The Power of Resilience
A young man asked Socrates what the key to success was. So he invited him to meet at the river the following morning.
There, he asked the young man to walk into the river with him.
As the water made its way up to their necks, Socrates suddenly ducked him into the water. He struggled furiously, but Socrates kept him under until he turned blue in the face.
The young man struggled to free himself but finally came up, gasping for air.
“What did you want most when you were under water?” asked Socrates.
“Air,” the man replied.
“That’s the most important key to success. Wanting it as much as you want air. For only then will it be yours.”
This delightful tale underscores the message that success emanates from strong desire and inspired action.
Success is a tough game because we assume it is linear. However, in real life it involves setbacks, failures, detours and minor victories.
But the failures and setbacks deter people from realising their dreams. Mental and emotional resilience is essential to overcome these obstacles.
“Resilience and Motivation are two of the critical abilities for which Winner’s Brains are wired,” state authors Jeff Brown and Mark Fenske in The Winner’s Brain: 8 Strategies Great Minds Use to Achieve Success.
Resilience is associated with the Navy Seals who undergo rigorous training known as BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) during their initiation. The training eliminates a large portion of candidates due to the mental, emotional and physical demands placed on new recruits.
It is this same resilience that must be summoned to chase your dreams. You must develop an unquestionable will to succeed, no matter the setbacks that will arise.
A strong determination is fuelled by a powerful force encouraging you to endure in the face of setbacks.
I call it having a compelling Why?
Your Why is your motivation to succeed. It is the reason you rise above your challenges when it matters most.
I don’t believe life tests us so much as it prepares us for what is to come.
“If you rise from a fall once, you become that much more confident you can rise again,” affirms author Sam Weinman in Win at Losing: How Our Biggest Setbacks Can Lead to Our Greatest Gains.
Obstacles force us to take massive action or regrettably, concede defeat.
It the same process the Navy Seals undergo. The commanding officers test their resolve to decide if the men can deal with dire conditions.
Life prepares you for success by forcing you to reach beyond your comfort zone.
It poses challenges to nurture your resilience, though you may realise at some point that the goal or dream is not what you really want.
Most people have dreams they aspire to, but few have the indomitable will to succeed in the face of obstacles.
“Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.” – Susan Gale
Success Shapes Character
As the saying goes: to the victor go the spoils.
The human will compels you to persevere in the face of adversity.
It lights up the flame of your spirit and sends you forth to meet challenges armed with courage, strength and resilience.
Without these powers, you are at the mercy of conceding defeat because of weak motivation.
With a powerful will, there is determination and decisiveness to your actions. You are resolute, firm and compelled to overcome life’s obstacles, knowing they are placed in your path to nourish you.
“It’s not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us,” avows the late author Stephen R. Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
You should avoid short term disappointments and smaller prizes to achieve your long-term goals.
It is said success is a journey not a destination. Whilst an overused cliché, there is merit to its meaning.
Without setbacks and failures, you are unable to develop the fortitude and strength to meet your dreams when they arrive.
Success shapes a person’s character. It sharpens the saw as Stephen R. Covey states.
Therefore, connect with a powerful Why and nurture it if you wish to succeed. I assure you, when the time is right you will be greeted with the finest victory imaginable.
Remember: what you seek is seeking you, as long as you stay committed to the path.
The will to succeed is apparent when you face your challenges and setbacks. No one grows in perfect conditions. In moments of darkness, you either rise above your impediments or cower in defeat.
The American New Thought author, Napoleon Hill, writes in The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons: “Until a man selects a definite purpose in life he dissipates his energies and spreads his thoughts over so many subjects and in so many different directions that they lead not to power, but to indecision and weakness.”
An Optimistic Outlook
Success coaches refer to will as grit: the inner resolve, courage and strength of character to persist through adversity.
To develop an indomitable will and harness an optimistic outlook, irrespective of what transpires. Optimism is an inner knowing that conditions will turn out for the best regardless of what lays ahead.
Similarly, develop a powerful will through your accomplishments and seeing the process through to completion.
I’m reminded of the story author Napoleon Hill tells of a prospector who spent months digging for gold, before giving up and selling his equipment to a junk man. The junk man made millions soon after discovering a trace of gold less than a metre from where the prospector had stopped digging.
An indomitable will is essential for success otherwise you succumb to the pressures of life. The will lights the flame of hope and courage and encourages progress.
It is the American author and speaker John C. Maxwell who captured it perfectly in his book The Difference Maker: Making Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset: “Most people want to change the world to improve their lives, but the world they need to change first is the one inside themselves.”
So, do not wish for better conditions or an easier path because you will become listless and discouraged. Persevere and endure your challenges.
It would be remiss of me to come this far and not mention Professor of Psychology Carol Dweck who states in Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential: “The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset.”
An indomitable will to succeed will lead you far in your journey of self-discovery.
The desire must emerge from within and be matched with the same need for air, as told in the opening tale.
Only then will you realise the narrative of your success story is far greater than you ever imagined.