I recently heard someone describe resilience as the ability to resist the defective circumstances that shape our existence. I was immediately struck by the negativity of the words. First of all, the word “resist” doesn’t quite strike me as an appropriate way to describe one’s ability to accept and overcome life’s challenges. Besides, can we really say that defective life circumstances are inherent in our day to day? If anything, it is our emotions that have a tendency to become defective every now and then.
Don’t let fear get in the way
A few years ago, a friend of mine complained to me about her job. But to be honest, her position at the time was quite a good one. She had a competitive salary, stimulating work challenges and easy-going coworkers. Not to mention that her office was just 10 kilometres from her home. But deep down inside, an uncomfortable restlessness (or void) was beginning to build. So much so that she secretly dreamt of being laid off. And while struggling between the notions of accepting things the way they were or exploring her full potential, her company transferred a portion of its business abroad and she was made redundant.
How did she react? Well, like so many of us do when faced with the unknown, she panicked and sought refuge in anger and self-pity. Instead of embracing her newfound freedom, she let her anger towards her former employer for not having recognized her full potential fester. She began to interpret the purely administrative decision as an attack on her personal and professional skills; her confidence took a hit and her new journey was off to a bad start.
So who or what is to blame? Life? Or my friend’s reaction?
Emotions have the power to both create and destroy
Clearly, my friend’s particular circumstances were not defective in any way. In fact, she got exactly what she wanted. Her mistake was not having enough confidence in her own abilities. For the longest time, she let her fears influence her decisions and life delivered accordingly. But with time she learned to downplay her fears and to face them head on. Today, whenever a stepping-stone—life’s metaphor for opportunity—comes her way, she embraces it willingly, knowing that she has all the tools to cope with life, no matter what it holds for her.
Are you facing one of life’s stepping-stones or are you paralyzed by your fear of the unknown? Tell us how you plan on overcoming your fears.
FOR THOSE OF YOU WITH THE ATTITUDE ORANGE PLANNER, take the time to re-read your “Big Why?” (page 5) and identify the fears that are getting in the way of your objectives. This month, try to overcome at least one of your fears. We know you can do it!