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The ability to acknowledge your situation and balance optimism with realism.
"You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be." - Stockdale.
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Psychological resilience is not about fake positivity and takes its power from our negative feelings. It makes our anger, sadness, failure and self-loathing into something useful and productive.
When we become sufficiently resilient, we are unstoppable and limitless.
Our focus on the self has made us fearful and overwhelmed, especially in times of crisis. Part of our anxiety is the constant focus on oneself. Even if we do focus on others, it is only to judge them about how they feel about us, and what they think about us.
If instead of our inner selfishness, we find a greater cause to endure the crisis or risk, some deeper purpose or mission that eclipses our ego, then the crisis is taken care of.
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Reflecting on apparent contradictions can break down our assumptions and offer us new ways of looking at problems.
Psychiatrist Albert Rothenberg noted that each revolutionary thinker had spent time actively thinking of multiple opposites simultaneously. For example, Einstein considered how an object could be both at rest and moving depending on the position of the observer. This led to his relativity theory.
Studies have shown that "paradoxical cognition" can help average thinkers to solve everyday problems.
Researchers demonstrated that people that have to reflect on apparently paradoxical goals, such as minimizing costs and maximizing innovation, are more creative than those who only consider one goal or the other.
Optimism and pessimism go hand in hand. In finance, we are told to save like a pessimist and invest like an optimist. The short term is full of setbacks, problems, breakages, depressions, pandemics, errors, but if you can stick around long enough, you can experience long-term growth.
The long-run is usually rather good and the short run is normally quite bad. In reconciling the two, we learn how to manage both.