along the way many of us hear "no" and tend to think that will be the only time so when "no" is heard again, it's just as devastating as the first time. Or because they heard "no" they run away in hopes of never hearing it again.

This is why it takes a special person to do fundraising or sales; the "no" narrative tends to surpass by far the "yes." You have to be resilient. The game is much less like free throw shooting and more like shooting from half court; no matter how good you get at it over time, your percentage still isn't going to be stellar. Or maybe it's like LeBron's game these NBA Finals: he is unbelievably inefficient shooting, but incredibly powerful and effective.

Again, resilience is the ability to take the blow, to sense the stress, to miss the shot, to face the rejection, to hear the no, and recover as quickly as possible. Resilience is developed when you've learned that it happens not only to you, but to everyone, and it will happen again, so you build ways to recover faster.

So, you recover from the blow, but what are you recovering to? It might be an odd question, but it's worth closing on because if you don't know what you're recovering to you won't be able to identify if you're actually learning how to be resilient.

The answer might seem obvious to some, but resilience is recovering to a place of strength, of standing, of freedom. It's coming back to the understanding that you aren't defined by the blow or the loss. It's understanding that, unless you're dead, there's always another opportunity, another shot, another date, another chance.

And while I can't get into it more, resilience has a faint thread of grace interwoven throughout in that as much as it might be learned it's also given as a gift.

I believe knowing this and living it out will get you and me extremely far in life because getting knocked off the road only means you have another chance to get back on faster and farther ahead.

1 comment:

  1. What are you recovering TO is such a great question...