Yesterday, in part one of this article, we talked about resilience being the single most important factor to your success. There is one single component to overall success, no matter what the genre, resilience. Without resilience, none of the other characteristics common to success would sustain under the pressure and stress of everyday life.
It’s these stressors that cause us to lose our drive, desire, motivation and so forth. It’s our resilience, our ability to bounce back after adversity that allows us to sustain and be successful. Resilience allows us to pick ourselves up off the ground when we get knocked down by life. Without this resilience, we just can’t seem to find that resolve to get back up and fight forward another day – maintaining that constant push forward to reaching our dreams.
At the end of part one, we were left with the question, is our resilience given to us through our genetic links, or is it developed through our relationships and life experiences – this is the common debate of nature versus nurture. Are we born to be successful or are we developed to be successful? In short answer, both nature (our genetics) and nurture (our environment) play a role in the development of our resilience.
Psychologists have long agreed that a person’s protective factors, which are influences that modify a person’s response to environmental stressors, greatly contribute to a person’s resilience. These protective factors are comprised of many things, both environmental (family environment and parental warmth) and psychological factors (intelligence, self-esteem, temperament). Some of these factors come to us early in life and some are even genetically within us from birth – some people are just born with stronger resilience than others. So the question begs, if we didn’t already have strong resilience genetically gifted to us nor was it developed in our childhood, can we develop it later in life as adults?
The short answer is yes.
Mark Divine lists five key elements to developing this resilience in his book which was mentioned in part one. They are, Desire: you must have a desire for the outcome – an “I will have it” attitude. This is so much stronger than the simple, “I want” something. Belief: you must deeply believe in your purpose and yourself. Attitude: you have to have a “positive and can-do attitude.” You can’t be waivered by negativity and doubt. Discipline: in Divine’s words, “You must be willing to give up unnecessary attachments and commitments and put in the right amount of daily effort toward your goal.” Lastly, Determination: you must have an unwavering commitment to stay the course and never quit. Each of these characteristics can be developed throughout the life span, but they must be practiced every single day. The stronger these characteristics are within you, the stronger your resilience will be.
I think Divine’s five characteristics are a great tool and provide a roadmap to success in any domain. In fact, in my newest book Opposite Man – Surviving after Abuse and Breaking Free of Victim Stereotypes, I delve deeper into these characteristics and show you how you can develop a rock-solid mission statement for anything you are trying to accomplish.
Beyond the character traits Divine describes, there are two other key components to developing this unwavering inner resilience; they are Courage and positive Self-talk. One of the most important factors of success is overcoming your fears. Fear is what holds most people back in their lives. Overcoming your fear doesn’t mean becoming fearless, in fact there’s no such thing, we are all afraid at times. What makes the difference is what you do in the face of that fear. Overcoming your fear means working within the realm of fear and moving forward despite those fears – it’s developing Courage.
How do we combat these fears and develop courage? One great way is stress inoculation. Anyone who works in a stressful job (police officers, military, fighter pilots, firemen, etc.) is familiar with stress inoculation training. Especially relevant, it’s been scientifically proven that the more often you are subjected to stressful events, the better you can handle them. You are probably wondering how this applies to what we are talking about. Here’s the connection – you can overcome your fears and become more courageous by subjecting yourself to your fears. When something scares you, don’t run from it or avoid it, tackle it. The more often you do this the more you will believe in yourself and your own abilities to overcome your fears – the concept self-efficacy. You cannot let your fears hold you back in life; the safe life is not a fulfilling life. Teach yourself to fight through your fears, learn to be courageous, and you will unlock potential within yourself that you didn’t realize existed.
Another huge component to your success is modifying the conversations you have with yourself every single day. We all talk to ourselves, non-stop. What we probably don’t realize is how important this Self-Talk is. We constantly talk ourselves into things as well as out of things. These conversations affect our ability to manage stress. Seventy percent of what we say to ourselves is negative. If your spouse said negative things to you seventy percent of the time, we would call that emotional abuse – so why do we tolerate it from ourselves?
Have you ever paid close attention to the context of the conversations you are having with yourself? I have – and I notice, and I’m sure it’s true for all of us, that on the days I feel down and blah, that running dialog in my head is extremely negative. I also notice that once I consciously change this conversation to positive, I immediately feel better.
I have always said this; change the conversation you have with yourself on a daily basis and you will change your outcome – I guarantee it. You can’t be passive about this. You must be constantly aware of that running dialog in your head and when you notice it’s negative, you must immediately change it. Like changing a radio station from one genre of music to another, you can change the self-conversation from negative to positive.
We are surrounded by a world that thrives on negativity, but you can’t allow that negativity to control your mind, because it will certainly control your outcome. You must fight against negative external forces and fight against negative internal conversations. You can’t blossom while being surrounded by negativity.
If you want to be successful in life, regardless of the arena, you must figure out how to successfully navigate the ebbs and flows of life itself. If you’re constantly taking one step forward and being pushed two steps back, you will never attain your goals or dreams. You must dig deep and find that inner resilience that continues you on an upward trajectory despite life’s setbacks. Like a great fighter, be prepared to get knocked down in life, but have the resolve to get back up and fight another round – constantly pushing forward. The one common trait amongst all successful people lies within their resilience to fight forward no matter the terrain.
Learn more about developing this inner resilience in my newly published book, Opposite Man – Surviving after Abuse and Breaking Free of Victim Stereotypes. Within the pages of the book you will be given a step-by-step guide to living not only a truly fulfilling life, but a life of excellence. It doesn’t matter what challenges life throws at you, what matters is your response choices – that’s what determines your final outcome. For more information on developing the unwavering inner resilience, click HERE.