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Seven vital insights on being resilient

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With the World Health Organisation (WHO) predicting depression will be the number two global health problem by 2020 the need for resilience has never been stronger. International thought leader in resilience and mental toughness Jamie Ford sets down insights on the mind set of those who are resilient, mentally tough, and who thrive under pressure.

Live above the line
The resilient take ownership of thoughts, moods, emotions, and feelings. We live in a society where passing the buck for our emotions is deeply ingrained and normal. At work we want employees to take responsibility and be accountable, but oddly, we easily accept them blaming others for moods, emotions, and feelings that are a result of their own thought patterns.

Be the ventriloquist not the dummy
We all have an internal monologue but the resilient are carefully monitoring their self-talk so that these conversations are optimistic and resilient. Like ventriloquists, they control the dummy – themselves. Meanwhile the less resilient are dummies acting out the unconscious highly influential thoughts tumbling through their minds. 

Collect in the remote controls for your emotions
The resilient minded person stays in the world of adult thinking and is careful to restrict access to those remote controls to a small select group of loved ones and valued colleagues. When we blame someone for our emotions we hand them our emotional remote control and have gone into a world of childlike magical thinking.

In his second agreement, the Toltec Indian ‘Nagual” (wise man) Don Miguel Ruiz has this to say, “Don’t take anything personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” That’s resilience in action.

Maximise your power over factors that influence your emotions
Cognitive psychology now proves Eleanor Roosevelt’s belief that, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Those with a resilient mind set are careful about what they give consent to. Or as the inspiration behind Positive Psychology, Professor Martin Seligman, puts it, “It’s not what happens to you that matters. It’s what you think about what happens to you that matters.”

Put yourself at risk of succeeding
Edison said “I failed my way to success” and the resilient are strongly committed to tolerating the impact of failure and loss in their quest to maximise their potential and succeed. They simply perceive failure as a temporary state of affairs on the road to success. It’s a speed bump – not a landslide.

Get your emotions into reverse and your thinking into drive
As the science of advertising demonstrates we act on emotion. Sadly the outcome is frequently less than optimal and often diametrically opposed to what “reason” would achieve. High levels of resilience enable us to quickly damp down our emotional responses and engage in cool and calm thinking to the advantage of all concerned and for the benefit of our various enterprises.

Focus on flourishing more than coping
“Coping” is a weak and ineffective outcome – you have your nose above the water but sense the next ripple of adversity will take you under. Being resilient is about having a mindset that enables you to flourish even in the most adverse circumstances.

Written by Jamie Ford, facilitator of the upcoming Learning Resilience and Mental Toughness short course.


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