Did you know that humans are built for incredible endurance? A cheetah might outpace you in the short term, but nothing can run at a slow, consistent pace longer than humans. Simply put- we are built for the long journey.
I recently read an article while preparing for a resilience keynote speech I was set to give to a large corporation. This article talked about human adaptability (like endurance running) and why, as human beings, we’ve been able to bounce back from life-altering events throughout the course of history.
Ann Masten, a professor of child at development at the University of Minnesota and author of several books about resilience was quoted as saying, “Resilience is the capacity of a person, community, family or economy to adapt successfully to challenge.” And while I cannot disagree with this – my experience with resilience takes this theory one step further.
Bouncing Forward > Bouncing Back
Resilience is about more than adapting or bouncing back. Resilience is about bouncing forward, by using the change or adversity we face, and pivoting into somewhere better than we were before we experienced the change or adversity.
But how? For many, this is a mindset shift. When our thinking goes into gratitude, by being thankful for a certain challenge – or even choosing to see it as a blessing – we can pivot into a mindset that allows us to see the opportunities ahead, not the setbacks. We are storytellers. The story we tell ourselves is the most important one. The story we write for ourselves is the life we end up living.
Oftentimes, when I am delivering this message, as a resilience keynote speaker, I get to witness firsthand the light bulbs going off, as attendees realize -sometimes for the first time in their lives – how they can step into this place of going beyond adaptability. We all have the capacity to be resilient – we just need to know-how.
Thriving over Survival
Survival mode is like trying to run with drying concrete on our sneakers. It will inevitably hold our feet in place, making it difficult to take steps in any direction. Every time we lift afoot, our shoe gathers the weight and each step feels more difficult than the one before it. Survival mode is a toxic mentality that causes your fight-or-flight responses to be triggered during stressful times. This leaves little to no space for embracing the challenge or leaning into the adversity. Fear-based thinking versus love-based thinking is the pivot to thrive in 2021.
How Do You Define Resilience?
To me, true resilience is about longevity – of life, love, happiness, and success. And for this to be true, it’s so important to recognize how we can not just “bounce back” from adversity, but how we can use hard times to “bounce forward”… even in the midst of a crisis. Adaptability has allowed humans to span the globe and remain at the top of the food chain – but resilience is what will continue to allow us to thrive in our environments – not just survive.