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How To Stay Resilient In The Face Of Adversity

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How To Stay Resilient In The Face Of Adversity

The average person would rather be comfortable than be challenged. They have big dreams and big wishes, but are reluctant to sacrifice their comfort in order to make those dreams come true.

They might put in a little effort here and there, but when they’re faced with an obstacle, a setback, or a challenging situation, they pull back instead of push forward. Consequently, their dreams remain dreams, and their reality remains unchanged.

Resilience is required for success

Resilience is an essential quality to succeeding in any industry or endeavor. For every goal that you have, there are likely thousands of other people who have that same goal. Do you want your music to be played on the radio? Great. Thousands of other artists are also trying to get their music played on the radio as well. Is your goal to become a professional speaker? Great. Thousands of others are also trying to succeed as professional speakers. Is your goal to become a professional athlete? Fantastic. So are thousands of other people. The point is that no matter what you do, you will have competition. Often it is those who are the most resilient who surpass their competition and achieve their goals.

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

Don’t let challenges stop you from moving forward

So what is resilience? Resilience is your ability to keep moving forward in spite of challenges, rejection, setbacks, obstacles, and disappointments. Resilience is your ability to maintain a positive attitude and remain optimistic when you have every reason not to be. Resilience means you don’t give up on your goals when they become difficult to achieve (and the bigger the goal, the greater the difficulty). Successful people are resilient. The average person is not.

The way to become more resilient is to have strong internal motivators. Motivators are reasons why you want to accomplish what you have set out to accomplish. Most people who say they want something –a new house, a luxury car, or a promotion, for example – are not clear on why they want it. Because they’re not clear, and because worthwhile goals are seldom achieved easily, they are unable to convince themselves why they should persist when the journey becomes difficult.

“Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn

Take control of the thoughts in your mind

Successful people understand the power of the mind. They know that when we are faced with a challenge, our mind demands an explanation. The human mind is hardwired to protect the body from harm and discomfort. This is why we instinctively pull our arm back when we touch a hot stove or cover our face when someone unexpectedly throws a ball at us. Our instincts tell us to protect ourselves.

Unfortunately those instincts can work against us when we are facing challenges. Challenges make us uncomfortable, which triggers our mind’s desire to avoid that discomfort. Unless we have a clear explanation for our discomfort (a motivator or a reason why), our mind will try to convince us to quit so that we can go back to being comfortable.

 

What's-your-why-
 

Comfort is the enemy of success

Whether your goal is to buy a house, become a professional athlete, earn a promotion, start a business, become financially free, raise a family, or perhaps finish a university degree, you will undoubtedly experience setbacks, roadblocks, detours, and obstacles along the way. You must be prepared for the challenges that will come your way.

No one becomes successful because they find an easy path. They become successful because they decide what they want, they go after it, and when obstacles arise they don’t quit or change directions. They find a way to overcome those obstacles and keep going. In order to master your craft and become one of the best in your field, you must be prepared to endure challenges. You must be resilient.

How has being resilient helped you succeed?

Life

What Les Misérables Taught Me About Our Values

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Who am I? The ultimate question many of us try to answer. When I think of values, I think of Victor Hugo’s 1862 book, “Les’ Miserables”. In Hugo’s book, Jean Valjean, is used as a protagonist to highlight the power in redemptive love and compassion. Valjean goes into prison for stealing a loaf of bread, entering as a simple and decent man. His time in jail seems to have an unrepairable effect, where he emerges from the chain gang as a tough, bitter criminal who hates society for what it has done to him. (more…)

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7 Ways You Can Increase Your Concentration Right Away

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In today’s world, an overabundance of information and a large number of distractions is making it increasingly difficult to concentrate on performing the necessary tasks. In this article, I propose 7 simple methods that will train your ability to concentrate, while not taking you from your usual activities. (more…)

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5 Simple Hacks to Help You Develop the Habit That Will Transform Your Life

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It’s excruciating when we know what’s killing us but we can’t do anything about it because as you know, it is not easy to pull the brake on a high way. According to Napoleon Hill, “remember this always – the best (and one might say the only) way in which old habits may be removed is to form new habits to counteract and replace the undesirable ones”. (more…)

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Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?

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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

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