Moments before my 4.5 hour train journey from Edinburgh to London last weekend, I picked up my usual copy of New Scientist. (Yes, I know I am a Risk Professional but all things Science especially Physics , Quantum Mechanics and anything to do with that mixed with Psychology has my instant attention.) As I was happily excited about another fascinating read, my eyes crossed Scientific American Mind Magazine. – Behaviour, Brain Science and Insights. What a bonus. On the front page, 6 Science tested tips for building you resilience. I had to grab it.
Charles Darwin said that ‘ It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change’. And well, he had it spot on. The theory of resilience and risk combined is ever fascinating, it is an area I always found intriguing and only the other day I was having a conversation with my brother about being resilient. It was almost like a sign to read this 10 page spread and relate back to how I feel from past experience that I can confidently say I am a resilient kind of person. Risk and Resilience go hand in hand and as this article very nicely put it, in a more relatable way is that . ‘ A resilient individual is not someone who avoids stress but someone who learns how to tame and master it.’ – Sound familiar? Is this you? Do share your stories, because life really is about learning , inspiring and adapting.
6 steps to boost resilience
1. Re-interpreting negative events: The magazine used an example of a student who spent a year abroad in Israel and one day stepped on a land mine and with an explosion lost his foot. Instead of hating the world and becoming depressed and going through the cycle of grief he founded a landmine survivors groups. The American psychological association states that a person may bend but not break and that’s where resilience is shown.
From a personal perspective, when I was in transit to spend my time in Toronto, I was stuck on a delayed flight in Amsterdam because of heavily snow fall and missed connecting flights. I noticed my face becoming droopy, eye watery and unable to taste and when it got really scary was when I took a sip of cola and it went right down my shirt. It turned out that I had suddenly got diagnosed with Bells Palsy (which would go away ) but was shocking, scary and negative to any one let alone a young 20 something going off to face the world in a different country . It was scary, and yes I am thankful I did not lose a limb and yes I had a half working face for a few months but I let those feelings come and then embrace them and enhance positive emotions which is step 2
2. Embrace Positive emotions: Use negative experience to interpret how you feel and how and what you can do and what you can do to experience less of the negativity. These steps all relate to risk resilience in business world. Albeit in a different context. Here I went out as normal and set out on the mission that I had intended to do so.
3. Accepting Challenges : This was challenging. When you suffer from Bells Palsy it is your face that gets affected and that is the first thing people see. However that did not stop me from socializing with my friends , despite a tiny inability to say certain words but the most accepting challenge I took on was to go for a job interview. I was proud of myself for taking the courage to do it. I didn’t take the job in the end, but I did get a second interview.
Another example that springs to mind was when I was job hunting for the longest time in a market where it was impossible. I accepted the challenge and decided to do something a little different to utilize and make the best out of the situation and to really be true to my passion. That’s one of the many reasons how RISKercize started.
4. Become Physically fit: Ok, so a lot of studies and research show the benefits of exercise and such but I have to admit, not something I take a crazy stance on. However, it does help and with my Bells Palsy experience, It wasn’t more about going out for a run, but to physically exercise those sections of my face which had temporarily froze. I got some exercise routines from my aunt who was a Physio
5. Maintain a close social network: Friends, Family, colleagues. – Success is never achieved alone. At the time of my BP I had that support, I joined a Facebook group initiated by a lady who had experienced the same thing alone and didn’t want others to face the same thing. Like the student who lost his foot and started his movement, this lady started a network support for those who were going through Bells Palsy. I cannot tell you how helpful that was to me. Even in my job search I had a good network of my parents and friends and network of professionals and that is truly what one needs to really build on resilience.
6. Imitating resilient role models. At that juncture in time I did not have that, however with the support group this was my life line so to say. When I was job hunting, I read a story of Sylvester Stallone’s struggle and how he had to steal money and his wife’s jewellery to pay the bills and what inspired him to write Rocky. At the face of many rejections he stood his ground , he even sold his dog,(Who he got back from homeless guy who both featured in the film), and how he was told he was too ‘ugly’ , yet never gave up and look where he is today.
Needless to say I did watch all the Rocky movies again back to back in a burst of inspiration but there we have it. The 6 steps. Very similar to the 10 steps the American Psychological Association suggests but in essence, whether we are looking to be resilient personally or in our business model. It all involves human interaction and being resilient and facing challenges and being able to look back at setbacks will help pave a more successful path.
We may not get it right the second time, but we will the third, if not then the fourth, if not that then well, let’s just say whether it is true or not, we all know the moral of 7up’s story.
RISKercizing until next time.