Since it is inevitable in life that we will stumble, then perhaps the most important skill we can learn is resiliency. The ability to get back up again. To pick ourselves up, dust off the aftermath, clear our mind, and move forward. It seems easier in the literal sense of tripping over a curb or something. Definitely more challenging in the emotional sense. Whether it’s a difficult time in life, a broken relationship or the consequence of a period of personal growth. The latter which has always fascinated me. But the truth is, as we grow we often encounter a set back, a fall of sorts, before we grow and expand.
It seems though, that resiliency is at least in part a learned skill. Sure, some people have a natural tendency to be better at bouncing back than others. From what I can tell though, we all can benefit from honing our resiliency skills. I read a report once about Tiger Woods. Apparently one of the things that is attributed to his success as a golfer is his incredibly high rate of having a successful hole immediately following a disastrous one. He has an uncanny ability to bounce back. Observers say he has a whole ritual to get himself back on course. He throws a fit, slams the club down, allows himself to vent for a short time. But then internally, no one can know for sure what’s going on but Tiger, he seems to be able to shed the experience and regain his composure. This ability to bounce back is largely the reason for his success. He statistically has a better hole after a bad one than most any other golfer. It’s a learned pattern.
Imagine the possibility of creating a process for bouncing back. A ritual of sorts. We’re all going to face those moments. Why not “train” to get out of them. Like Tiger.
Now, for a short term event like a few bad swings of a club it may be easier to create a pattern for recovery. For longer term life challenges where nothing seems to be going right for a period of time, it may be a bit more challenging. A quart of ice-cream seems to do the job quite well and has been a staple for recovery. Probably not the best overall long-term plan.
For me, not surprising I guess as a photographer, my pattern of recovery is a visual one. More charts all over the walls assuring me where I’m going. Powerful quotes everywhere to inspire me. More time spent observing beauty. Little reminders to dust myself and keep on going.
Don’t assume the ability to bounce back, to be resilient, will come naturally. We’re not super-beings. Not even Tiger. Cut yourself a break. Have some compassion for yourself and develop some patterns that will head you in the right direction, back up the cliff from which you fell, in due time. The more I think about it, standing back up after a stumble may be the most important part of the journey.