Resilience

By | Personal Development, Travel

In my previous post, I mentioned about uncertainty, the unknown unknowns. I’ve realised over the years that there’s an incredible, often unnecessary, sense of fear about uncertainty amongst the circle of friends that I grew up with. This fear prevents them from getting started and realising their goals. It is human nature afterall. At times, I’ve also spent countless of hours analysing, making calculated decisions in order to prepare myself mentally and physically to leap into tomorrow. Unfortunately, when it comes to uncertainty, no matter how much we study about it, much of the insights come from the experience of finding out rather than through passive observation. The more we experience, the more we learn, we then adapt and become more comfortable about the unknowns. But does the unknowns matter? I don’t think so. To me, the journey matters a lot more.

Struggling is universal; it is inherent in the human condition. If we know that is the case then we better make our struggles worthwhile — for ourselves, for our communities, and for humanity collectively. A better life, a better community and a better world are certainly worthwhile goals. Recall Newton’s third law, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction — in other words — no pain, no gain. The obvious common sense here is to not struggle too much, to not focus on overnight success but make small steps towards your goals and have consistent, gradual progress. Notice what happens when you stretch a small spring too far? It breaks. What about a much longer spring?  It stretches much further. So how do we get from the short spring to the longer spring? Creativity (and you can’t have a lot of creativity without experiencing and learning what works and what doesn’t work).

“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.” – Charles Dickens (Great Expectations)

We are all explorers, sailing through life with or without a destination. Nevertheless, there should be a direction. The European explorers wouldn’t have discovered Asia if they didn’t head East far enough. There will be storms along the journey, your ship might be capsized but with every journey, we learn to be more prepared. We learn to figure out what we need to know, what we need to solve and what really matters. Without the tumultous nights, we wouldn’t be as grateful for the bright, calm days. We learn to bring along the right type of people to sail with us and help us to reach to the other side, the new world. And it will never be the same again.

So what’s the answer to being more resilient? Unfortunately, I have no magical answer.

I once had these words temporarily tatooed on my arms in India, vivre le rêvewhich is my personal interpretation of carpe diem. I think given my life has revolved around sailing and the sea since birth (literally and metaphorically), navigare necesse est, vivere non est necesse might be a better one for the next 10 years.

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