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How Do I Become More Resilient?



The good news is that becoming more resilient is entirely possible. In this article, I will take you through an exercise I came up with for a company that asked me to do training on Resiliency.


First, let's get some background on resiliency. About 40 or 50 years ago, researchers began questioning whether resiliency was something that one was born with or something that can be learned.


It almost seems like resiliency is something one is born with. When you look at families where you have two kids and one seems resilient and the other one buckles under pressure, it certainly seems that way.


Researchers started looking for the qualities that made someone resilient despite having the same living situation, going to the same schools and living in the same neighborhood.


The studied adult siblings where one was “successful” and other was not to reduce the number of variables and possible explanations. Siblings have the same parents, grow up in the same household, are exposed to the same stimuli. What could be the difference?


What they discovered were the 3 C’s. Resiliency could be improved by focusing on the 3 C’s.


The First C


The first C is Control. Researchers found that one of the characteristics that separated the resilient adults from the non-resilient adults was the focus on what could be controlled. They did not focus on the things that they could not control.

How many things do you complain about, that causes you stress and makes you wish things were different are things that are out of your control? What are the things that cause you stress are also things you have control over changing?


The Second C


The second C is Commitment. Commitment is when you decide that something's going to happen no matter what. It's stronger than deciding. When we make a decision, we intend to follow through but we don't always follow through. When you make a commitment, you decide that no matter what it’s going to happen.


The Third C


The third C is Challenge. Resilient people don’t see problems as problems. They see them as challenges. When you think about that word problem, it kind of feels heavy and permanent. We all have problems. We'll always have problems. We get rid of one problem and then another one comes around. So the word problem just makes us feel like it’s something that never goes away. A challenge, on the other hand, makes us feel like it’s just a hurdle that we have to get over.


Making the 3 C’s Work For You


Now for the exercise I created for a Resiliency training. Take out two sheets of paper.

On the first sheet of paper, you're going to write down something you had decided to do, but you ended up not following through. You either you quit or you had “reasons” for why you couldn't go on with it. It could be work related, home related, personal, doesn't matter.


If you have trouble thinking of something, think about a New Year's resolution that you've made that you didn't follow through on. Write it down. It’s important that you write this down so that it’s in front of your eyes as opposed to behind your eyes when you keep it in your head.


When you're done with that, take a second sheet of paper and write about a time when you made a decision to do something and you committed to it. Even though it got hard and you wanted to quit, you did not quit. You kept on going.


When you have these two examples in front of you, go through these two examples and compare them in terms of the 3 C’s. What’s the difference in terms of control? What was the difference in terms of commitment? What’s the difference in terms of challenge?


If you do that, you’re doing to discover what I call you success key. It is the thing that makes you resilient. Look for what was present in one situation but not in the other. Once you know what that is, you can apply your success key to every situation you encounter in the future to make yourself more resilient. This is how you do it.


The fact is we are all resilient. We were all born resilient. Have you ever seen a baby trying to walk? They fall again and again. Have you ever seen one throw their hands in the air and say, “You know what? I just can't get this walking thing down. I give up.”

No! That baby will keep going. No matter how many times they fall they keep trying until they get that walking thing right.


We were all born with resiliency. We just need to find it. This exercise is a really good way to find what makes you resilient so that you can consciously apply it in your life.

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