Resilience – when did we lose it?

I am currently writing a presentation for a corporate event I will be speaking at in October. I have been reading about the copious benefits of exercise in relation to stress management. It lead me to the question are we resilient? Or is that something we have lost in decades past?

There is a lot of talk about increasing rates of depression, anxiety, mental illness and suicide. Why have these mental health issues dramatically increased? We talk about the influence of smartphones and technology and how damaging it is. I am not disagreeing with these statements. Or could it be that we aren’t prepared for how hard life can be in a world where everything is designed to make things easier for us?

Allow me to elaborate. Imagine you are at a crossroads and there is a gatekeeper. The gatekeeper says to you “You must choose only one path. One is fraught with hardship and struggle which you must face. The other is easy like a walk in the park. The reward at the end of either path is the same and is waiting for you. ” Which do you choose?

Old archway over narrow street in St Andrews

image by <a href=”http://www.freeimageslive.co.uk/free_stock_image/medieval-gate-jpg&#8221; target=”_blank”> freeimageslive.co.uk – photoeverywhere</a>

Most of us would likely choose the easy path right? Collect the reward for little to no hard work done. Why go through the pain and struggle? I believe that this is the key element that is wrong with our thinking in current society.

What if we all chose the hard path? That path would teach us how to make mistakes, learn from our mistakes and grow. It would teach us to be grateful for what we have and the reward we can earn at the end of the road. Then once we have finished walking the hard path we would feel happier with that reward and have a sense of achievement. Any other struggles that we would be faced with after walking that path would be much easier to face than if we had chosen the easy road.

I’m making it sound easy with a hypothetical right. The easy part is the decision you make. How does this real life situation sound? Two personal trainers stand in front of you. One says to you; “Choose my exercise app it’s great! It has super easy and quick workouts for you to do. We prep all the meals and they get delivered right to your door so you don’t even have to think. All you need to do is choose me and you will be on your path to the healthiest you ever!”

While the other says to you; “Choose training with me. I am your guide, your support and your friend. You have to do all the work. You must sweat everyday, you will have to grind it out. Some days you will not want to get out of bed to see me but you will have to do it anyway. Some days you will miss out on social events because it doesn’t match your goals and you have to prepare your food in advance. Some days you will feel sore and tired. Everyday you do choose to do this you get stronger, fitter, healthier and better. Everyday you choose to do this you have made a little win. Eventually the effort of sweating becomes a joy and a privilege that you relish. All you need to do is work with me and you will be on your path to the healthiest you ever.”

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Don’t always choose the easy path. Recognise the hardship and own it. Choose your support network and let them guide you. Always ask for help when you need it. Choose the hard path and allow yourself a chance to be resilient.

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