Don’t Under-rate Resilience

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Resilience refers to a person’s ability to recover from adversity, setbacks and failure… much as a pendulum returns to center after being swung to the side.

Like the pendulum, there may be some “swinging back and forth” before things settle down.

We tend to put emphasis on stability, in our lives. But stability comes in two forms.
Static Stability — remaining in the same place, physically or psychologically, even when a lot of external force are acting. Like a heavy boulder.
Dynamic stablility: A tendency to return to or near to an original position after being displaced. This is resilience.

More often than not, it is dynamic stability that we rely on to keep sane, safe, and happy. In fact static stability is rare, both in psychology and in physics. It is under-rated. Dynamic stability, or resilience is as good as it gets for living things. It is, in fact how we learn new things. After each movement away from the quiet norm, be settle back down, but not to the exact same starting position, but often to an even better one. All learning is like that: we stretch our minds and settle down bit wiser.

I want to make a little case for celebrating and encouraging resilience. Whether training ourselves or our children, we need to give ourselves a 2 pats on the back when we recover well and 1 when we remain unmoved; statically stable.

Much more often than not, resilience is a learned thing, not something engraved in our character. It can be cultivated. Eastern martial artists cultivate “bending, like reed, with the wind”. The stiff things tend to break. The yielding reed, bends but does not break.
By Stephen Tuell


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