Holiday greetings from Resilience Alliance! As this year draws to a close, the world continues to remind us that we will always have opportunities to practice and apply our resilience. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this. When people speak about resilience, they often focus on what happens after we encounter adversity. However, I think it’s useful to focus on what happens beforehand as well. Here are three things I invite you to think about as you gather your energy to move into 2016:
- You can use small challenges as a “resilience gym” to strengthen your change muscles for the larger challenges. Each of the elements of resilience can be developed; as we exercise them over time, we begin to rewire our brains so we more naturally respond in useful, calm, productive ways to the challenges we face. For example, building a practice of gratitude—taking time each day to be thankful for something we appreciate—can make it easier for us to spot the bright, good, hopeful things around us.
- You can take steps to avoid adversity in the first place. You’ve probably noticed that some people seem to encounter an awful lot of trouble. While some of it is bad luck, some of it is self-inflicted. For example, situational awareness—paying attention to what is around you—often enables you to spot potential threats (people, vehicles, dangerous situations) and avoid them. If you are daydreaming, emailing, or otherwise focusing on other things, you are more likely to run into a wall. One of the chapters in the book I’m working on summarizes ways to avoid adversity. If you’d like an advance copy, click here.
- Together we can build a more resilient world. Resilience doesn’t just operate at the individual level. Societies can be more or less resilient as a function of their leadership, their guiding vision, and their culture. For example, one of the characteristics of resilience is “Flexible Thoughts,” which includes the ability to think in “both-and” terms rather than “either-or” terms. As I think about the American political landscape, I see the need to strengthen this characteristic so we can move from polarization to synergy, drawing on and integrating the strengths of each viewpoint to create new possibilities.
There’s so much more I would love to say—but for now I will wish you a happy and resilient year ahead. I’m hoping to do more blogging and writing in 2016, and would really enjoy hearing from you.
My best to you,
Linda and the team at Resilience Alliance