Crucial Reading: Building Your Resiliency

by Michael on April 3, 2010 · 0 comments

(Photo by jc in the D)

One of the most important traits you can have for making this life a good one is resiliency: the ability to take what comes with strength, and act in such a way that moves your life forward.

It’s no secret that I’ve got a man-crush on the Art of Manliness—Brett and Kate McKay use “retrosexual” imagery to highlight timeless themes, including the need for guys to just sack up. However, much of their series on resiliency is about much more than brute force. Inspired by and drawing heavily from the book The Resilience Factor, by Dr. Karen Reivich and Dr. Andrew Shatte, this is a long series that takes the book’s themes and runs with them, really helping you to reach down to your core beliefs and fears to help improve your life:

Part 1 defines resiliency as both an active and reactive quality, one that both helps us bounce back from adversity and prevents us from taking risks and living to the fullest. It’s why you dwell on that ex-girlfriend, or can’t bear to exercise, or won’t apply for that executive position.

Part 2 explores “learned helplessness”: situations over which you have no control that subsequently affect you even in situations where you do have control. You’ll also learn your “explanatory style” (how you describe setbacks) and how to dispute the beliefs that hold you back.

Part 3 includes my personal favorite motto: “Stop Being a Victim and Take Control of Your Life.” Your problem-solving abilities determine your measure of control, and the heart of your resiliency, and this article explains how to build those skills.

Part 4 explains “iceberg beliefs,” which are “fixed and frozen ideas about the world.” When you run into them, they cause damage to your life. Iceberg beliefs can be hard to spot, because they may be disguised as positive beliefs, but accurately identifying them can help you understand the true cause of negative feelings.

Part 5 helps guide you through the process of finding your own “signature strengths,” which in turn enable you to base your self-worth on the strengths inside you, and to rely on them to help you find fulfillment.

Part 6 covers “catastrophic thinking”: the several small leaps of logic that don’t seem too unbelievable, which together account for a belief that a relatively simple problem will cause chaos and catastrophe. (We see this all the time in politics.) The recommendation for avoiding catastrophic thinking (as well as potential actual catastrophe) is to apply critical-thinking skills to those small leaps, and problem-solving to resolve the initial problem.

That gets us up to date, at least so far—this may be an ongoing series. I recommend that you read it from the beginning: no matter how easy or difficult you believe your life is, there’s something that will improve it here. Do yourself a favor and really absorb this series.

Building Your Resiliency: Part 1-An Introduction [The Art of Manliness]
Boosting Your Resiliency-Part 2: Avoiding Learned Helplessness and Changing Your Explanatory Style
[The Art of Manliness]
Building Your Resiliency Part III: Taking Control of Your Life
[The Art of Manliness]
Building Your Resiliency Part IV: Iceberg Ahead!
[The Art of Manliness]
Building Your Resiliency-Part V: Recognizing and Utilizing Your Signature Strengths
[The Art of Manliness]
Building Your Resilinecy: Part VI-Quit Catastrophizing
[The Art of Manliness]

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