Resilience: A Must!
In the past few months, you must have noticed people doubting, criticizing, blaming, boycotting, throwing tantrums, reconciling, giving up, or adapting to the circumstances. Which of their behaviours made you repulsive or admire them? Ever wondered why? Knowingly or unknowingly, you prefer to be associated with people who instil confidence or ‘feel good’ factor in you, and not otherwise.
Whenever we are faced with challenges (not problems), either we demonstrate fight or flight reaction. Nothing wrong with either, because each of us have different capacities to endure. But generally, running away from a situation doesn’t help in the long run, isn’t it? Hence, we work on personality development of an individual since infancy stage by trying to reassure and make the baby feel safe and secure. Such babies grow up to be confident and resilient.
So, what comes to your mind when you think ‘resilience’? Flexibility? Bouncing back? Overcoming? These are the common answers I get while training managers? Love? Faith? Gratitude? More uncommon, yet related to resilience building. The term has been defined extensively, but in modern times, just a short and crisp definition is, ‘advancing despite adversity’. Let’s say, if you are aware of your goal(s), have you been proactive enough during the lockdown, to take steps to inch closer to achieving them (goals)? Or you spent a lot of time just watching television, movies, series, sleeping, brooding, or simply exploring social media aimlessly? One or two days, maybe a couple of weeks—could be a much-awaited break we all needed—but beyond that it is a criminal wastage of your personal resources, like time, energy, money and lost opportunity.
Resilience is a much sought-after personality trait by recruiters and existing employers, family members, and society at large. But how to be resilient when stress from all fronts just keeps piling up? And, is it inherent or can be developed, like a skill? Neuroscience provides evidence that the connection between the 100 billion neurons in our brain can be strengthened by stimulating them, to create new neural pathways called neuroplasticity. Dazzled by the jargon? It just means our brain has the capacity to learn resilience through some techniques.
As I open the jukebox, keep assessing, how many of these techniques you are using, and which novel ones you need to start experimenting with? Ever heard of Karoly Takacs? A Hungarian athlete, two times Olympic 25 metre pistol shooting champion. So what? Despite being rejected to participate in 1936 Olympics because he wasn’t a commissioned officer by then although his shooting was par excellence; inspite of seriously injuring his right hand in a grenade explosion; no matter Olympics being cancelled twice in 1940 and 1944; he continued practising with his left hand and won the coveted Championship in 1948 and 1952! This is one of my favourite examples on resilience. You may have many more. But let’s not miss the point: he did face adversities of different degrees, but continued practice rather than giving up, to achieve his goal and was finally successful. Optimism is the first and foremost requirement. Realistic optimism is the need of the hour.
Creative problem-solving, by developing mental agility is the next essential. Understanding the situation coolly, accepting it, and then trying to analyse it from different angles—helps. Either I can cry over the declining financials, or I can utilize my ample of spare time in pursuing courses from the best of Universities online—for which I couldn’t find time during BC (before Corona!). So, as I complete each Certification, I inch closer to my learning goals.
Third one, which I personally feel is very important to build resilience, is investing in relationships—with family, colleagues, and God (faith/ spirituality/ good deeds). Even if you’ve got one person to depend on, who can listen to your woes, without being judgemental, and support you, you have more than your share. Moreover, connecting to Something/ Someone larger than yourself—call it a mission, purpose, or God—which makes you compassionate, grounded, and rejuvenates the batteries to get on track again.
So, tell us all if you are resilient, and why do you think so?