A blog to explain a bit more about Elements of Resilience and how we use the framework in our lives. Here we show some practical examples and hope you’ll gain a bit more knowledge about resilience. Today in Elements of Resilience in our lives: Self!
Self is the most personal element; it can be quite hard to grasp as it implies something different to everyone. Generally, the element self is about living a meaningful life. But what does that mean?
Life can be pretty overwhelming and there are so many options, choices and possibilities. This is something I’ve personally struggled with a lot. What do I want? When I had to choose which path to take in high school, I was unsure. So I decided on the broadest path that would still allow for different options later on. I enjoyed learning about different topics and taking up as many subjects as I could. But then another choice had to be made: what to study? Which university to go to? I did all the tests available and even had conversations at school with a mentor. Eventually I chose something that was supposed to suit me well, even though I didn’t have any previous experience or interest in the field.
It was only later in life I realized: you’re able to change direction! You can actually evaluate choices and change your mind. I used to think you had to decide on what to do ‘when you grow up’, and then continue to do that for the rest of your life… How wrong was I! There are so many options and so many paths you can take! Don’t limit yourself as there are always other options available. Also, we are always changing as human beings. This means our preferences and ideas change as well, which is how goals and ambitions change too. I do realize I am in a very privileged position. I was able to fund my studies relatively easily and had the option to change direction a couple of times. However, I do believe that it is possible to change direction and follow your dreams anytime, even if you’re in a difficult position or it seems to be impossible.
Small versus big goals
We love working on our goals and following our dreams. They can be small things, like having healthy meals every day or reading a particular book. Or they can be big dreams like our business Elements of Resilience and our emigration to New Zealand. It’s nice to have both small and big goals to work towards. The smaller goals can help you on the path towards your bigger goal. And this is where the now versus the future comes in. We often think of big goals happening sometime in the future (and you often don’t even know when yet). At times they can feel out of reach. But if you are able to make small changes in your life right now and reach small goals today, you are already a step ahead towards your future big goal!
Working on small goals and feeling happy about your life right now contribute to reaching your goals quicker. Yes, you have to put in some work to reach your goals. However, they are probably quite fun as you remember what you’re working towards. When you try to focus on enjoying working on your small goals, you’ll love the process and the work maybe doesn’t even feel like work anymore!
Thoughts and emotions
But what about feeling happy about yourself, how does that impact your goals? Most people know the quote ‘where attention goes, energy flows’. What you focus on, what you pay attention to is what you attract. For example, if you focus on pain, it will feel worse than if you try to focus on something else. This is also how learning works. If you focus and keep repeating what you’re learning, your brain will remember what you learnt much better. This does not only work with thoughts, but also with feelings. If you keep feeling sad or angry, it will only get worse. And once you’re on a positive wave you’ll often feel it’s much easier to stay positive!
Trying to be happy and feel positive about yourself and your life right now will actually help you achieve your goals much quicker. Important side-note: it’s impossible to be happy and positive all the time. But you can choose and work on being happy most of the time. Also, you can learn how to deal with negativity and switch around negative thoughts (more on that another time).
Some practical tips that we use to try and be more positive about our lives now:
- Writing down our (big and small) goals and working on them, discussing/crossing them off a list
- Awareness of our thoughts throughout the day (did you know we think about 60.000-80.000 thoughts a day?!)
- Awareness of our emotions throughout the day
- Paying attention to who we are and what we do versus who we want to be and what we want to be doing
- Write down / discuss 3 things you’re thankful for every day
Once you become aware of the things you think or believe, it is much easier to change them. This way you can have an impact on how you feel or what you think about things. Some things you’ll find you can actually change, some things you might not be able to change. In that case, you will still be able to work on what you think about those things and which emotions you feel (and why you feel these emotions). Again, it’s choosing what to focus on and what you pay attention to most. This way you take responsibility for your own responses and feelings.
I’d love to write more about how we use these methods in our life. To elaborate further on working towards your goals and feeling happy in life right now and rituals we use to keep working on this. Do you know what your goals are? And are you getting closer to reaching them? Are you aware of your thoughts and feelings throughout the day? Or do you struggle trying to have your energy flow in the direction you want? Let us know in the comments if you have any questions. Thank you for reading this blogpost on Elements of Resilience in our lives: Self!