I have been leading out a bunch of sessions lately on the topic of resiliency, particularly change resiliency. There is a quote in the materials that just does my head in: “Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from adversity, to overcome obstacles, to thrive, learn and grow.” My pedantic point is that you don’t bounce back. If you’re doing it right, you bounce forward. I think a better quote on the topic might be that of George Patton who argued that “I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs, but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.” Love that.
When I go down a philosophical rat hole, I find it useful to ground on the fundamentals – the dictionary definition:
1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
"the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions"*
2. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
"nylon is excellent in wearability, abrasion resistance and resilience"
* This must be Oxford, eh? I can’t see Meriam Webster referencing British institutions. And as a side bar, if you’re not following Meriam Webster on Twitter, you’re missing a daily delight, a tour de force of Trump trolling.
I know that for the purpose of change and wellbeing, I’m supposed to focus on the first definition. However, it’s the later that resonates for me. When I am not feeling resilient – when I am on the edge of completely losing my shit – the word that comes to mind is brittle; I feel like I’m on the edge of shattering into a lot of sharp, inflexible shards. Resiliency is about being stretchy and flexible, bending and reaching and reshaping. Yet, both definitions and the offending quote also failure to capture a key element for me which is advancement. To be truly able to adapt to change, you need to be able to move. The current state is done and over and you have to progress to a new future state and that requires not merely a change in yourself but a change in your location: mental, physical, emotional. MOVE people. Get off your ass and go.
“You can’t steer a boat that isn’t moving.” ~ Every sailor ever