Life is unpredictable and feeling anxious, sad, frustrated and even angry, are just normal reactions to our hectic life. Ever notice though, that some people seem almost immune to these feelings? How do they do it…what’s their secret?
Resilience is the way that people deal with and overcome the obstacles and difficulties in life. Being resilient can mean the difference between effectively handling life’s stresses, or having a meltdown, even over the smallest of stresses.
Why are some people resilient, while others are not? Well for one thing, resilient people tend to have a more positive outlook in life and they have fortified their inner confidence so that they’re better equipped to cope with stress and anxiety. There are those born with a natural resilience, but even if one is not fortunate enough to have that innate strength, it absolutely can be learned.
The story of the little old Donkey is not only cute, but it contains a very important life lesson for us:
The Farmer’s Donkey: A Fable for Our Time
One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out a way to get him out. Finally he decided it was probably impossible and the animal was old and the well was dry anyway, so it just wasn’t worth it to try and retrieve the donkey. So the farmer asked his neighbors to come over and help him cover up the well. They all grabbed shovels and began to shovel dirt into the well.
At first, when the donkey realized what was happening he cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down and let out some happy brays. A few shovel loads later, the farmer looked down the well to see what was happening and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was shaking it off and taking a step up.
As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he continued to shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, to everyone’s amazement, the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!
The moral of the story: Life is going to shovel dirt on you. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Every adversity can be turned into a stepping stone. The way to get out of the deepest well is by never giving up but by shaking yourself off and taking a step up.
What happens to you isn’t nearly as important as how you react to it.
– Author Unknown
When I first read this story, I was horrified at how callous the farmer was, but was relieved at how resilient the little Donkey was! He took a bad situation and turned it into life-saving solution. Becoming resilient is vital to true happiness and there are many techniques to building resilience, including:
- Finding our purpose in life
- Believing in our abilities
- Being optimistic and having a positive outlook
- Learning to relax more and using techniques to relieve stress
- Developing a support network
- Understanding how and why we respond to negativity the way we do
- Accepting that sometimes, change is inevitable
- Establishing goals that will keep us focused
- Having an action plan to help navigate stressful or difficult situations
- Committing to building resiliency skills over time
There are of course many ways to build resilience, but probably the first and most important step, is accepting there is a need and a willingness to do so. Being a positive thinker and fortifying our resiliency is becoming increasingly important in our world and there’s no time like the present to start!
“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” ― Steve Maraboli