16 Ways To Hone Resilient Thinking
 

“It’s precisely in times of immunity from care that the soul should toughen itself beforehand for occasions of greater stress…
if you would not have a man flinch when the crisis comes, train him before it comes.

– Seneca

Why resilience?
The traditional definition of resilience usually refers to psychological strength and our capacity to best cope with stress and hardship. It is our ability to harvest a mental reservoir of strength that we can call upon in time of need. Psychologist believe that more resilient we are as individuals the we better to handle adversity and rebuild our lives after a tragedy or catastrophe.

I’d like to extend the definition further to include our physical resilience – our ability to harvest and maintain our physical strength and health reservoir. An abundant health and energy resource that we have ‘on tap’ all day everyday, plus at those critical times when we fall ill, require surgery, have an accident, or to offset age-related frailty as long as possible.

I’m going to take it one step further, and continue to expand the concept of resilience and propose that it’s actually through our methodology of building our physical strength, and investing in our health everyday, that is, in fact, where lies our best opportunities to ‘work-on’ and build our mental or psychological resilience.

Buddha reckons…’What We Think We Become’
Following this sage advice then, we should take great care in ‘thinking more effectively’. I argue that if we are not physically as fit, strong and as healthy as possible, then our innate awareness, capacity, want and motivation to build our psychological strength will always be an ongoing struggle.
Mindfulness, reflection, quietude, meditation, active meditation are essential daily-tools to both reduce stress and the noise in our heads, whilst developing and maintaining our resilience.
Practicing these daily-tools would be the last thing we’d want to do if we are constantly distracted, fatigued, stressed, under-nourished or under the influence.

Given that up 50% of our thinking, habits and behaviours habits are non or subconscious, then it makes sense that our resilience building process should take a two-pronged approach.
We need to:
1. Consciously practice everyday improving and protecting our thoughts, thinking and internal narrative – to reduce the impact of stress, whilst working to improve our habits that improve our emotional wellbeing, whilst identifying and reducing our destructive impulsive and compulsive behaviours. It’s our ability to install a calmer, more observant mind that will provides us that much needed ‘gap’ between the unregulated stimulus we receive, and how, & if, we respond to it.

2. Taking better care of ourselves via the ‘mechanics’ of our lifestyle – such as optimal sleep and nutrition, exercise, play and doing things that gives you joy, whilst honing our physical strength…these life essentials cannot be an afterthought.

In this post I will be focused primarily on the first point – offering practical solutions to weaponising our cognitive response, or just as importantly, weaponising our ability not to respond.

Mastering this process is, and will be, a lifes-work-in-progress, but the process alone will have the profound impact on ones ability to harvest the required resilience to best cope, and bounce-back from, the hurdles we encounter not only everyday, but those unwanted surprises, the tragedies, scary diagnosis or unexpected catastrophes that life throws at us.

Let’s go…and in no particular order

Practice Mastering Discipline
Discipline is a habit.
Discipline does not mean control. Discipline means having the sense to do exactly what is needed.
As Sadhguru says “unless you do the right things, right things will not happen to you.”
Doing the right thing requires discipline.
Daily discipline and deliberate practice is the price you pay to improve your future self – consistency is the mother of mastery.
‘I fear not the man who has practiced ten thousand kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick ten thousand times’. – Bruce Lee
🔥Tip: Work out what you want, then apply disciplined-consistant-practice

Stop Caring What Other People Think
True tranquility arrives when you stop caring what they say, or think, or do…and doing and caring only what is in your sphere of choice.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned, and something that I remind myself to remember everyday is focusing only what is in my sphere of choice. This action alone creates laser like focus on the life-essentials, whilst honing your ability to ignore, deflect and refuse to be distracted by the barrage of ‘external noise’ that collides with our psyche all day everyday.  

“I’m constantly amazed by how easily we love ourselves above all others, yet we put more stock in the opinions of others than in our own estimation of self…How much credence we give to the opinions our peers have of us and how little to our very own!” -Marcus Aurelius
🔥Tip: Cut down your exposure to social media 

Practice Spending Zero-Percent of your Energy on Things That Don’t Matter 
“I’m too busy” and “I didn’t have time” are probably the two most common explanations / excuses when someone cannot or will not full-fill their commitments to their wellbeing responsibilities.
The greatest drain on our capacity to develop our resilience is wasting our time and being distracted. We need to remind ourselves everyday of what we truly need.
One of the most difficult lessons to learn: Your most persistent distraction will seem justified to you
🔥Tip: Practice being not-distracted – E.g. remind yourself to resist looking at your phone for the first 60-90 minutes of the day, and the hour before going to bed.

Be Brave Enough to Suck at Something New
All of us, and I mean all of us are guilty of retreating to, and relying upon, our own personal comfort zones.
As I’ve eluded to in past posts ‘learning new stuff is hard.’
But if we start to challenge our fixed narrative and change the terminology around our challenges, then I believe we’d be more inclined to embrace new challenges, rather than shying away from them because our brain tells us so.
Get adventurous.
And know & accept, from the get-go, that you’re are going to truly suck.
If we embrace the suck-concept from the very beginning I can guarantee you that your psychological approach will have fundamentally shifted from one being embarrassed, shy and unmotivated – to being carefree and joyful. 

[A personal example: I knew from the very start, due my my own learning difficulties growing up, that I would really, really suck at writing a blog. It took me ages & ages to press ‘send’ on my very first article. For me, the best way to ‘get-over-it’ was to be self-deprecating and expose my own weaknesses through (attempted) humour. I still think I suck at writing, but I know the only way to improve is to keep practicing. It’s got to the point now after all these months, I’m so enthusiastically-content with my writing routine commitment, that I get great pleasure knowing I suck-a-little-less as each week passes…that makes me both happy & driven to continue…there would be no other reason why I’d be sitting at my desk everydayat 4am typing away and listening to the birds slowly wake up #bliss]

The reality is, when we fail, is when we have the best opportunity to learn and grow…the more you fail, the better you fail…and then soon you’ll be gooderer. [<—attempted joke]
Change the narrative from ‘failure’ to ‘learning’. 

‘Do not despise the bottom rungs in the ascent to greatness’ – Publilius Syrus
🔥Tip: When it comes to ‘new-stuff’…have a plan, work out what ‘it’ is, then break it down into (very) small steps…don’t obsess about timing. This applies also to exercise, training, eating better, sleeping better etc. Prioritise education over entertainment.

Do The Best You Can, By Building Better Habits
Always exceed your own expectations and you will achieve the unimaginable.
New goals don’t deliver new results. New lifestyles do. And a lifestyle is not an outcome, it is a process. For this reason, all of your energy should go into building better habits, not chasing better results.
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – R. Waldo Emerson
🔥Tip: Engage with your intention – soberly nurture your vision daily. Dedicate some personal quiet time alone – either walking or sitting still…being in nature, or by the coast seems to always free-up my imagination.
 

Stop Complaining
You complaining is a reflection on you and your ability, or lack thereof, to respond properly to problem or issue at hand. The question should be ‘why am I responding this way’, ‘why am I allowing this external stimulus to rob me of my state of mind’.
We’re not saints, we’ll lose our temper & get frustrated, it’s normal – but we must alert ourselves & practice getting over ‘it’ quickly. Don’t allow the ego to stew on it and blow it out of proportion.  
Also complaining is a monumental waste of time and energy.
🔥Tip: Be responsible – own your mistakes. When invariably we do lose it, ask yourself the question “does this really matter?” “Does this have any impact on anything in my sphere of choice?”
 

Be Fearless
Face the most difficult task head-on, face on…the very difficulty of it means you must.
Reject being incapable, and don’t be pushed around by your problems.
Purposefully pursue solutions, seek, search and be diligent in your efforts to overcome obstacles.
“When one admits to their fear, their finitude, a confidence can be reborn from their vulnerability. Being alive is a risk. Few beings are.” Anne Dufourmantelle
🔥TIp: Always do the most challenging task of the day first – get it out the way.
 

Be Empathetic 
Perspective from another person’s position or situation will enable you to weaponise your best-decision making ability. Empathy is one of the best tools to use when you’re dealing with someone who’s being a pain in the arse – it deflates your own ego’s attack mechanism, and you walk away (mostly) unaffected.

I also like Humble the Poet’s advice ‘people react dramatically differently to things. Don’t ever feel obligated to feel what others feel’. 
🔥Tip: Acknowledge the persons feelings, ask questions. 
 

Find Purpose
Purpose and realism will trump ‘passion and vision’. Just as my writing discipline became a joyful habit…passion for your purpose is most often matured via repeated deliberate action.
“Don’t aim at success – the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue…as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a course greater than oneself” – Viktor Frankl
🔥Tip: Explore the Things You Love To Do
 

Assume a Position of Responsibility
To assume means to seize, take or begin to have power or responsibility.
As Robin Sharma quite rightly says, “don’t tell me your priorities, just show me your schedule, I’ll figure out your priorities from that.” Your daily activities and habits will reflect your priorities…and it is these priorities that will dictate your life-trajectory.
“Responsibility” means being “Response-Abled”…and that’s resilience in a nut-shell
If you want the power to be more content, fit, healthy, ‘successful’, fulfilled etc you need to assume the responsibility of your daily actions to make that happen. Taking responsibility means relieving yourself of blame and being inactive.
To assume that power is to resolve your fixed mindset, poor habit choices, to break the cycles of self-sabotage and to initiate the process of seizing back your innate potentiality.
Responsibility is accepting everything in your life now.
Forgiveness is accepting everything that has gone in the past, and… 
Resilience is being fearless about your future.
🔥Tip: Edit your life frequently & ruthlessly. Simplify, reduce the distractions, and practice being disciplined to the macros of your life.
 

Work Everyday On Giving Up The Habits That Are making You Sick, Tired & Distracted
Ask yourself ‘what am I tolerating?
It’s mostly our subconscious behaviours that determine our day to day outcomes – and thus, our futureself trajectory. This automatic behaviour blueprint has been bespoke-crafted by none-other than you over the previous years and decades.
And it’s here that we need to begin the audit process, and observe these behaviours to see what is and what is not detrimental to your mental and physical wellbeing.
It’s a challenging and tricky process, because as humans, we can tend to be a little stubborn to the idea of challenging-change from within, especially the older we get, we adore homeostasis…our ancestral brains are ‘geared’ to maintaining the status quo…yet it could be this status quo that is actually either ‘holding you back’ or making you sick, tired and distracted.
🔥Tip: Know your cues…habits have three parts: a cue, a routine and a reward. If we can isolate the cue, we can take steps to identify ways to initiate new routines and adjust our environment to curve our habits for the better.
 

Assert Yourself
Be prepared, and understand that not everyone is going to like or accept the betterment changes you are wanting to pursuing.
Ironically, the first person to resist, whether you’re aware of it or not, will be YOU.
And that’s the key…being mindful to seek and observe your thoughts and actions, and actively corral them whilst, reconfiguring your immediate environment, that further supports your efforts, rather than diminish them.
Resistance to change also comes from your love ones, friends and work-peers. Often the resistance comes in the subtle form of temptation, or distraction, or via emotional coercion or threat of rejection…including lazy backhanded minor insults like ‘you’re no fun’ are both common and highly effective at kiboshing your intentions.
Don’t become a victim to behaviours that you have inadvertently consented to, and stand up for your own self worth. And, as Charles Bukowski said, ‘ if you really want to know who your friends are, get yourself a jail sentence.’ 
🔥Tip: Value Yourself and Your Rights. Journaling everyday provides the perfect opportunity to reflect, audit and create self-accountability through repetitive self-reiteration. This is how we remember.
 

Remember There is Only One Constant, and That is Change…Be Adaptable
Circumstances are always changing
People are always changing
We are always changing
Your ability to adjust to change is determined by your understanding of the process at hand. Resist determining that ‘the goal’ is the end-point. There is no end-point or goal, only the process that continually moves you forward.
“Self-improvement comes from self-awareness and knowing what part of you need to be fed, and what parts need to be starved” – Humble the Poet
🔥Tip: Commit to time and repetition – adapting to change requires the effort of time, repetition & patience. 

Stay Committed
You’ve had the initiative to start, you’re a self-starter…now close the deal. Keep that internal dialogue of yours in check and don’t allow it to bury your ambitions. Protect your habits and thinking by being mindful of external distractions that can void your ability to stay on course.
‘We must apply.
Being willing is not enough.
We must do.’
– Leonardo Da Vinci

🔥Tip: Always measure your progress, and be mindful that your self-rewarding is not in fact self-sabotage.
 

Quantify Results By The Enthusiastic Commitment You Exhibit
This is not only self-perpetuating and self-motivating, but also wonderfully contagious to others. Flagrant joyful commitment will see new resources and opportunities open and unfold in front of you by default. 
🔥Tip: Commit your vision further by enthusiastically telling others about it.

Do It
Never ever wait for that perfect moment. Don’t allow excruciating fear, worry, anxiety or the pursuit of perfection to interfere with progress…just press ‘send’ FFS
Don’t be wishing in a year from now that you hadn’t started today.
‘The beginning is the most important part of the work’ said Plato. 
🔥Tip: Wake up an hour earlier and do the hardest task of the day first…4am is good a time 😁

FIN…

We have to be realistic and EXPECT that things will invariably go pear-shape. From the minor unavoidable day to day fracas, to the steady-state stress and worry of modern life, such as the domestic, social, economical and political impact of COVID:19 and climate change, through to unforeseen tragic events and a challenging diagnosis…this is life.

For me, the pursuit of resilience is an act of not only practical self-preservation, but also of self-kindness. The more we can actively embrace the concept of resilience, the more we can enact the Most Effective Tactics Available (M.E.T.A.) to us – when we embrace, learn and practice these tactics, it will become increasingly more difficult to blindly ignore what is both ‘good for us’, whilst we become less tolerant to our own thinking and doing that compromises our resilient-self-potentiality.
 
Pursuing resilience isn’t a sacrifice, it’s a pursuit of living your life optimally.
Doing so allows you the benefit of living in the here and now, whilst honing practical-preparedness for when the tough times arrive….because they always will.

………………………………………
 
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If you have any questions regarding the M.E.T.A. to optimising your mindset, sleep, habits, exercise, nutrition and strength training – do not hesitate to email me or call 0435 264 307

Till next time

Luke