“When we tackle obstacles, we find hidden reserves of courage and resilience we did not know we had. And it is only when we are faced with failure do we realise that these resources were always there within us. We only need to find them and move on with our lives.”
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam (Scientist and 11th President of India)
“The moment we believe that success is determined by an ingrained level of ability as opposed to resilience and hard work, we will be brittle in the face of adversity.”
Joshua Waitzkin (Chess Prodigy and U.S. Junior Chess Champion)
“In order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy, to struggle together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life.”
Albert Bandura (Doctor of Social Science in Psychology)
“You’ve gone blind John.”
“There’s nothing we can do. I’m sorry.”
Can you imagine hearing this?
Every sighted person takes for granted being able to see the blue sky, their favorite movie, a good friend, or the words you’re reading right now.
In one day, all that was taken away from John Bramblitt.
John was already suffering from epilepsy and depression when life decided to push him even further out of his comfort zone.
Due to complications from seizures and his medicine, John completely lost his vision.
As if epilepsy and depression weren’t enough, he now had to learn to navigate the world without his eyes.
John had every reason in the world to be miserable.
He had every reason to play the victim.
But instead, he took control of the situation.
John began to teach himself to paint.
He had never painted before, even when he had his vision.
But while he couldn’t see what he was painting, he could FEEL it.
How is that possible?
Instead of letting the loss of his vision set him back, John turned his pain into productive action.
In other words, he took control of the situation.
Although he started painting simply to cope with his loss, he eventually grew into an accomplished artist.
John could have easily given in to fear and despair, and let this type of major setback ruin his life and personal growth.
He could have cursed Heaven and whined like a baby.
Few would have blamed him.
But instead, he embraced his challenge.
He dominated it.
In fact, he ended up becoming someone greater than he was before.
I’m guessing your little problem doesn’t seem so big now.
If a depressed epileptic can go blind from having too many seizures and push himself to become a famous artist, I’m guessing you can handle a job loss.
You can handle a relationship breakup.
You can handle a bad medical report, a missed promotion, or any other negative event life throws at you.
When you refuse to let a major loss crush you, you can turn around and crush it.
You can flip it on its head and use it to your advantage.
You can turn it into a setup for a strong comeback.
How To Turn Misfortune To Your Advantage
Your perspective defines your point of view.
If you’re always looking at things from a negative perspective, you’ll always have a negative attitude.
But the opposite is also true.
Studies reported by the American Psychological Association show that people who are resilient when faced with stress are measurably happier than those who are not.
The same studies showed that resilient people also had more control over their emotional state of mind.
Look—only YOU can be your demise.
Only you can bring yourself down.
Nothing else has the power to make you powerless.
When you’re in control of your focus, the outside world can’t break you.
When you’re resilient, nothing can keep you down.
When you’re in control of your mental toughness, setting goals becomes a matter of time, not a matter of possibility.
You’ll always be facing some obstacle, but by being resilient, you can always get past it.
5 Ways To Increase Your Mental Resiliency
No one ever achieved greatness in their comfort zone.
If you’re unhappy with your existence, it’s because you’ve stopped pushing yourself to new heights.
To rise to your true potential, you have to be pushed.
If that push doesn’t come from within you, it will come from outside you, and most of the time it comes when you’re not mentally ready.
It’s not fair.
But life is not fair.
Life’s not going to wait for you to make up your mind.
It’s not going to ease up so you can catch your breath and get ready for the next hardship.
Instead, life is going to hit you hard.
Again and again and again.
You’re never going to have the luxury of dealing with more than one affliction at a time.
The only way to thrive in life is by taking the hits, bouncing back, and hitting back harder.
This means you’re going to have to be resilient.
Instead of crumbling like a cheap flowerpot in the rain, you’re going to have to stand firm.
You’re going to have to snap back from failures and mistakes immediately.
You’re going to have to take action instead of crying to your girlfriend or boyfriend.
Here are 5 ways how to build psychological resilience for overcoming loss or failure…
1. Stop telling yourself you’ve peaked.
When you’ve accomplished something big in the past, it’s hard not to measure your current position against your past position.
It’s hard not to try to relive the past.
This is especially true when you feel like you can never achieve anything great again.
The problem is that living in the past will keep you down in the present.
Quit trying to relive your glory days.
It’s time to move on.
You have bigger victories in front of you.
The more you’re stuck in the past, the harder it is to bounce back from your current mistakes and failures.
The only way to move forward is to forget the past.
Forget the victories and failures you’ve achieved.
Focus on climbing to new heights.
Start imagining yourself in new places, new jobs, or surrounded by new people.
This is the first step.
The second step is taking action.
Step outside of your comfort zone and take on new challenges.
The fastest way to come back from a loss is to take on a new challenge.
Dive into a new problem and lean in instead of mentally going backwards and reminiscing on how good things used to be.
2. Learn to distrust success and failure.
When people get comfortable, they lose their edge.
When you achieve a goal, you’re allowed to experience a sense of accomplishment.
But the biggest thing standing in your way of lasting achievement and fulfillment is the cozy feeling of short-term success.
Celebrate your victories, but don’t wallow in them.
Don’t get drunk on one success.
This cozy feeling will slow you down if you let it.
It will wrap around you like a warm blanket and keep you from taking on new challenges.
There’s psychological power in being the underdog.
Having a mountain to climb fills you with energy and drive.
Don’t let this feeling go away just because you’ve tasted a little bit of success.
Learn to distrust success and failure.
The less you rely on short-term success, the less you will let failures affect you.
Instead, you’ll see both as part of a long-term process—the process of getting you to your ultimate endpoint.
You have to find your motivation from becoming the ultimate version of yourself, not just the one that’s slightly better than before.
3. Focus on how good it could be, not how bad it could get.
Everybody has bad days, but it could ALWAYS get worse, no matter what.
The possibility for things to go wrong is infinite.
But the possibility for things to go right is also infinite – so start looking at the other side of the coin.
Bold optimism backed by action will bring you peace of mind.
Blind pessimism will not.
Stop preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.
Instead, expect the best and take nothing less.
The best way to end up at your best-case scenario is by keeping your standards high, not by meditating on everything that could go wrong.
When you focus on problems, you create problems.
You give them energy.
The only way to become more resilient in life is to learn to focus on solutions.
You need to decrease your problem-to-solution time.
Once you make a mistake, experience failure, or identify a problem, move quickly to taking action to correcting or solving the situation.
As soon as you understand what went wrong, move past it.
As soon as you understand the problem, start solving it.
Only then will you be the kind of resilient person who turns pain into productivity and loss into opportunity.
4. Channel your energy into productive action, not whining.
Quit talking about your problems.
Nobody worthwhile wants to hear how bad you have it.
Instead, they want to hear your plans for making it better.
When you whine, you encourage other people to whine.
You attract whiny people.
As a result, you start getting pulled into other people’s conflicts.
You start getting sucked into a tornado of negativity.
Whether it’s a friend calling to complain, some troll baiting you on social media, or a colleague sending you a passive-aggressive email, you’ll jump right in.
You can’t wait to mix things up and prove you’re right.
But by doing so, you let these manipulative people win.
You let them control you.
You let them keep you down.
It’s hard enough to be resilient in the face of your own problems, let alone other people’s problems.
The only way to regain control is to stop whining about your problems and stop tolerating other people’s whiny behavior.
Instead, channel your energy into productive action.
When something goes wrong, take action.
When someone complains, ignore them and then take action in your own life.
Realize that your time is valuable and can’t be wasted by whining or by complaints from other negative people in your life.
5. Don’t be too lazy to ask for help.
Asking for help takes energy.
The reason people have a hard time asking for help is not because of their pride or consideration for others, it’s because asking for help is hard work.
First, you have to get up the courage to ask.
Being courageous is draining.
It’s something you have to practice and work at.
Second, you have to follow through on your end of the bargain when you ask for help.
This scares a lot of people.
It’s much easier to give up after trying something on your own once or twice.
At least that way you have an excuse.
You can tell yourself and others things like “I tried but I didn’t know how” or “I tried but no one would help me.”
Stop being lazy.
If you’ve tried something on your own, attacked it from every angle, and then ended up stuck, don’t just spin your wheels or give up.
Instead, ask for help.
The key is to ask the right person for help, do so in a way that adds value to their lives as well, and follow up on your end of the bargain.
Look—no one will start your project for you, or help you improve your life when you’re not willing to do anything yourself.
Don’t just ask for help and expect other people to do everything for you.
Ask for help and then work twice as hard.
Getting to a place in your life where you can do everything on your own is not easy.
Self-reliance is possible and it should always be your goal but you’ll need help to get there.
You’ll need to surround yourself with positive and like-minded people who are more successful than you so you can learn from them.
Whether it’s a strategic business partnership, a plumber to fix your flooded basement, or a buddy to help you carrying your couch up the stairs, you’ll need help.
It doesn’t make you weak to ask for help, it makes you stronger.
It makes you more resilient.
But only if you ask for it when you truly need it and only if you are the hardest working person in the partnership.
Coming back from a devastating loss or failure isn’t easy. But by being mentally and emotionally resilient, you can come back from defeat faster. The key is learning to channel your pain into productivity. Don’t let your problems keep you down. Don’t be too lazy to ask for help. Instead, learn to distrust failure. Remember, it’s never permanent. By developing a razor sharp focus and an iron will, you’ll be able to bounce back from obstacles until they ultimately submit to you. Do this and you’ll live a more confident and focused life. Until next time, live like a lion.
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