The Resilient Soul


Not too long ago I stumbled upon audio books. (Metaphorically speaking; because stumbling over digitized media is something I can only do in the Matrix.)

I realize many people have known about and enjoyed audio books for years, maybe even decades (for you that still refer to audible media as "tapes"). And that's fantastic. 

But for me, well, I can be slow in picking up on new technology. 

I didn't have a smart phone until 2014.

The reason why audio books sorta changed the game for me is that I have something either mildly related to or terribly worse than A.D.D. / A.D.H.D. 

That's right, I can't focus on books for very long. My mind wanders, and I almost never finish a written book. 

Furthermore, I have two jobs, two kids, a house, this blog, and somewhere in there I try to squeeze in a "life." 

So basically, I don't have time for books; at least not leisurely books. Until now.

A friend of mine recommended I read (listen to) Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life by Eric Greitens. I fired up an account on Audible and downloaded the book.

But then all that stuff I just listed above kept being real. So it sat on my phone, doing me no good.

Then I bought a new stereo for my car that pushed me right out of the 1990s and into 2016. It plays only digital media via Bluetooth or USB, and it has an AM/FM radio. 

No more tape decks or CD players for this hip guy! 

(Which reminds me, does anyone else still have a stock pile of 700 CD-Rs sitting in a drawer or closet somewhere? Can we play indoor Frisbee golf with those? Boom. Problem solved.)

Now I had a recipe for success. My average commute to work is 35-40 minutes each way. So well over an hour of every work day (almost 250 days a year!) is spent in a car. Sitting. Getting impatient. Losing faith in humanity.

But now I can listen to something productive, and I've really come to enjoy this book (Resilience).

I won't rehash his points or even try to synthesize any new information for you. He does a really good job; and since he was a Navy Seal, he's endured much more difficulty than me. 

In other words, he can illustrate resilience much better with his personal stories than I can with mine.

So yes, this post is a recommendation to read/listen to the book. 

But it's also a reminder to you: you cannot succeed in life without some measure of resilience.

I rarely state absolutes like this, but in this case it's apt.

Too many of us seek a life of comfort and ease because we feign ourselves to be weak, or spoiled, or delicate. 

We think we are incapable of dealing with truly hard things, so we avoid them at all costs.

And it does cost us. It costs fulfillment, happiness, success, and respect.

I need the same reminder, because it's easy at times to get frustrated with how many things go wrong (not as I wanted) in life. It's easy to say, "I'll never do that again" or "I'll never attempt this again."

Of course, this discussion can easily degenerate into sound bites, wall posters with the word "Resilience" at the bottom, or quotes from Einstein that Einstein never actually said.

Let's just talk plainly about it.

If you give up, you will never succeed.

I mean N-E-V-E-R.

But here's something you don't often hear.

If you don't give up, you still may not succeed.

Yep, failure is part of life. And that's why you need resilience.

If you can turn your failures and shortcomings into lessons and strength-building exercises, you will succeed in the long run at the cause you have embraced.

No life is perfect. 

No attempts at greatness are flawless. 

Nobody wins every time.

The question is: What will you do tomorrow?

Image credit:
Boy in cape image from https://www.groundworkcounseling.com/anxiety/becoming-resilient-through-cognitive-behavioral-therapy-orlando-cbt-therapists-shares-tips/

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