What personal qualities might most help us to “make lemonades out of lemons,” as needed, or to appreciate and develop insight and wisdom from significant life events? Two principles come to mind: persistence and resilience. In fact, these are two facets of the same attitude a person might rely on to manifest Better Endings.
Think about it. Persistence helps you to remain focused on a goal. It requires resilience, though, to “bend but not break,” to continue forth no matter how long it might take or how alone you might feel with your cherished ideal, project or intention. Resilience allows you to “bounce back” after a loss or setback. It facilitates persistence but at the same time, resilience prevents rigidity or becoming overly fixed on a specific form or outcome.
Dr. Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist and author of the best-seller Mindset (2007), talks about “fixed” versus “growth” oriented mindsets. It is interesting that persistence might be considered an attribute of a ‘fixed’ mindset (being fixed on an idea or a specific goal), yet so long as it is paired with resilience–which seems more a ‘growth’ attribute intrinsically–it will facilitate flexibility and hence, real growth in both perspective and outcome.
Once, at a regional dramatics workshop during high school, our drama coach organized the participants into circles of 8-10 students each. He placed one person (at a time) into the center, with the rest of the group forming a circle around this person. Then he asked the middle person to think of one line in which they believed strongly. They were to repeat this line over and over, while everyone around them in the circle would try to get the speaker to stop. When it came my turn in the center, the line I chose was from Wooden Ships, a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song I used to play on the guitar:
When you smile at me I will understand,
because that is something everybody everywhere
does in the same language.
As I repeated this one line, over and over, it became like a mantra for me; a single focus for my entire life purpose and identity. People laughed, prodded, tried to overtalk me; they mocked and ridiculed the line. Their cajoling only made it seem all the more imperative for me to repeat my universal mantra. I spoke it loudly, softly; I sang the phrase, whispered it; but I never varied from repeating this truth and secret of all existence, that which I was deeply convinced everyone should hear! It was a strong line–one that I have often remembered since–, strong enough that I was able to outlast the opposition and maintain delivery through the full time allowed.
Persistence and resilience support and strengthen one another, pairing intention with adaptability that can empower you to gain insight through any eventuality. So, hold to your Center and speak from your Heart. With a worthwhile purpose, Better Endings will prevail.
Was there a time in your life when persistence and resilience bore fruit? Or is there a project you are working on now to which you are applying these principles, or maybe that you can envision using in fun and creative ways? Please feel free to Comment below. or send in to share your insights and stories.