It’s March 2021 and unless you have been living on a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean you would have been impacted by the COVID-19 Crisis. The pandemic has caused significant damage to the world’s economy with job loss, unprecedented levels of social security claimants, and loss of trade across most major industries during lockdown.
However, the lockdown is having a much greater effect on how individuals adapt to new normality in connecting daily. Most were confined to their homes, not able to visit elderly loved ones, and utilizing the power of technology to remain in some way productive in a work capacity. The term virtual hugs, google teams, and Zoom are the new norm in communication with each other. Our towns and cities resemble a scene from “I am Legend” starring Will Smith.
As a new claimant within the Irish social security system, I began to think about others in the same situation. How would their new reality affect their mental wellbeing? Did they have the coping strategies to manage these changes? It is paramount you find other ways to navigate your thoughts. So with that in mind here are my top ten tips on building Resilience.
Resilience: the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress. – Merriam Webster
“Are you ready for the challenge”?
Why do we fall down?
How many times have you tackled adversity? What did you do to smash through this adversity? You need to recognize the tactics, strategies, or coping mechanisms you used to come out the other side. This, too, shall pass. When I say embrace the challenge, it is you that needs to face challenges, obstacles, and barriers in a way that benefits you. Is there something you wanted to do, but never got the chance? What stopped you? What is in your way of living your life, to your optimum?
Change is inevitable
The one area of life that is universal, is that change is inevitable. Life will always bring challenges and tests. You need to get comfortable with that and recognize flexibility is crucial in facing these upheavals. How you adapt to sudden changes is key to not letting events take control of your thoughts. Are you willing to change?
Do you have the determination, desire, and persistence to follow through on actions, once these changes occur? Remember you control the present, and adapting to that situation is critical. Don’t get caught in the vague notion that things will improve without action. There is no white knight. You are the scribe of your story.
Humility costs nothing
One of the most important traits in life is the power of humility. Even when you become successful you must learn to be humble. The art of being humble attracts other people to you, for all the right reasons. Life can hit you an almighty kick in whatever part of the body that generates the most pain. I’ve got brought to my knees many times when letting the ego take the reins. Stay clear of this approach. There is real power in the acts of humility, kindness, and generosity to your fellow man. Look at what skills, talents, and experiences you possess, and share them to be of value to others
Purpose or why?
Be careful, on this one. Most people think their purpose is what they should continually chase in life. The problem with that approach, is that they don’t know what their purpose is, so don’t know how to chase it. To explore your purpose take some time and think about what your values, beliefs, and experiences tell you.
Do you get angry about issues of inequality, poverty, rights, injustice, education, the government, parenting, or trolling online? You might possess what I like the term;
“The Activism Gene”. If you do possess this gene. It’s time to take action.
There are values inherent in every-one of us that help define part of our identity. Find what yours are, and start learning how they can help you decide on life’s direction.
“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears” (Nelson Mandela)
Where’s the self-belief?
You mustn’t let beliefs you have about negative situations dictate your future. The ability to learn new skills, acquire knowledge, and reframe our thinking, is available to every one of us. How many times have you set and reinforced negative beliefs by thinking and speaking about them?
This reinforces the belief that stops you from dealing with them. In her bestselling book, Stanford Psychologist Carol Dweck calls this a fixed mindset. We run from a challenge if it’s too difficult. You need to get comfortable with the negative, so you can progress. Learn to tolerate emotional discomfort. Not like it. Be accepting off it.
Get into action-Now
The start of any action requires one core thought: Belief. Now I don’t want to get into, believe and you will achieve motivational speak. However, you need to have strong beliefs that you can change your situation. Where that leads is up to you. But it can be as simple as getting out of bed in the morning and putting on your shoes. Where’s the courage?
The only thing that stops you from taking action is you. There will be plenty of distractions, Mr Self-Doubt lurks around every corner, probing and prompting you to do nothing. Who controls his actions? You. Every choice or decision you make entails some sort of sacrifice, to change or break habits. The life you know will change significantly. You wouldn’t be doing it otherwise. Now get those shoes laced up, and go.
I’m too old to learn?
It can never be reinforced enough, that growth is crucial as you progress through life. Don’t stop learning when you finish school, college, or university. Make it a priority to read books, develop new skills, and research. Even outside your job, learn other things that will make you valuable. If the Covid-19 crisis has taught me anything about possessing a specific set of skills, it’s that they need to be transferable, or you need to gain new ones. What are you waiting for?
The ability to embrace the mindset of always learning is so important. You need to drop the ego and become self-aware. To become the most successful and enriched you can be, you need to push the boundaries of what you thought possible.
“You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them” (Michael Jordan).
Goals for what?
Everyone sets goals, or do they? You can see achievers all around you daily in your community, town, or city. Do you consume 24/7 news, daytime T.V., or follow celebrities/sports stars on social media? All these individuals have something in common, they want the most successful life they can ever have.
Now, you need to ask yourself; how do I become successful? Let’s be honest, “sitting on your couch watching Netflix won’t do it for you.” Or, these people have an unreal talent. Complete bullshit. Possessing talent means nothing without constant effort. Time for action to get living your most productive life. If you’re happy watching Netflix for large parts of your day, then keep doing that also. It’s your Life. I’m not.
Time for perseverance?
One of the core principles as set out in Angela Duckworth’s bestselling book; Grit. If you do not persevere with your thoughts and actions, you will avoid challenges at every juncture. In simple terms, you will always take the easy option. Don’t waste your time on distractions, that won’t provide results for you.
It is crucial to set goals, targets and have a vision of what you want from life, and go chase it. The art of persevering lies in the doing. Take small consistent actions daily, and they will compound over time. When you awake in the morning set your intentions for the day, and affirm to yourself that no challenge will stand in your path.
Is gratitude an attitude?
Even those living in poverty or dealing with immense pressure have reasons to be thankful. Now you might say, what the f**k are you talking about? What do I have to grateful for? Take a moment and think about the following:
1. Are you alive?
2. Do you have a family that loves you?
3. Do you have access to water, clothing, and shelter?
4. Are you healthy?
5. Do you have a job?
6. Can you exercise?
7. Is your mental health good?
8. Do you have a good circle of friends?
9. Are you open about problems?
10. Do you have money?
11. Do you go on holiday?
12. Do you follow a sports team?
13. Do you have children and a wife that loves you?
14. Do you have good work colleagues?
15. Do you like your job?
There are hundreds of areas in your life that you can be grateful for. Sit down and think about them.
“Through perseverance, many people win success out of what seemed destined failure” (Benjamin Disraeli).
At the outset of this post, I asked “are you ready for the challenge”? After reading these ten tips to help you change habits and behaviors you need to answer that question. No one said it was going to be easy, but if you have the desire, faith, and persistence to work at it;
“You can do it.” (The Waterboy
There has been a significant shift in some people’s mindsets due to COVID 19, to get off their ass and do something that will challenge them. I want to communicate maximum respect to those people. You are the change makers.
“The power of actions always defeats the power of procrastination.”
If you moved through life harboring thoughts about past events, that’s actually where you will stay. These thoughts form part of a fixed mindset which impacts every thought when you want to make a decision. These negative thoughts will tell you why you can’t do something at every opportunity and present ways out, of not taking action. Can you reframe, and shift perspective? Remember there is growth in failure. Now, ask yourself: I’m I ready for action?
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