Boost Your Resilience: 4 Techniques for Personal Development

Dec 08, 2023

If you are going to achieve anything in life you will first need to fail.

Mistakes and missteps are a prerequisite to learning.

They are also embarrassing, difficult and downright painful. There is little wonder why, most of the time, we humans choose not to try at all. No judgment, it's human nature.

But what if there were ways to make failure more tolerable? It is possible to develop a mindset that allows us to get up from being knocked down. When we cultivate this mindset we can even find some level of enjoyment in the difficult challenges we face.

It's possible, but it requires the skill of resilience. There are four major considerations for boosting your ability to rise after taking a fall.

Develop a support system

1. Recruit a strong support system of friends, family, or mentors who provide emotional support.

These are the people who encourage you and support you in your endeavors. These individuals know how to simultaneously make you feel safe while forcing you to push beyond what you are completely comfortable with.

The right kind of friend is always going to bring out the best in you.

They allow you to express your emotions fully without judgment.

They say things like, "It is good that you are feeling these emotions. It means this matters. I know it sucks and I think it is important to be able to vent. And don't forget I am here for you if you need me."

These are the friends that show up even when you are unable to show up for yourself.

They will not allow you to get stuck in the victim mindset.

They will gently and lovingly remind you that emotions are meant to be felt, not lived. They will be there to feel the feels with you, but they will also insist you get back out there and attack your goals.

They hold you to a standard.

If you don't have this group of people in your life, it is time to recruit them. If a partner, parent, sibling or friend makes you doubt yourself or is not there to pick you up emotionally when you're scared, then you need to either coach them up or choose someone else to lean on emotionally.

Practice Self-Care

2. Practice self-care by engaging in activities that promote relaxation and reduce stress.

Chasing dreams takes energy and focus.

It is the mishaps, mess ups and missed opportunities that teach the greatest lessons. If you are going to be able to weather life's storms, you need to know how to handle, control and reduce stress.

Adequate sleep, meditation, naps, and chill time are just as important as proper nutrition, physical activity, and grinding for long hours.

Learn to push hard and rest hard.

"push until you can't rest until you can"

Work and rest are not opposites, they are synergists. The harder you work the more you will require rest. The more you rest the greater capacity you will have for putting in the work.

This is especially important when developing the power of resolve and resilience.

Decades ago in my work as a personal trainer I developed a workout system called Rest-Based Training. It is a system of exercise that individualized workout intensity by teaching people that rest, nit work was the goal. The mantra in this style of training is "push until you can't rest until you can."

This is not just an amazing strategy with exercise, it is the perfect life hack to cultivate resilience.

Cultivate A Positive Mindset

3. Cultivate a positive growth mindset by reframing challenges as opportunities for growth.

There are two ways to look at traumas, trials, and tribulations— the victim mindset and the growth mindset.

All humans suffer, but only some individuals grow from that suffering. The victim mindset gets caught up in blaming, complaining, whimpering, whining, distracting, and/or denying. The growth mindset feels the feels but simultaneously looks for the silver lining and the lessons.

There is no learning without challenge and no growth without learning.

To develop resilience don't think "This will be hard or scary." Instead, think "This will be challenging, instructive, and even exciting." Try to remember, that no one ever became less fearful by avoiding their fears

Nothing is easy in the beginning. Easy is earned.

Imagine you want to be a world-class piano player. You will never achieve that if all you ever do is play Chopsticks. To be the best you must play Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin. That will require a thousand mistakes (read growth opportunities) on your way to being the best.

The lessons are there, but only if you are able to see them for that.

Consider The Worst Case Scenario

4. Think about what the worst-case outcomes could be so you are prepared for anything.

People say leap and the net will appear.

The problem is that most often it won't. People know this and that is why they never leap. You should not leap until you have thoroughly considered the potential negative consequences.

The stoics call this Premeditatio malorum, "the premeditation of evils."

It's not "leap and the net will appear," it's "leap and weave the net as you fall"

It is about considering the absolute worst-case scenarios. Understanding how bad it can be helps you understand the mindset of what may be required. The worst case rarely occurs, but preparing for it not only gets you mentally ready, it also makes success more likely.

A best-case, positive mindset is critical, but it should be balanced by an awareness of the potential catastrophic downsides.

It's not "leap and the net will appear" (the toxic positivity, naive mindset), it's "leap and weave the net as you fall" (the sober, hopeful, and realistic mindset). There is no predicting or knowing for sure where you are going to end up until you take the first step.

The skill of resilience requires you to live, work, and figure your way into the answer.

The more you cultivate this way of living the more wisdom, confidence and competence you develop. 

Want more help on building resilience? Check out our podcast

Navigating Life's Storms: Practical Strategies for Overcoming Difficult Times (Episode 244 of The Next Level Human Podcast)


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