How to overcome adversity and build resilience

Author Jamais Cascio said “Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected. Sustainability is about survival. The goal of resilience is to thrive.”

Here is a simple framework that will give you technique for re-framing and re-defining meanings that you have attached to situations, experiences or events from your past and allow you to re-define them, change the meaning and therefore change how you feel about them.

Think of an experience that has not served you well and which you would like to re-define or change how you feel. We are going to take that experience and dissect it into three different compartments by dividing that experience, memory or event into three columns.

The first column relates to defining the facts of the situation that can’t be disputed such as the date, the time, how many people were present etc. Write those facts in the first column and in the second column, write down the meaning or beliefs you have about that event. How did that event or experience make you feel? Were you scared, did you have feelings of failure? Perhaps you felt incompetent, frustrated or sad?

Now that you have split the event or experience into two separate columns, change the meaning you have attached to that event in a third column. Ask yourself some questions like; how many great experiences did I have up until this point? How well did I perform in all of those other experiences or events? How can I look at this situation differently? What did I learn? What have I not noticed about this situation before? How have I grown as a result of this situation or experience?

I want you to notice that by changing the meaning and your beliefs about the situation (simply by asking yourself a set of good quality questions), you can transform the feelings that you have in relation to that experience.

Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react. We may not be in control of what happens but we have in complete control of our reactions and interpretations. All meaning is context dependent and nothing has any meaning except for the meaning that we give it.

We are empowered and decide how that experience makes us feel.