How to Tune Up Your Resilience-Readiness
Resilience is an attribute that we all share. It is integral to our instinct to survive. Without it, we wouldn’t be here. Without the remarkable degree of personal resilience that we all have, the inevitable challenges we face in daily life would have done us all in long ago––as in millenniums ago.
Some of us seem to naturally have more resilience “at the ready” than others. When it comes to handling upsets, some of us are significantly more agile, more flexible, more creative, and more resourceful. We are able to navigate life’s challenges with more poise, more power, and more grace.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Good questions to ask are: “How come this is so? What are some of us doing that gives us these distinct advantages? And what can the rest of us do to emulate these resilient-ready individuals and thereby partake of these desirable advantages?”
Some Quick Answers
The degree of resilience-readiness we have at any given moment is a function of how well-practiced we are at meeting challenges. The more challenges we meet successfully, the more confident we become that we can meet the next challenge to come along. We profit from knowing experientially (far more than knowing cognitively) that we’re good at meeting challenges.
The best way to practice meeting challenges is to choose small ones, ones that are within our control and that stretch us in attainable and desirable ways. This is akin to “reaching for low-hanging fruit.”
The Principle of Low-Hanging Fruit
Because your body takes the same amount of nourishment from a ripe apple you pick from a low branch, in easy reach, as it does from a ripe apple picked from a high branch, way out of reach near the top of the tree, it makes a lot of sense to harvest the easy apples first. Yes?
Similarly, in terms of meeting other kinds of challenges, it also pays to choose small ones first. Successfully meeting a small challenge actually “tastes just as good” as meeting a big one. In both cases, achieving success gives your mind, body, and spirit an enjoyable lift.
This being the case, why not set yourself up to tackle small challenges first? If you take on a few daily practices that are focused on meeting meaningful small challenges, you can enjoy watching your successes add up quickly. And you can create changes that will be sustainable.
Daily Practice is the Key
The key to enhancing your resilience-readiness is to continuously accumulate hundreds of small successes. By “chunking things down” and choosing a small set of worthwhile challenges, you can “stack the deck” in your favor.
You get to choose which small challenges are most important to you, most compelling, most beneficial, and/or most rewarding. You are in control. And then you can make a commitment to yourself to set about intentionally practicing ways to better meet the very challenges you have wisely chosen to take on.
It is through sustained daily practice around meeting challenges, particularly small ones, that you develop your muscles––both literally and figuratively—as well as your creativity, your resourcefulness, and your resilience-readiness. There is no substitute for actually engaging in deliberate daily practice. Full engagement with what you are doing has way more power than just thinking about becoming engaged. In terms of fostering sustainable change, it’s all in the doing. It's all about practicing. It’s a matter of repeating a single worthwhile new experience until you come to know it "in your bones." There are no shortcuts.
––Milarepa, Tibetan Saint (1052-1135)
Once you understand the power of intentional daily practices, the next question is: “If you want to enhance your resilience-readiness, why is it a great idea to focus your efforts on tuning up the way you take care of yourself day-in and day-out?”
The answer to this question is on the next page.