Time after time I see promising young athletes reach the professional teams, and they don’t make it. Time and time again I see someone do well in the good times, but then allow one small setback to avalanche into a total personal, business and financial collapse.
Other times someone struggles through the youth ranks, shows no extreme talent, but when they reach the professional team they excel. Or, a friend uses a small personal crisis to multiply their productivity across all aspects of their life.
What differentiates those that cope with those that do not?
Resilience: Mental Toughness
How do you cope with setbacks? How do you deal with the blows that life deals you?
The 5 levels of Resilience
The five levels of individual Resiliency are:
- Able to maintain emotional stability
- Able to focus outward: Good problem solving skills
- Able to focus inward: Strong inner “selfs”, self-belief
- Deliberately practiced procedural habits
- Be Water my Friend
Resilience Means Adapting to Adversity
Resilience is the ability to roll with the punches. When stress, adversity or trauma strikes, you still experience anger, grief and pain, but you’re able to keep functioning — both physically and mentally. Resilience isn’t about ignoring it, stoic acceptance or lonely heroics. In fact, being able to reach out to others for support is a key component of being resilient.
Resilience and Mental Health
Resilience offers protection from many mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Resilience can also help offset factors that increase the risk of mental health conditions, such as lack of social support, being bullied or previous trauma.
9 Tips to improve your Resilience
If you’d like to become more resilient, consider these tips:
- Make every day Meaningful – Do something that gives you a sense of accomplishment and purpose every day. Set goals to help you look toward the future with meaning.
- Get Connected – Building strong, positive relationships with loved ones and friends can provide you with needed support and acceptance in both good times and bad.
- Write it Down – Think back on how you’ve coped with hardships in the past. You might write about past experiences in a journal to help you identify behavior patterns.
- Maintain Hope – You can’t change what’s happened in the past, but you can always look toward the future. Accepting and even anticipating change makes it easier to adapt and view new challenges with less anxiety.
- Take care of your Health – Include physical activity in your day. Find a night time pattern that allows for good sleep. Eat consciously.
- Be Proactive. Eat the frog first.
- Playfulness and Pause. Rest your mind and let it wander through imagined worlds. Mindful imagination can reduce stress (and it improves your immune system). Play games and act like a kid. YouTube videos about Goats Shouting Like Humans are stupid, but they do make me laugh insanely.
- Embrace Creativity Regularly. Participation in music and dance, can have a significant effect in building resilience.
- Use Procedural Skills – take advantage of the “procedural learning” part of your brain. Keep practicing the skills you’ve mastered by repetition – like playing piano, ping-pong or drawing pictures. Rote-learned information is what school focussed on – but today it’s all Google-able. Forget it. Focus on your procedural skills. These should be exercised and enhanced every day.
- The Doctors from The Mayo Clinic on Resilience
- Lane4 Consulting Whitepaper: Developing Organisational Resilience
- Green Beret Mike Martel on How to Be More Productive
- George Leonard on How to deal with the blows in life