I’m supposed to get an answer today about something that’s relatively important to me. I’m hoping it’ll be positive but I’m also aware the odds are against me. I’m hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. And preparing to handle the worst the best possible way, should it happen.
Bouncing back. The art of being resilient.
Life isn’t easy. Problems come, difficulties happen, disappointments pile up. It can be overwhelming. Some people are beaten down or defeated by relatively minor difficulties while others bounce back after having experienced terrible tragedies or being knocked back by overwhelming odds.
I read an article this morning about resiliency in athletics. Resiliency and athleticism seem to go hand in hand. I’ve watched countless movies, based on real life stories, about how individual athletes or teams refused to be beaten down by their losses or setbacks, ultimately bouncing back despite the odds.
Principles that work for athletes can work for all of us.
The article spoke of three resiliency techniques… assessing personal assumptions, disputing, and de-catastrophizing.
In resilience training, assessing personal assumptions is the first step. It’s used an an exercise to teach people, including athletes, the chronology from their initial setbacks to their initial thoughts, emotions, and resulting behaviors.
The second step is developing disputing strategies. Simply stated, disputing is gathering positive arguments to counter the negative thoughts that end in reduced effort. Through its five stages, potential inaccuracies in the athlete’s evaluation are identified, from which they move on to consider a more positive thought process.
The third and last step is de-catastrophizing. The worst case scenarios and their likelihood are first considered, followed by best case scenarios that hold some possibility of materializing. Then, the athlete identifies a most-likely scenario, which generally falls somewhere between the most positive and negative of outcomes.
By walking through these steps, the athlete learns to alter his or her thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, while developing a mental skills package complete with coping strategies for increased resilience and broadened possibilities.
To me, it sounds like balance is restored. Extremes are de-bunked and put to rest. The achievable is identified. Perspective is regained. Hope is renewed. The ball that stopped bouncing gets some air.
Resiliency doesn’t happen naturally. It doesn’t happen easily. It’s a process. A process much like the one identified and used for athletes.
We all need resiliency training in life, and for life.
We can’t control what happens to us but we can control what we will do with it. Difficulties expose our elasticity or lack thereof. The choice to be resilient is 100% up to us. It doesn’t mean we’ll do it perfectly (after all, who does?!). All that matters is that we just do it. Whatever it takes. However long it takes.
All this talk of resiliency is putting a little bounce into my step.
(This is just as true for guys!)