When bad things happen in your life (and they do to everyone) don’t allow yourself to be a victim. Only losers constantly blame others for things that go wrong in their life. I have found that rather than blaming someone else for bad decisions, lack of preparation, and poor judgment, some people draw on strength, creativity and active problem solving skills. These people are using the very important quality of resilience. Resilience is taking an active role in your own destiny.
In the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey, we were told decades ago that one of these habits is: Moving proactively toward the problem. Our tendency is to try for as long as we can to deny that there is a problem. When we do finally acknowledge it, we frequently minimize it, or even worse try to get someone else to take the blame. Neither of these even gets us off the ground to do effective problem solving. It goes without saying that we cannot fix something we do not recognize and/or acknowledge that we have. The sooner we acknowledge the problem and take responsibility, we move into problem solving mode.
The next step is to define the problem in terms of what we can control. For instance, I just learned that an electric pump just blew up in a business that I own. Do I know anything about pumps, or electrical machinery? Give me a break, I am a therapist. Since my therapeutic skills do not include talking to the pump about its need to change, I quickly realize the need to call someone who knows about electric pumps. Of course I could get all upset about it, but would that really be effective? It is Memorial Day and I doubt anyone going to fix my pump today.
I have also identified the desired outcome of the situation. I want my pump fixed or replaced as soon as possible so my business can operate. I decide who to call first thing in the morning and I am going out to dinner with friends and have an enjoyable time. I think that is called resilience.
I have discovered that events are neutral. It is our response to them that is positive or negative. When we face a challenge our adrenaline kicks in and sometimes we act too quickly. It takes a person with confidence to recognize a problem, make a plan, try the plan, and if the plan does not work, make an alternative plan. A positive person with confidence knows that he/she will keep going until the solution is reached.
So, we know that Resilience is one of the key factors in dealing with bad things in our life. What in the world is that? How do you get and keep it?
Do you wonder why some people have this resilience and others do not? What actions and qualities make the difference? The late Joseph Kennedy once said, “The most important thing for success in anything is a good self-esteem.”
Resilience, we know involves active problem solving and a person with good self-esteem. Here are some other qualities and activities that promote resilience.
- Focus on things we can control.
- Don’t waste precious time focusing on the problem, go into immediate problem solving mode.
- Identify the desired outcome of the situation.
- Ask for help when we need it before the issue becomes unmanageable.
- Develop organizational skills. (Keep a list about people who are expert in the things we need to have done with contact information.)
- Build a good support system by also helping others when they need help. Always try to return favors and show gratitude.
- Remain flexible; there are many ways to get things done. Keep an open mind about this.
- Use your sense of humor. In the nastiest of jobs, my husband would look up and said, “Aren’t we having a good time? We’ll be talking about this for years.”
- Increase your positive experiences by making sure you do more of the things you enjoy and give you energy, than things that are draining to you. By the way, the same thing goes for the people you spend time with.
- Be sure to remember the things that have you have already accomplished. What skills helped then?
- A strong faith helps everything.
- Another Covey skill is, Sharpen the saw. That is us. We are in fact the greatest tool we use to get things done. This means keep you healthy, active and positive by taking care of yourself.
My husband passed less than a month ago. In addition to grieving the loss of my soulmate and the love of my life, I am in an absolute panic about running the business that has been in my family for over 50 years. This involves a lot of complex machinery. My husband took it over when my parents could no longer do it. I do not know how to raise horses either. I have an idea that I will soon be finding out though. I am finding that he also did many other things that are now my responsibility. However, being busy helps with grief. The support of my three adult children is also helping to deal with the complexities of an absence of a vital person.
So, what happened with my pump? We found someone to take it out, very carefully. We decided that it was indeed dead. We started calling around to find a new one. As of now my son is on the way to Laverne, TN (80 miles away) to pick up the new one. It will be installed by afternoon. The pool has been up and running all the time. An added bonus is that the health inspector came in the middle of this and since the pool chemistry was perfect, he gave us a 98 rating.
Current problem solved. Resilience again takes an active role.