Can you look beyond the obvious to see possibilities? Resilient people can. Watch this video and I promise you—you will cry and believe. Sent to me by my very resilient twin brother. http://bit.ly/ppL0WA
From his place in the hellhole concentration camp called Auschwitz, Dr. Viktor Frankl observed, “Man can survive any ‘what’ if he has a meaning.”
Worthy words worth exploring as we all face the daily onslaught of a world at war on too many fronts, economic downturns, depressed job markets, and political rhetoric that is empty on action and long on blame.
Young Hugo Cabret tells his friend, Isabel: “Everything has a purpose, even machines. Clocks tell the time; trains take you places. They do what they’re meant to do. Maybe that’s why broken machines make me so sad. Maybe it’s the same with people. If you lose your purpose, it’s like you’re broken.”
Words worth pondering from a very young lad. When Isabel questions her purpose, Hugo responds:
“When my dad died, I looked out this window and imagined the whole world as one big machine. Machines never come with extra parts. They always come with the exact amount they need. So, I figured if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. And, that means you have to be here for some reason too.”
Perhaps it is time, during this summer season, to ask yourself what is your reason for existence!
Consider these facts:
(1) All change—even self-selected change involves loss and therefore some pain.
(2) A carrot/stick approach rarely work in the long run.
(3) Gentle persuasion doesn’t engage someone. People don’t like to feel persuaded!
(4) Focused attention – over time – reshapes the patterns of the brain. ** Thus, for any change to “stick”, an action (and attention) need to be concentrated and continual. The brain has, in fact, neuroplasticity. It can be re-shaped but only with focused attention over time.
(5) People’s expectations shape their reality. To reshape expectations, people need an event or an experience that provokes them to internally change their mental model. It’s an inside out approach. That’s why we talk about employees “owning” any kind of change initiative. The “insights” about change must come from them—not directed from above.
So what to do: Reframe the situation. Look at what is possible and positive. Leave problem behaviors in one’s memory bank. Instead, focus on solutions that are facilitated so the individual develops personal insights rather than being given advice. And then systematically, religiously, keep talking about solutions and actions. The ball will begin to move.
** 1997 study of 31 public-sector managers by Baruch College researchers found that a training program alone increased productivity 28% but the addition of follow-up coaching to the training increased productivity 88%.
Nothing more true has ever been said.
Great question. At face value: nothing! Unless you happen to be a barista at Starbucks and you sell them as a part of a campaign to create job growth in the United States.
Now, as a barista – you are not just thinking about a single store. You are part of a movement to bring this country and its people back to economic health. Only a resilient community, nation and its people can sustain any kind of growth and hope for the future.
Learn more how a $5 wristband becomes a $35 investment in job creation. Go to this website and learn more.
Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D. has written an article “How To Cope With Change“. He shares many of my views and a particular quote I liked is “We create comfort in our lives by striking a balance between all the things that pull and tug at our time and attention. A fancy word for this balance is homeostasis. And, as you no doubt experience from time to time, change upsets the apple cart by disrupting the careful balance of consistency and predictability that you’ve struck in your life.”
Change can be disruptive at best and life changing at worst. If you need help coping with change you might find the article by Dr. Frisch helpful.
Maybe it was the hot water pipe that burst in the foundation that started the meltdown. Even as I write this, the wood floor in the kitchen, dining room and den is being splintered and thrown into the jaws of a construction bin. The walls and ceiling have huge holes in them and a HAZMAT team came searching for mold. The living room is an obstacle course from the pantry and closets. The refrigerator is in the garage and latest date for completion “might” be Dec.23.
OK, so the first Christmas was in a stable. But the holy family wasn’t expecting families from Boston, Oregon, and Los Angeles who would seek a bed as well as food.
Maybe it was compounded by my laser printer dying and discovering, after I bought a replacement, that not all printers will work well with a MAC. The anxiety level ratcheted upward when my I-phone then died and I discovered someone had hacked my user ID and password. An hour’s worth of AppleCare finally fixed the problem but not before I found myself crying to the technician. Of course, I had already screamed at the switchboard for Hospice of the West because I needed help with my Mom. (Little did I know a nurse had come in the back door while I was waiting at the front door. I had to call back and apologize.)
Few presents have been bought, ornaments remain in the garage eves, and I am definitely not a “jolly old soul”.
Bet you have been there too!
Time for me to take a dose of my own medicine.
Here’s the prescription I am taking:
(1) Give up the illusion of control. My “illusion” is that I can make it all better. I cannot. So the question becomes: of what of this can I control? I can move household items into boxes. I can clean other rooms of my house. I can learn how to eat with chopsticks. I can slow down before I pounce. I can relish whatever time I have with Mom and focus on the moment.
(2) Ask for help. My neighbor has volunteered her home that will be empty over Christmas. My MAC buddies can give me advice about printers. (Duh-I should have asked them first. No, I “pounced”.) I will ask my relatives to wash their own dishes.
(3) Reframe the situation. As my husband says, “this will be an adventure.” He’s right. Who knows what lurks around the bend? Why not ask what wonderful surprises there might be? Maybe we can make a game of “who can find the can of soup?”
(4) Help someone else. When Mom is in a state that I can’t get her in a wheelchair to hear the music she loves, I will join the other residents and lead them in song. I did this and felt a wonderful peace in the process. It is about “doing what you can do”. I loved it. And from the looks on faces, they loved it to.
(5) Be grateful. How can I forget this! I have a roof over my head. I have an insurance policy. I have neighbors. I have a good place for Mom. I have loving caregivers. I have glorious family and friends. And yes, I can still sing.
My hope for this season—amid the chaos—is that I might find it WONDER-FILLED and resilient in the end.
When I laced up my running shoes and headed down to Dana Point Harbor on Thanksgiving morning, I did experience a twinge of regret.
No Thanksgiving at my house. A broken hot water pipe under the floor of my kitchen and dining room had turned my gorgeous wood floor into splinters. Restoration crews had already yanked out my cabinets and an environmental team was scheduled to show up the next day to break into walls and determine mold damage. AAARGH!
But as the sun rose over the mountains and broke into the cloudy morning, I thought about my assistant, Francesca, and having her first Thanksgiving without her younger sister who died in her sleep just weeks earlier.
I remembered that I was running in this race with 10,000+ people to raise money for FEED America.
I remembered 2 years ago when I ran in pouring cold rain and thought I would never complete the course.
I remembered that I had just paid all my bills and whispered a word of gratitude that there was still some money left in the bank.
But it was the runners themselves who surrounded me and just made me laugh. One runner wore a complete turkey outfit. Her companion wore an apron and a big chef’s hat and carried a turkey baster so she could constantly spurt water at her friend, “the Turkey”. I saw many felt turkey carcasses on the tops of people’s heads. There were people dressed like elves and Santas, reindeer and rap stars. It seemed to me that there were more costumes this year than ever before. I think an economic crisis has all of us looking for something that can make us laugh. Laughter is indeed one of the hallmarks of resiliency.
Here are just some of the pictures: a father and his 2 daughters running as the Indians from the 1st Thanksgiving. The next 3 men came as mustard, ketchup, and a hot dog. I can’t believe they actually ran in costume the entire time. And of course, I’m not quite sure what this man had on his mind with his get-up. I think it was called “throw it all together”.
Strangers waved to each other and shouted happy Thanksgiving. Bystanders hollered “Run, Turkey, run!” Babies waved their arms from jogging strollers. And as I crossed the finish line, an active-duty Marine put a medal around my neck and I was able to shake his hand and say, “thanks for your service.” Wow! What a day.
P.S. One of my best friends, Cindy Bright, added us to her 19 person Thanksgiving dinner and that made me laugh: 8 of those folks were children with incredible sense of humor, great wit, ready conversation. Now let us remember that too many children the rest of the days of the year still go hungry. I think I should run a Turkey trot every day. How about you?