Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Understanding the Resilience Paradigm

The concept of resilience is becoming more and more popular in a number of fields, including everything from personal development to business continuity to corporate culture and leadership.

While everyone agrees that the word "resilience" comes from the Latin verb "resilire", meaning "to bounce back" or "rebound", there's a wide divergence after that, and many of the definitions lack some of the important dimensions critical to progress in depth.  So let's look at the concept of resilience as I use it...

Resilience is obviously a result or set of results; we all want to become more resilient, since the alternative holds little attraction for anyone.  Yet resilience is not only a result set - it's also much more, including:
  • The paradigm or worldview that allows us to achieve resilience in our daily lives
  • The specific set of practices we follow in order to become more resilient physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually
This paradigm is a very different one that the cultural paradigm we're used to in the western world, since it involves a number of significant mental shifts:
  1. The shift from the reactive "coping" mentality, where we bumble along with our inherited, dysfunctional lifestyle, hoping nothing will go wrong, to a proactive mentality of deliberately refining all our human capacities on a daily basis
  2. The shift from looking at most of our dozens of daily decisions as unimportant to understanding that nearly every decision we make will make us stronger or weaker, and the determination to make the decisions that strengthen us
  3. The shift from identifying our self with our rational mind and its conflicting thoughts and emotions to realizing we are not our thoughts and emotions; we simply have them
  4. The shift from considering our body as just the transportation system for our brain to understanding that the human being is, in fact, a single, integrated whole
  5. The shift from mindlessly pursuing pleasure and fleeing pain to the courageous search for excellence, peak performance and harmony on all levels
  6. The shift from the extremely limited vision of human potential in society at large to embrace the extraordinary possibilities that authentic ancient traditions have charted for us
  7. The shift from an approach to life based on ideology, to an approach based on evidence and experimentation, as found in all authentic ancient traditions
  8. The shift from the rather flexible moral compass of the masses to building an excellent character based on truth, honor and courage
 So embarking on the pursuit of resilience takes quite a commitment and quite a bit of time to wrap your head around it all.  For one thing, you can only truly understand it to the extent you've done it, so you're perpetually learning during this lifelong adventure.  

That's a lot to take in all at once.  In fact, I can say with no exaggeration that an entire book could be written to expand on each one of the points above.  Fortunately, I think I'll stop here for now!

However, if you want the health, energy, clarity, calm and sense of purpose that resilience brings, you'd do well to spend a little time thinking over some of these points ;-)

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

1 comment:

  1. Dear Dr. Rodger,
    I really appreciate all your output on the different subjects. However, I was very disappointed you didn't expand further on the concept of resilience just when it got really interesting.
    God bless and take care!