This word gets thrown around a lot. Anytime a word in the context of health, wellness, and performance gets overly “mainstream,” I get concerned that the word loses its significance and depth. 

It is my assertion that many have become overly habituated with the word “resilience,” which has caused people to refer to it without much specific deliberation or intention. People say it because they know it’s relevant and, generally speaking, important, but, perhaps, there is uncertainty about WHY and HOW relevant and useful resilience actually is.

WHY

Resilience is “the rapidity with which you recover from adversity,” (Richard J. Davidson). I believe that we can actually cultivate recovering from adversity faster by focusing more on the importance of resilience and less on minimizing and/or avoiding behaviors, experiences, and relationships that influence stress and emotional dysregulation. 

As the saying goes, “shit happens.” Stress happens, confrontations happen, injuries happen, trauma happens, failure happens, heartbreak happens, loss happens, betrayal happens, manipulation happens, a pandemic happens, unemployment happens, and just when you think you are riding high, emotionally evolved, and detached, another happening gets added to shit list. Therefore, instead of getting sucked into the vortex of what sucks and fixating on the prevalence of what is sucking, focus on what is in your control: the pace at which you go about recovering.

HOW

  • Control
    • Here’s the list of what’s in your control (thankfully it’s short, which makes it easy to remember): thoughts, behavior, attitude, and effort. In the face and aftermath of adversity, it is very difficult to focus on what you can control. However, the sooner you choose to, the quicker you will begin the recovery process and simultaneously grow your level of resilience. This is, again, also why the foundational skills of self-awareness and self-regulation are so essential. Self-awareness prepares you to better notice and witness what you are focusing on when struggling, and self-regulation actively puts you in the captain seat to navigate your ship out of the storm. By focusing on what’s in your control, as opposed to outside of your control, you can realign yourself with what you are committed to and act in service of your commitments, which helps to propel you forward. 
  • Commitment
    • You desire change? You want to grow? You want to develop more confidence? COMMIT. From committing to the practice of your commitments, amazing things will form because you will be fueling your levels of motivation and your brain’s capacity to rewire in the direction of your passionate and intentional pursuits. 

“In fact, the more the commitment is part of a person’s identity in any context, the more it appears to cause personality change”

Scott Barry Kauffman 

Call to Action: The next time “shit happens” see how quickly you can focus on what you can immediately and directly control AND use that internal locus of control to zoom out from the tunnel vision of what’s distressing you, and realign with what you are passionately committed to in spite of setbacks, obstacles, and/or barriers. 

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