How To Build Resilience
Kids seem to be born with it.
The more I watch my daughter the more I’m envious of her resiliency.
She’s learning to sit on her own. For the first few days she would tip over more often than she would stay upright. The first few times she would cry for a few seconds. But then she would be right back pushing her arms off the floor trying to sit up.
Maybe it’s a short memory and attention span. Or maybe it’s her determination. Whatever it is, she’s more resilient than most people I know…myself included.
Resiliency + Success
We’re finding out more each day about the importance of resiliency in life. Not just for survival, but for success and for thriving in whatever situation you’re in.
Talk to people that are successful. Ask them questions. What you’ll often find if you push enough is that they’ve had to go through quite the struggle to get to where they are. Sometimes it’s been so long and difficult that they’ve kind of forgotten their own journey.
I love golf and I’ll often look at professional golfers with awe. It’s a game where even the best players rarely win. It’s different than other popular professional sports. The best teams in the NFL often win 13 or more games a year. The best teams in the NBA often win 60+ games a year. The same in baseball.
Tiger Woods had arguably the best season ever on the PGA Tour in 2000. He played in 20 official tournaments. He won 9 of them. Less than half. Sure, he had four second place finishes and also a third, but more often than not he wasn’t the winner.
Also, golf can drive people crazy. Even Tiger Woods has struggled with his swing over the years. But many think that his biggest reason for winning as often as he does is his resiliency. His ability to fight through adversity better than any other golfer.
A big part of life, a tricky part, is feeling like you’re alone. Feeling like when something happens that it’s only happening to you. I think that’s why sad songs are often the most popular. It gives us something to relate to.
Part of resiliency seems to be the ability to have perspective on how others are going through life. When you find yourself going through something difficult it’s okay to feel frustrated. But to feel that the world is against you would be wrong. If you understand what others are going through it can help you push through.
One of my favorite songs is by Bradley Walker, a singer with muscular dystrophy. Many think that he’s had a difficult time in life and I’m sure in many ways that it has been. But he wrote a song about how lucky he feels and how sorry he feels for many others in much more difficult situations.
You can compare yourself to others to get perspective on your situation. But perhaps an even better path to resiliency is to compare yourself to yourself.
A key to life seems to be the ability to see your own growth and find things that make you happy…even if nobody else can see it. Accomplishing something that makes you feel good.
Back in high school I desperate wanted to be on the varsity golf team. For my entire childhood, sports had come relatively easy. Basketball, football, baseball and more. I was pretty good at them all.
But golf…that was another story. And for some reason that was the sport I cared about the most. So for an entire summer after my freshman year I practiced. Chipping all the time. The next spring came around and I made the varsity team. I had one of the best short games in the conference.
Sure, others noticed, but that didn’t really matter to me. I could see the growth in my game. I was happy for myself to make that team. Nobody set the goal for me. Nobody saw the work I put in. Nobody saw all the bad shots I hit.
This one can seem harsh, but it’s a basic requirement for resiliency. You’ve probably seen it happen.
If you’re not careful you can let others bring you down.
I’m a fan of old sayings. A couple years ago I met with this man. He was nearly 90 years old. Myself and two friends were going to make a deal with him. I met with him first and we got along well and I suggested we set a time for all of us to meet.
He said that would be fine, but said that he felt comfortable already because birds of a feather flock together. He figured that if I was a pretty good guy that my two friends were probably pretty good guys too.
And it’s true.
Some of the most resilient people I know spend time with other resilient people.
One of the biggest things you can do if you’re looking to be more resilient is to cut ties with those that aren’t and spend time with those that are.
Mention the word resiliency to those that seemingly need it most and they’ll likely come up with instant excuses. Some people you just can’t help. And that’s fine. That’s their choice.
Your choice in the situation is to focus on yourself. It’s okay to be greedy and selfish in this case. If you’re looking to be successful, healthy, happy and more, the key seems to be resiliency. The ability to overcome challenges. Challenges of all kinds. Some little. Some big.
It’s not always the most talented or lucky that succeed. It’s often those that keep trying to figure it out no matter what comes their way.
Just like my daughter as she learns all kinds of new things. She faces adversity everyday and always comes out willing to try more.