Building Resilience, Powering Performance

Oh! It’s too hot, I won’t go out. Oh! It’s raining, forget about the diet, let me have tasty pakodas. Oh! It’s too cold outside, who will go for walk in such weather.

Weather does affect our mood, but this article is not about weather, IT IS ABOUT US!

Let’s accept it we have all done it, we have let weather affect our mood. We need to understand what this weather is. This weather comes in different packages. Do you let anger get the better of you? Do you let criticism affect your day? Do you blame this weather, be it environment, situation, condition, people and not to forget your inner monster (who in its meek voice coax you to take easy path) for your current situation?

Let’s look at people for whom the weather carries them:

They speak in the language of:

·      Everyone is out to get me so that’s why I didn’t get promotion.

·      My parents pushed me into doing this course.

·      My child made me upset.

·      Why only I have to suffer?

·      “If only they treated me a bit better, I could be happy

·      “I wish I had more time for that, but…”.

These people are the “Reactive” people.

Let’s look at how people are when they carry their weather:

·      They recognize they can’t control everything that happens to them, but they can control WHAT THEY DO ABOUT IT. They are calm, cool and in control.

·      They think before they act

·      They speak in the language of “I am in charge”

These people are the “Proactive” people.

We all know being Proactive will take us closer to our goals. Have we ever pondered why we are not able to exercise these proactive muscles?

Let’s go little deeper in this.

“I want to be a slow learner”, this is what my son told me while I was about to start the night time story. After making sure that I have heard it right, I paused and probed him for this disturbing thought that he shared in a very disturbed state. The reason that he gave me will be as shocking for you all as it was for me. “My friends tease me when I ask a question or answer teacher’s query or if I generally share whatever I know. They tell me that I think very high of myself and I have no friends. So I think it’s better to be a slow learner as you will be accepted by the class then”. Now I could connect the dots, his teachers were telling me that his behaviour has changed, he is not paying attention, and he is not participating much in the class.

If this belief will go into adulthood, how will it look, less initiative in meetings, less risk taking, keeping a low profile, having less genuine friends, tendency to please others. If you ever happen to meet this person, would this thing ever come in your mind that this belief that “It’s better to be slow” has driven his life till now.

Are we planning to cripple our life because of these disempowering beliefs?

Are we kids that we can’t understand that this belief is not just made in one day.

This belief was made by taking certain choices: choice to listen to friends’ negative voices, believing those voices, making their volume high and focusing on them even when the situation is not the same.

So when you choose, “my friends made me unhappy, sad or angry” and when you say, “I choose to be sad when my friends said this to me”. There is a BIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGGGGG difference which makes the difference because in the previous language, I am giving my remote to someone else whereas in the latter language, I am giving that control to myself and that is the game changer, as you realise the “AMAZING POWER” that lies within you, POWER TO CHOOSE.

If you decide to take responsibility for your circumstances, you automatically tap into the power to change them.

The paradigm shift from “they did” to “I choose” makes us “RESPONSE-ABLE”, which means “ABILITY TO RESPOND” and when I have the ability to respond, I will not blame others or situations for my condition. I will in the driver’s seat driving my own life.

Unpredictable events will be there but we don’t have to be influenced by unpredictable events or the negative emotions of others. As holocaust survivor and psychologist Viktor Frankl stated in Man’s Search for Meaning:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

If Viktor managed to choose his response amongst the unimaginable conditions of the Nazi death camps, witnessing endless suffering and losing almost all of his family; surely we can do it in our everyday lives?

Steven Callahan is an American author, naval architect, inventor, and sailor most notable for having survived for 76 days adrift on the Atlantic Ocean in a liferaft. 

Callahan, an experienced mariner, possessed seafaring skills that were undoubtedly critical to his survival, but were these alone enough to save him?

Callahan framed his situation, dire though it was, in terms of choice. A vast ocean stretched before him on all sides. He saw nothing but its endless blue surface, below which lurked many dangers. However, in the lapping of the waves and the whistle of the wind, he did not hear a verdict of death. Instead, he heard a question: “Do you want to live?” and his answer to himself was, “I now have a choice: to pilot myself to a new life or to give up and watch myself die. I choose to kick as long as I can”.

Next time someone asks you, “What would you do?” you might take a page from Callahan’s book and reply, “I would choose”.

My friends, “YOUR LIFE DOESN’T JUST HAPPEN”. Whether you know it or not, it is carefully designed by you…or carelessly designed by you.

We hope not to experience such extreme circumstances; we are nonetheless faced daily with our own imperatives to choose.

Next time when we snooze and get late for office, let’s not get angry on others unnecessarily.

Next time when someone makes a bad remark on us, let’s not give our right to be happy in his hands.

Next time when we don’t get promotion, let’s not think that the boss is out to get us, let’s see how we are responsible for the current situation.

Next time when you feel like that you are a victim of all the circumstances, and bad things always happen to you, see if these questions change your paradigm:

Whose choice it is anyways?

Am I at the driver’s seat or at the passenger seat?

These questions will give you time to “GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR POWER TO CHOOSE”

Stop giving people the power to control your smile, your worth, your attitude and your day.We are conscious creators of our experience instead of victims of habit.

Just remember YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF YOUR EMOTIONS, YOUR MOODS, YOUR CHOICES, YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES.

What you make of your life is UP TO YOU.

THE NEXT TIME SOMEONE ASKS YOU, “IS IT TOO HOT FOR YOU?” , YOU CAN SAY–

“It’s hot, I will still go out!”