Seven Lessons of resilience from 180 days of silence
Seven Lessons of resilience from 180 days of silence
My whole life has been about finding more and more about myself. I have experimented so much with myself, and I have reached limits in some aspects, and yet I have had to give up on several others. But here I am now, probably more aware of myself and the environment around me. I can shut everything out and go into my personal zone, or I can choose to be an active participant in what’s happening around me. I have mastered control of myself, that I’m sure. This is all I have been after for the biggest part of my life: to attain a stage where I press most of the buttons of my life like on a remote. Even though I believe there is still a long way to go, I’m quite confident I have made some progress. Lessons of resilience are taken from everyday occurrences and experiences; my eyes are still open.
Six months ago I decided to take a pause in my pursuits, and most of the activities on this weekly blog. I had the previous year and a half dedicated time to write and share a post here on a weekly basis. But then I realised that I had to give accountability of what was happening and how it was affecting me. This is a blog about Resilience, Resilience Beyond; and as such, it is difficult to be the author of most of these articles and not be directly affected by them! It would be a shame to not practice what you preach! Anyway, over the last six months I have been into self-discovery, and here are 7 lessons of resilience I have learned about life, goals, motivation, careers, and most importantly, the self. I know life is more complicated than what I may make it to seem, but at least it shares some resemblance is certain aspects. Moreover, every individual usually has a different story to tell. What I write here is no silver bullet to the challenges in everyone’s life, but rather a suggested template on what could possibly be edited to go beyond our current limitations. I’m merely making endeavours in my life and sharing the process with those who care to read.
Life is life, and it always goes on.
We can’t pause time, nor fast forward through the actions. We must handle or manage whatever comes in our path. How we manage or react to what comes at us is the most important rule of living. Everyone must master this; it’s the key to living peacefully and happily. I always adopt the saying that ‘it’s okay’, for whatever comes my way. Truth is that, whatever comes forth brings with it something to take home, and there is always a lesson. Just learn to take life easy even in all difficulty. Life doesn’t really care who you are, it’ll beat you down to your worst and leave you there. How you react to that and what you choose to do is entirely upon you. If you however choose to do something, the only direction is back up, and that’s the beauty of life. Lessons, lessons, lessons of resilience for your life. At every point, we must choose the next action of our life, and this is what makes or breaks us. Always endeavour to choose wisely.
Default setting of life is living.
We are never born with instructions of what we must do in our lives. These we must set the terms for ourselves, of how far we really want to go. These terms come in the form of goals, or call it our life’s purpose. Without something to work towards, one soon realises that life becomes boring or meaningless. Society has put in place certain general goals such as going to school and finishing it, getting a job, and basically earning a living. The average individual usually aims at these. Some go beyond to set far bigger goals. The choice is yours; but whatever the case, you must know what you are after in life. The ship must have a compass, and we must know how to use and decide where to go!
Feeling of guilt.
This is by far the most persuasive and motivating factor in my life. It’s what pushes me to wake up every day. It’s what keeps me doing the things that I must do. I know many individuals who use this as a driving force to continuously go beyond their capacities. For me it’s largely the fear of messing up my ‘perfect’ week, my ‘perfect’ score, my ‘perfect’ routine, and so on. If I have consistently managed to wake up every day at 05:00 from Monday to Thursday, then waking up at 07:00 on Friday would make me feel so sad and guilty, as long as I have something to go out and do. The same applies to other aspects of my daily goals. Spend so much time doing nothing or without any positive progress, and the guilt sets in, pushing me to do more and more. Guilt and fear if utilized well can push for consistency in goal attainment. You should carefully understand that it’s not the fear of doing something that will push you, but rather the fear of not doing it that scares you. There is a difference between you wanting to do something but fear what will happen afterwards and actually fearing what will happen if you don’t do it! That’s the kind of fear I’m referring to here. I fear that if I don’t do what’s expected of me, then …
Motivation without action is meaningless.
This is largely known, but I can’t emphasise it well enough here. It is meaningless reading any motivation tips just for fun. It’s neither fiction nor some comedy. You cannot just charge up yourself only to waste away. You must divert the hype into something tangible. Motivation is meant to either show you direction or mostly to keep you going. And every time you get a boost, you go higher and higher. At the same time, motivation wears off; it’s like bathing, you probably need it every day. You must find something to always divert your efforts to, and for which you expect to see results at the end of the day. It could be long-term or they could be parts that contribute to a long-term plan.
Know thy self.
There is no one in the whole universe (except God, for those who believe in one) who will know you better than you know yourself. You must know your weaknesses and strengths; what you can or cannot do. This should be the easiest part probably. Through trial and error, we soon figure out ourselves. You soon learn that you are fast at something or slow; a multitasker or not; you basically get know how high you can jump. If your goals require you to work on your weaknesses, then my friend you have work to do. If they lean in the direction of your strengths, you are probably rowing your boat downstream. By now it’s quite clear for me what my strengths are, and where I need to beat up my game. I love the challenge, and especially for the things I know that if I really worked hard, I can get. It takes practice and patience; that’s the known route to achievement. You do it over and over again and you become a natural at it. If you are talented, you are the person swimming downstream.
It’s all in the head.
Everything that you’ve ever heard or seen or felt … whatever your senses bring to your attention is somewhere in your head. If it exists, it was imagined by somebody. Imagination and how you use it will determine how far you’ll go. Fear is the work of the brain and our senses. The device over which you are reading this does not know, understand or feel fear. You must use your imagination to see ahead, to experiment, to plan and make decisions, to visualise scenarios. This seems natural, right? In reality, we do it subconsciously everyday throughout our lives. However, if we consciously decide to take over and choose what to imagine, what to fear or not, or how we want things to work out, the situation becomes different. If you can imagine the journey to achieving your goal, then you are basically 50% there. What remains is to put things in order as time passes. Think ahead, visualise and see what obstacles are ahead of you, what solutions you’ll need to overcome them, and so on. This means that you must clearly know what you want and how things should be. It all happens in your head first before it becomes a reality. See yourself there before you are there!
Be accountable to yourself first.
You are the engine that drives everything that will ever be about you. Hold yourself accountable to your actions and choices. You don’t have to wait for years to pass in order to check where you stand; you must from time to time be able to re-evaluate your progress and ascertain whether your arrow is still within the intended direction of the target(s). Sometimes we deviate, or end up losing focus and we tend to take on that attitude of “it’s my life and I live it whichever way I want”. Well, as much as those words sound completely true, they are usually evasive of the reality at that particular time of use. They are usually a reply to someone trying to inform you that you may be getting off-course. Oh yeah, the word is criticism! Take it in a positive spirit. To be honest, as a teenager, I used to hate it whenever someone tried to correct me. It made me feel like I had exposed my stupidity and ignorance. But as I became older, I even started looking out for it, seeking peoples’ opinions of my work and so on. Don’t kill the engine. Keep checking on it and finding out what needs changing.
Some of these lessons are not new to me or even you, but I have been able to ponder a lot about them in the last 180 days. It has been a self-discovery project of mine, to know what really makes me who I’m. I have realised I have several flaws as well, but that’s for another reading. In reality we forget what really drives us, but better understanding of the fuel to our successes and failures is probably the only way to make positive progress. You soon learn what to continuously embrace or to completely avoid.