Life doesn’t have to seem overwhelming. Despite the gloom and doom in the media about the economy, unemployment, outsourcing, the US presidential election, we can all develop the resilience to survive whatever life throws at us.
Back in February 2010, I published a post about Perseverance and Resilience, it is one of the most frequently read posts on this blog and still gets a visits almost every day.
Both words receive a high number of searches on Google, 368 000 and 550 000 each month respectively.
Why the high number of searches?
Because of the uncertain times we live in. For millions of people in Western societies, the period of economic turmoil since the financial crisis of 2008 is the first tough period they have experienced in their lives. From baby boomers to Generation Y members in North America and Western Europe, their whole lives up to 2008 were spent in a period of relative prosperity, lifetime employment, rising property values and the expectation that the good times would continue indefinitely.
For many more millions in the rest of the world and for those of us living in politically unstable countries, uncertainty was a normal part of life. Nothing about the future could ever be taken for granted. For hundreds of millions of people in Africa, Asia and South America, life is still a desperate struggle to survive, their whole attention is focused on finding enough food to feed themselves and their families for one day at a time, to keep a roof over their heads, even if it is just a sheet of plastic. And to stay out-of-the-way of the authorities, to avoid arrest, a beating or some form of extortion.
Even those of us in the third world who were able to have a lifestyle closer to that of the Western Middle class, knew that we could lose everything in a heartbeat. So when, our country was sacrificed to be governed by terrorists, it was just a matter of time before we became victims ourselves.
Through years of intimidation, persecution, murder of our friends and families, we were forced to choose between staying and fleeing. We learned the true meaning of resilience. What made it harder to bear was that unlike in the days when we had a government that enforced law and order for all our citizens, we were unable to adequately defend ourselves. In the few cases where farmers used their guns to defend themselves against mobs attempting to overrun their farms and kill them, the police and army came to the mob’s aid with overwhelming firepower and murdered the farmers.
Still we stayed, trying by any and every means possible to protect our property, our farms and our businesses. When the wave of murders, intimidation and forced seizure of our farms at gunpoint spread over the country, we still stayed until the bitter end. That was resilience.
There is a solution, a way to develop resilience, a way to strengthen our resolve so that we can survive anything that is thrown at us without going insane. In my e-book “The 8 step plan to overcome adversity” which you can get by subscribing to my newsletter, I set out a plan.
People who have strong reserves of resilience develop them through surviving increasingly difficult tests. Sometimes in business, sometimes in family or social matters, often in sports, especially endurance sports.
In my own case, the experience of completing 4 ultra marathons (87 km or 50 mile) and many shorter races, overcoming the pain, exhaustion and temptation to give up, helped me survive the worst that the Mugabe government in Zimbabwe could do to me. That resilience helped me survive losing my home, all my assets and the upheaval of starting a new life in a foreign country with no money.
A twitter friend Rob Sullivan completed the Heartland 100 mile race last weekend in terrible weather, pouring rain and a violent thunderstorm. He ran for 29 hours, that is resilience. Read his account of the race on his blog lawerology.
Now more than ever since World War 2 we need resilience to survive. Unfortunately the spread of big government, political correctness, lack of discipline in schools and general sense of entitlement has fooled too many of us into thinking life will always be easy. Time to wake up and start taking charge of our own lives.
Start building your resilience by testing yourself, run, walk, learn a new skill, start and stick with anything that is difficult. That is how you will build resilience and survive in the 21st Century.
Wishing you success.