Do you know the one trait that is absolutely essential to have in order to live a positive life?
Is it optimism? Gratitude? Friendliness? Generosity?
Maybe, but none of those qualities are what I want to talk about in this blog post.
In my opinion, this is the one trait that we all must have in order to live the most positive life possible:
The Life-Saving Power of Resilience
Why is resilience so important?
Resilience is defined as the ability to bounce back in the face of stress, adversity, or other traumatic events.
Or put another way, resilience is our ability to cope with life’s problems and setbacks.
This is a skill that is critical to master because all of us will experience some pretty horrific things in our lives. Actually, I’m sure that most people who are reading these words have experienced quite a bit of it already, haven’t we?
Not that you need me to tell you this, but living a life completely pain-free is impossible. This is why we need to master resilience.
If you want to see the power of resilience in action, here’s an example that one of our Solutionists recently shared on The Positivity Solution’s Facebook page:
Over the course of my life I have had a disproportionate number of horrific life experiences. Sexual molestation as a child from various people at different times, verbal and physical abuse, abandonment, bullying, death of a husband and worse things I won’t mention. Anyone of these things gives me cause to be fearful, filled with hate, lack of hope, bitterness, self-pity, lack of confidence and self-loathing. But I ain’t having it. The only life I know for a fact that I am guaranteed is the one I am living now and I’ll be damned if I’ll let my past experiences dictate how I conduct myself in the world or steal my joy.”
These are the words of a very resilient woman.
Besides being a Solutionist, more importantly, this woman is a personal friend of mine. She isn’t putting on some sort of act either–she is one of the nicest, most thoughtful, and most joyful people you could ever hope to meet.
As you can tell from her words, she has gone through more personal hells than most people reading this could even imagine, myself included.
So, how does she (and many others like her) find the power to stay joyful after going through hell after hell, while other people act like the world is going to end because they got a flat tire, their dinner order at the restaurant was prepared incorrectly, or their favorite Dancing with the Stars contestant got voted off?
The Only Difference Between Winners and Losers
This quote is absolutely life-changing if you fully grasp the wisdom of it:
“The only difference between winners and losers is how they react to losing.”
Think about that for a minute.
Losing is a part of life. People get hurt, sick, and fail more often than they may succeed. Very bad things happen to some exceptionally good people.
There is nothing positive about ignoring these truths. These things can, and most likely will, happen to all of us.
This is why resiliency is so important.
The difference between wallowing in a negative situation for much longer than necessary, or looking at the same negative situation and saying, “this sucks right now, but I’m going to make this better” comes down to one word: Resiliency.
People who lack resiliency will get their heart broken in devastating fashion, and then spend the rest of their lives building a wall around their hearts (which unsurprisingly, keeps out some amazing people too) because they can’t handle the thought of having their hearts broken again.
People who lack resiliency will fail at something, and then take their ball and sit on the sidelines of life, refusing to try again.
People who lack resiliency will have their trust betrayed, and then vow to never trust anyone again.
To me, this is the saddest way to live life.
Unless you live in a cave and have absolutely no contact with the outside world, you will have your heart broken eventually. You will fail at something eventually. You will have your trust betrayed eventually. These are all very real aspects of choosing to live our lives.
However, if we don’t develop the mental toughness to bounce back from those things when they do happen, we could end up looking back on our lives with deep regret about missing out on the best of what life has to offer:
- Potentially soul-nourishing love that never happened because we were too busy hiding behind our self-made walls.
- Projects that could have been wildly successful, but were never started.
- Friendships that slowly faded away because we were unwilling to trust other people.
No one on their deathbed says as their final piece of wisdom, “Put a wall around your heart, don’t try, and trust no one.”
But strangely, many people who are alive and well follow those soul-destroying pieces of advice, when instead, they should be focusing on doing something that is much more meaningful:
There are tons of tips and tricks to help you build more resiliency, but below are the two tips that have worked the best for me:
1. Don’t Allow Isolated Incidents to Shape Your Reality
For example, I know many people who have suffered through a few bad romantic relationships and then make blanket statements like, “All men are scumbags” or “All women are gold-diggers.”
Let’s be real. All men aren’t scumbags and all women aren’t gold-diggers, are they?
Interestingly enough though, if that’s what you choose to focus on, the universe will bring you lots of evidence to prove that you’re right. The opposite is true too.
Before I met my wife, I was in a soul-destroying relationship that nearly broke my spirit in every way imaginable.
After I gathered my remaining shreds of dignity and self-respect by leaving that toxic relationship, it would have been very easy for me to start building up a wall to prevent that pain from ever happening again.
Thank God I didn’t go down that route.
I chose resilience instead.
I kept saying to myself, “my relationship with my ex may have been unbearable, but I refuse to let my experience with her to keep me from finding happiness with someone else.”
Today, I look back at 7 years of a happy marriage and the life-altering love of our two beautiful daughters and know that none of it would have been possible if I allowed myself to build that wall.
Don’t give the bad experiences from your past the power to shape your future.
Choose resiliency instead.
2. View Challenges as Opportunities
When I think of all of the things that my friend (who I mentioned earlier in this post) has dealt with in her life, it’s hard to imagine how anyone could walk away from all of that without being a horribly negative and bitter person.
But surprisingly, she’s the complete opposite of that.
She looks at every challenge in her life as a lesson that she can use to make herself into a better person. And yes, that is definitely a skill all of us can learn.
I’m actually blessed to know quite a few people who are just like her.
Besides amazing resiliency, the one thing that these people all have in common is that they believe that every negative incident is a temporary challenge that will eventually pass. Better than that, instead of wallowing in self-pity and negativity, they use those setbacks to make them into wiser, stronger, and better people.
In other words, resilient people make the life-altering choice to be the hero in their own stories, rather than powerless “extras” who won’t even appear in the credits of their own stories when their lives come to an end.
Like I said before, bad things will happen to all of us.
The only question is if we’ll look at these things as challenges that we can learn from, or disasters that will break us.
This is the difference between being a winner or a loser.
Saving Lives, For Real
If you’re reading this and thinking, “yeah, well I’ve been hurt too many times. I’m going to keep my wall up, thanks.”
That’s cool with me. If it’s working for you, who I am to tell you otherwise?
This blog post isn’t for those people anyway.
It’s for the people who want more out of their lives than building walls, standing on the sidelines, and running away from pain instead of facing it.
Resiliency is the key to rising above all of that.
I firmly believe that we’re not on this earth to run from as much pain as we can until we finally die.
We’re here to connect with people deeply, risk failure as we fight for our dreams, and create true lasting happiness for ourselves and loved ones.
And yes, it will hurt along the way. Count on it.
The only way to avoid pain completely is to choose to not live fully.
That’s why resiliency is so important.
We only get one shot at this life. Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us.
We have to live fully.
That’s why it is no exaggeration to say that resiliency is a life-saving skill.
We’re all so much stronger than we believe we are, and our resilience is the proof of it.
Now it’s time for us to show it.
Do you believe that resiliency is an important skill to master? Do you consider yourself to be resilient? Jump into the comments below and make your voice heard!