I just delivered a workshop on Developing Personal Resilience at The University of Winnipeg.? No matter how many times I deliver that workshop or speak on that subject, I am?blown away by?how well the people in the room connect with the concept of resilience.? It always ends up being a completely fun day of enlightenment and energy.?
When you are resilient, you can ‘bounce back’ or ‘roll’ with the challenges in life, and still be okay.? A nice definition I have used is ‘Resilience is the ability to absorb high levels of change while maintaining your personal resourcefulness’.
When I saw this video clip, I was reminded about how many examples of resilience we see around us every day.? Check it out – it’s just 46 seconds long.
I love the wonderful example of resilience in this mother duck and her ducklings.? No matter how much they ‘roll’, they get right back up and keep moving.?
Yesterday, as I drove the streets of Winnipeg and approached a stop light at a popular intersection, I watched the ‘squeegee’ guy at the corner.? As traffic stopped, he ran up to?the first car, and waved his ‘wand’ to check on interest for a ‘cash for window wash’ opportunity.? I saw him be?rejected over and over, and still proceed to the next car with a huge smile and just as much enthusiasm as the last car.? He seemed to have an incredible ability to maintain hope that he would be able to score some change for a window clean.
Another example involved a young girl in a stroller.? I was behind her mother in line, and the young girl was working hard to get a goldfish cracker out of her cramped container.? She worked and worked at it, and for several?seconds (which likely seemed like minutes or even hours to her)?got nothing.? Then, she shook the container…fish crackers went flying everywhere…and she happily scooped up the one that remained in the container (with a very satisfied look on her face).
So – what helps you to ‘rock and roll’ like the ducks, the squeegee guy and the little girl?? I think three things.
First, stay focused on what you want.? The ducks were focused to keep moving forward – in a row, of course.? No matter how much they were blown around, they got back up and kept moving.? When we focus on what we want, we see solutions or pathways?to get there.? (And, when we focus on what we don’t want, we see only the obstacles.)
Second, choose positive internal dialogue.? Okay, I’ll admit that I don’t know what the ducks were thinking.? Nor the squeegee guy or the little girl, for that matter.? I do, however,?have some guesses.?? The ducks looked like they might be saying to themselves?’wow… I am a little dizzy… and that was kind of fun!’? The squeegee guy might have been thinking?’I bet if I smile right at her, that lady with the spiky hair will have some change for me.’? His internal dialogue was written all over his face (which made giving him some change much more of a possibility).? And the little girl might have said to herself?’I know that cracker is going to taste awesome when I get it.? Last week I shook the container and I could get one out, so I am going to?try that now.’
Third, persist.? To me, being persistent is about a kind of subtle stubbornness.? It’s about?refusing to give up – no matter what is happening.? I know, that’s easier said than done.??Particularly when life is throwing some heavy, painful things at you.? However, the more you practice it, the better you’ll get.? In fact, the more rocks along the way, the better you are able to ‘roll’.? I’ll bet you know that already…the worst experiences, the most challenging life events, can be very meaningful teachers.??