Change the Narrative

Merriam-Webster refers to resilience as an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. An ability to roll with the punches, according to Mayo Clinic. My understanding of resilience prior to this week was that it was something that people were just gifted with, like good eyesight or height. You either had it or you didn’t. Yet, in researching resilience I have learned that isn’t the case. Sure, some people tend to be more resilient because they are naturally optimistic. But what I have found is that resilience is a skill, something that can be honed.

Resilience is not some magical quality; it takes real mental work to transcend hardship. There’s growing evidence that the elements of resilience can be cultivated.

A perfect example of resilience is Kendrick Norton, a former Miami Dolphins defensive tackle. July 4th of this year Kendrick was driving his Ford F250 when it hit a concrete barrier and landed on its roof, his left arm pinned by the truck had to be amputated above the elbow. In a recently released video Kendrick said, “You’re still alive, don’t be angry. You’ll get better,” he continued. “I’m trying to handle it the best I can. Don’t be down about it ’cause that’s not gonna fix anything.”

And here’s the key phrase that he says, that perfectly sums up resilience: “Though the injury was far from ideal, especially as a professional football player, Norton said he was never in denial about it and instead, changed his outlook on the situation.” Kendrick changed his outlook, he reframed his thinking. “How we view adversity and stress strongly affects how we succeed, and this is one of the most important reasons that having a resilient mindset is so important. (1)” The Greater Good Science Center has collected many resilience practices on their website, they have identified 12 resilience practices combined into five categories. The number one practice is change the narrative. Kendrick changed the narrative. His NFL career over at 22 before even playing a game was most likely a devastating experience. But this is what Kendrick has said, “But I realize that I will not be able to play for anyone. We are working past that, you know. That reality is sinking in. I am alive and I am grateful. Now I want to organize a blood drive.”

He changed his thinking to one of gratitude, grateful to be alive. He is actively practicing the skill of resilience. And so can you, you have it within you. I’ll leave you with this last thought.

Resilience isn’t a single skill. It’s a variety of skills and coping mechanisms. To bounce back from bumps in the road as well as failures, you should focus on emphasizing the positive.” Jean Chatzky

“Control tower your life” – by Lauren Allen

As I’ve grown older I have realized that I carry far more control over my life than I once thought. There will be and have been lots of situations and experiences that “happened” to me, but how I responded and choose to respond are all 100% within my control. Gretchen Rubin wrote “Better than Before” in 2015, it centers on making and breaking habits in order to live a happier life. Herein lies the real roots of my “brain hacking quest.”

I am highlighting just two quotes from the book that resonated with me and have driven me to actively work on my habits and rework them and create new habits and rid myself of unnecessary habits.

“Habits are the invisible architecture of daily life. We repeat 40% of our behavior almost daily, so our habits shape our existence, and our future. If we change our habits, we change our lives.”

The idea of habits being the architecture of my daily life really struck me…more specifically the fact that I was giving habits control of my life did not sit well with me. Especially since so many of my habits were social media driven, which in turn means that I was giving Apple, Google, and Facebook the ability to control my days. I know that may seem like a reach, but essentially if my habits controlled me to log into social media at more than 4 hours a day-was that not what I was allowing?

 “Habits eliminate the need for self-control. With habits we conserve our self-control.

This I love, I am 500% for efficiency. So, the idea that I can use my brain even more efficiently than it already is, is definitely my thing. To tag onto this, Gretchen also says: “Stress doesn’t necessarily make us likely to indulge in bad habits; when we’re anxious or tired, we fall back on our habits, whether bad or good.” Habits therefore, help with my self-control in all situations.

So, a habit that I have gotten into over the last week is playing solitaire on my phone right before I go to sleep. One way that I was attempting to “hack” my brain was to put limitations on my phone by entering a passcode for when I go over my time allowed. Unfortunately, I…failed to write down the passcode. So, I have no way of accessing certain items on my phone when I need to after a certain point. The only way to resolve this is to wipe my entire phone, which I refuse to do…at this point anyway. So, I’ve found a work-around…by staying up until midnight I can tell my phone to give me access for the whole day, so that way I have no limitations. But that requires me to stay up until midnight in order to trick my phone and I am no longer 17 and capable of functioning well the next day if I stay up that late. And when it’s late and I’m tired and annoyed with the phone situation that is 100% my fault, I fall back onto the habit of playing solitaire. To “wind down,” which is code for stay up long enough to trick my phone into allowing me to snapchat with my sister during the day.

Circling all of this back to the first quote….we repeat 40% of our behavior almost daily and that in turn shapes our lives. I guess it’s time for me to implement some new habits.

choose wisely

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” – Proverbs 13:20 (ESV)

Choose wisely the people you spend time with as they shape you whether you are aware of that happening or not.

If you choose well, these people will help you become a better person. If you choose only people that don’t challenge you to be better, that don’t challenge you to set higher standards, that don’t speak truth to you – you will become something less and you definitely will not grow as a person.

Choose wise people that will speak truth to you so that you can grow and become even better.

challenges of life

Solving the challenges in your life requires a deep understanding of what causes what to happen.

Christensen, Clayton M.. How Will You Measure Your Life? (p. 16). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

we have a choice in how we respond

What controls how you respond to circumstances? Your emotions or your beliefs?

You know, we do have a choice in how we respond to the ever changing circumstances of life.

Make that choice!

capitalization learning vs. compensation learning

David and Goliath book coverGood morning – I hope your week is getting off to a great start. It was a very nice weekend for our family. Beautiful weekend and we were able to have some enjoyable times together.

In his book David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell makes the distinction between what he calls capitalization learning versus compensation learning. Capitalization learning is what most of us really enjoy. It is learning that is building on our natural strengths. He gives the example of Tiger Woods – he found that golf suited him, so he enjoyed practice so he became better at golf and practiced more and became even better and so on. It became a virtuous cycle.

Now there is the compensation learning that comes from what Gladwell calls a desirable difficulty. A desirable difficulty is a challenge that requires you to grow to overcome that challenge in ways that are beneficial to your overall life. One that he mentions is dyslexia. In his book he gives several examples of people, that because of the lessons they learned in dealing with dyslexia, they surpassed many other “normal” people in regards to success in life.

These people succeeded because they have learned the value of compensation learning. Compensation learning is hard work. It is usually learning that occurs in our areas of weakness – not our strengths. We become aware of a weakness in our lives so we set about compensation learning to deal with that weakness. As it is hard work, often very hard work, most of us avoid it and thus miss out on our potential. I like the following quote from the book:

“. . . those who can are better off than they would have been otherwise, because what is learned out of necessity is inevitably more powerful than the learning that comes easily.”

So – what is it that you need to learn to have greater impact, but that you are avoiding because it is hard? Start engaging in learning what is hard for you so that you will grow into even greater effectiveness and thus greater impact.

Have a great week!
BG

Top 10 Posts for 2012

Well, we are coming to the close of 2012. I hope this has been a year of growth in your life. Growth in your faith, growth in your family relationships, growth in your community, growth in your character and growth in the vocation to which you were called.Indiana winter by Lauren

More and more of you are reading this little blog and often I wonder why, but thank you for returning and reading what little I have to share with you. My prayer is that it has been of some use to you as you seek to lead others and to bring change to the community in which you live.

Following are the ten blog posts you liked the most over the past year in order:

1. Be-Know-Do, The Army’s Leadership Model

2. Four Stages of the Creative Process

3. Seven Principles from “The Way of the Shepherd”

4. The Business Model Canvas

5. Six Questions You Should Be Able to Answer

6. How to Pitch Your Ideas to Your Boss so They Get Implemented

7. 90 Minutes of Focus = Greater Productivity

8. Questions to Ask Leaders

9. Servantship vs. Leadership – what is the difference?

10. Being Kind vs. Being Nice

I hope that 2013 is a year of great growth and impact for you and those you lead and serve.

One bit of Scripture I leave you today:

I [Paul] therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:1-6

Grace and peace to you in His name in 2013,
BG