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5 Ways to Build Resilience and Conquer Adversity

Psychological Resilience

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.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

5 Ways to Build Resilience and Conquer Adversity

5 Ways to Build Resilience and Conquer Adversity

https://markmanson.net/resilience

markmanson.net

7

Key Ideas

Making A Crisis Out Of Everything

Our diminishing resilience and decreasing psychological threshold of handling pain and struggle is, in turn, making everything look like a crisis.

We are making a catastrophe out of everything, getting offended at the drop of a hat, mostly for no legitimate reason other than our own ego-filled state of being.

Psychological Resilience

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.

Care For Someone Else

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.

What We Can Control

  • We cannot control most of the outside events and circumstances including our past, the weather, natural disasters or freak accidents.

  • We cannot control what other people say, think or feel about us.

  • What we can control is what we think, say or do. We can choose to react or not react. We suffer because we catastrophize the stuff that happens around us, unable to understand that the pain is unavoidable, but the suffering is avoidable. The day we stop that internal suffering, we become invincible.

Optimism And Pessimism

If we expect others to be rude, impolite, backstabbing and untrustworthy, they won't really surprise us. It somehow makes our day easier, if we know it in advance. We understand beforehand that life is going to be hard, but we will handle it and learn from it. This is inner optimism but outer pessimism.

Pain And Meaning

  • No matter how good we expect life to be, the pain, suffering, and the constant struggle is what gives meaning to life. The sweet isn't sweet without the sour.

  • It is through our hardships that we are grateful towards what we have and it is our unpleasant experiences that push us out of our comfort zone and make us learn lifelong lessons.

  • Pain is good, and you can leverage your hardships to carve out a diamond out of you.

The People That We Love

Investing in the happiness and wellbeing of others, building relationships and making others' lives a little bit easier has a hidden benefit: Insurance.

By spreading your happiness you automatically take care of your hard days, as that is when your investment pays off in ways you cannot imagine. Take care of people around you, and they will take care of you in tough times.

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Every Decision In Life Becomes a Trade-Off
Every Decision In Life Becomes a Trade-Off

... and boils down to what we give up to attain something. Our mindsets are inclined towards pleasure and resistive towards pain. We normally like to think in terms of gai...

Good and Bad Decisions

Decisions are a cost-benefit analysis of risking something small for the opportunity to gain something big.

  • Good decisions can be: Exercising, meditating for 10 minutes daily, finding the courage and striking up a conversation with someone, applying for jobs that you may or may not get.
  • Bad decisions can be: lying or pretending to someone, driving unsafely, sending angry text messages, or staying up late drinking before an important meeting or exam in the morning.
Trade-offs and Life Values

Trade-offs are not something as simple as flipping a coin. Our values guide us towards what we want in life, and it is not the same for all. Example: Buying a house has a trade-off of mortgage for the next ten or more years. This is subjective and depends on what we value in life.

Indecisive people suffer because they don’t know their inner values and what they care about.

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Feeling guilty for being ok
Feeling guilty for being ok

During 2020, some have lost loved ones, some are working on the front lines, while other's don't have enough food or a safe place to live.

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Suffering with others

It is comforting to know that other people have wrestled with the same questions we're facing, and have left us their best wisdom.

  • The Mahayana branch of Buddhism includes the idea of a bodhisattva - a person who's is willing to postpone their own ultimate well-being in order to help others along the path to their well-being. Ask yourself if you're willing to suffer a bit more.
  • The Buddhist teaching of the Middle Way warns against both extremes of self-denial and self-indulgence.
“The Arrow”

Guilt is often counterproductive. It makes us feel paralyzed. However, when we are in this state, we are not helping anyone.

One Buddhist teaching could be helpful as one wrestles with this problem. It's found in a discourse called the Sallatha Sutta, known as "The Arrow." When someone has a painful experience, like a physical illness or witnessing suffering, it's as if the world has shot an arrow into the person. The pain is normal. When one tries to make up a story around the pain, you shoot a second arrow into yourself.

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The 21st-Century Syndrome
The 21st-Century Syndrome

This ‘21st-century Syndrome’ is due to two factors:

  1. An overabundance of dopamine-inducing options is taking its toll on our minds, making it difficult to relax.
Distractions Can Be Useful

The brain needs time and space to process information. The breaks we take during work, like talking to a colleague at the watercooler provides a ‘downtime’ and helps process information.

This takes the shape of distractions when we are at home. You could even be problem-solving while quietly doing the laundry at home, as your brain processes the events and information in the background.

Unshared Fears Lead Us Into Distraction

Our feelings, emotions and fears remain largely unshared at home, when we are trying to do many things at once, fighting countless battles single-handedly to balance everything.

Not having someone to talk to gets us into distractions, and when we force ourselves to not indulge, it makes us want to do it more.

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Get used to the problem

When you are first confronted with a problem, it can all seem daunting. Don't dive right in. 

Take a break, go for a walk, ask for some time to think things over, close your eyes for 10 ...

Define the problem

Ask people to explain it to you a few times. Keep asking questions to really get to the root of the problem. 

Then go ahead and explain the problem to someone else, just to make sure you really understand it. Often times, simply formulating the problem and explaining it to others can help you understand it better. And that is the first crucial step to solving a problem.

Put things into perspective

No matter how awful your situation may be, rest assured that someone else has been through the same thing. 

It is important to realize how your situation compares to the rest of what you are doing, and how bad it really is compared to all the good things in your life. 

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Stoicism and life's adversities
Stoicism and life's adversities

Stoicism is generally understood to be detached and non-reactive towards any of life’s adversities.

In the words of the philosopher William Irvine, the ultimate goal of Sto...

Negative visualization

It is a stoic practice in which one deliberately imagines how things could be really bad, much worse than they are now. It is a visualization of one’s biggest fears. It is a kind of psychological trick that lowers your expectations and makes reality look better.

According to the Roman philosopher Seneca, apart from embracing the negative emotions, one needs to maximize the positive outlook and learn how to feel real joy.

Seneca
Seneca

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient,for he that is so wants nothing."

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Lao Tzu

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Lao Tzu
Take every experience as a lesson

Whenever you find yourself in an unpleasant or difficult situation, try to see what you can take away from this very experience.

Try to perceive your experiences as lessons and to understand them, so you can feel at ease with the others and with yourself. 

Read between the lines

Whenever you deal with difficult people, take into account two aspects: you should not let their actions affect your life in a negative way and you may want to try first to understand them, rather than just to judge them. 

After all, they might be fighting a battle you know nothing about.

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Understanding Stress
  • Dealing with Stress is imperative as it is unavoidable in modern life.
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Your Perception About Stress

With stress, the mind and the body are intrinsically linked. You can view stress as something that is wreaking havoc on your body (and it can) or as something that is giving you the strength and energy to overcome adversity.

Exposure to Stress

Regular exposure to stress in small quantities can prepare us to handle a big stressful event in our lives. Prepare yourself for stress by self-education about the stressful event, by doing some physically stressful activities like completing a marathon, or something you dread, like giving a speech.

Repeated exposure to mildly stressful conditions can alter your body’s biological response to stress, making you manage stress in a better way.

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Dealing with difficult times

We may wonder if it is even possible to thrive during difficult patches in our lives. 

The word difficult could mean something different for every person, but the constant is our commitm...

Keep the big picture in mind

What you're going through is just a chapter of your life. The rest of the story is still unwritten. Once you emerge from a difficult period, a blank page will await you to change the record.

At the moment, everything feels confusing, but hindsight will be 20/20 vision. 

Define your success

Define your success. It is critical in order to know yourself. Success could be your health, career, friendships, being a good spouse or parent.

Difficult times in life require us to redefine our objective, to modify them to fit our new situations. What does betterment look like to you? Is it better health, better grades, healthy relationships? Write down your priorities and work towards them daily.

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Spend Time Outdoors

Spending time outside of your apartment can lift your mood. 

If you are unable to get outside, add greenery to your space, for some plant therapy.

Volunteer

People who volunteer are likely to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and happiness.

Help someone else out who really needs it.

Eat Healthier

Regularly eating foods that are filled with nutrients can help you feel more positive and energetic. You will feel better mentally too.

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Being Insanely Successful By Going Against The Norm
Being Insanely Successful By Going Against The Norm
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  • To achieve something extraordinary, you have to do something tha...
Being Aware of The Narrative Fallacy

The Narrative Fallacy makes us to see events as stories, with logical chains of cause and effect. When it comes to success, do not fall for the ‘narrative’ fallacy’ and think that great people became successful due to what happened to them, and if we emulate that, we will achieve the same result.

We need to do something extraordinary and exceptional to achieve great success, and that makes any successful person an exception, someone who did what few others were willing to do. Instead of googling for success, find what you want to do to change the world!

Success Is Something We Make Up
  • Very few of us went through childhood without getting any emotional scars.
  • Be it home or school, we suffered many problems when our impressionable mind wasn’t mature enough to handle them the way we can as an adult.
  • Our worldview becomes skewed, and we start to build upon the mutated version of the world around us, messing up with our lives.
  • Success by itself is not about money or fame or power, but our upbringing programs us to think about success in a certain way.

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