What a year for disasters – a pandemic, the economy tanking, wildfires, hurricanes. ... Then, from a personal perspective, something bad always seems to be lurking nearby.  

I’m not a doom-and-gloom person, quite the opposite, but suffering is a universal. Whatever we do, whoever we are, we are constantly bombarded by problems and trouble and stress-creating situations.  

Adversity simply doesn’t discriminate. No one gets a pass, and as happy with life as I am, that includes me. Like in the last couple of years a grass fire burned out of control across my property, taking out expensive paddock and pasture fences and irrigation pipe. Then, a horse bolted in an aisle, side-swiping me and breaking my ankle.

Likely, you have put up with much worse, maybe a family death or loss of a job or watching the health of a loved one declining or bills you can’t pay or ... the list just doesn’t end.

Plus, every day we get to put up with minor stress that leaves us muttering and growling. A back-stabbing colleague. A horse that bucks every time we set foot in a stirrup. Being the only one who didn’t bag an elk. Failure to get a promotion. 

Then, too, at one time or another, life will take a hard turn where there’s no going back to the “before,” only a choice of how to handle the “after.” 

What makes the difference is how we deal or don’t with adversity, big or small. Put another way, the difference is just how resilient we are or can become.  

Recently, I stumbled over a TED talk on the subject. TED, you may know, stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, and is an organization devoted to spreading ideas through short talks.

Anyway, Lucy Hone, the speaker, provided an easy-to-follow outline of how to be more resilient when confronted by adversity ... how to help ourselves think and act in new ways.  

Summarized, her suggestions are:

• Accept that bad things happen. You’re not being singled out for torture. Suffering is part of being human.

• Focus your attention on the good and on what you can change and leave the rest for another day ... maybe never. In particular, take daily stock of the positives in your life – on what you have and value. Concentrate on them.

• Ask yourself constantly, “Is what I’m doing hurting or helping me?” Like, is forgetting my sorrows with another glass of wine really a good idea? Acting on the answer not only helps but has the added value of giving you a sense of control over your life.

There’s nothing particularly new in this, and you may do some of it already. The value, I suspect, is in consciously applying this particular advice not only when we’re down and out but as a matter of routine to improve resilience. Then, when real disaster strikes ...

You can find Lucy’s full TED talk by Googling “TED talks Lucy Hone.”

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