Welcome to another Zoe Listicles, where every week, I will summarize a few ideas that will help you live greater, love better and laugh more.
This week, I would like to specifically share 5 ideas that will help you become mentally and socially resilient. I use the word resilient here because our aim here is to develop strength both internally and externally… so you will not end up like this guy:
Let’s get into it!
1. Return to the circle of control: Mentally resilient people understand what is within their circle of control and what is outside their circle of control. They realize that they can’t really influence things that are outside their control and made peace with that.
Yes, they may still be hurt by things that are outside their control, but because they understood how little their influence is over the situation, they become more peaceful and accepting.
Thus, whenever you face a tough situation, start by appraising your circle of control. Epictetus, the great Stoic philosopher offered a guide to distinguish the two:
“Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our actions. The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others.”
Once you know where the situation stands, act accordingly.
2. Love is courageous: According to Brene Brown, “True belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world.”
And this is why the greatest act of courage is to love a person.
To truly love a person and form a genuine relationship, one needs to bare their heart and soul to the beloved. They need to present all their being-their good and bad side- with the risk of being rejected.
This is why a healthy relationship is a relationship where the both people are willing to both say no and hear no. This suggests that the relationship has room for vulnerability.
3. Love your way out of your misery: Life can be very tough and feels unbearable sometimes, but believe it or not, a little love can make a whole world difference.
Victor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist who survived the Nazi’s concentration camp observed, “The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way —an honorable way—in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment.”
If you are facing a tough situation right now, try to emulate what the prisoners did in the concentration camp decades ago: imagine that you are bearing this suffering or doing this difficult thing for the sake of your beloved.
Consider the impact of your sacrifice to your beloved. Think of the consequences if you ran away from this situation.
I will guarantee you, before long you’ll find strength and courage emanate from your heart.
4. The instigation capital: According to Seth Godin, the most expensive capital in the modern world is the instigation capital or the ability and guts to say yes. As in yes, we can do it; yes, we can change; and, yes, we can improve.
Of course within these ‘yeses’ contains the risk of failure; but a person with high instigation capital realizes that they can’t advance without an occasional failure here and there.
Like what Seth says, “the person who fails the most usually wins.”
5. Aim to develop a little common sense, caution and conscience: This timeless advice by George Horace Lorimer is as relevant today as it was two hundred years ago when it was first written.
Our aim on this earth, is to fulfill our destiny as humans by thinking and acting like one. Without a strong philosophy and rationality, we humans can quickly turn into beasts who are easily swayed by random impulses and act selfishly.
The key is to develop character and virtue. Feed your mind with biographies of morally upstanding men and women. Think of virtuous people that are in your life at the moment and seek to emulate them. Read character development books (not personal development books which usually contain band aid solutions) which help you develop the right principles for life.
It is impossible to not compromise on our values in this connected world. But we can always choose to not compromise our virtues and characters.
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