UNIVERSAL MAN – EP 17 – RESILIENCE

 

“Out of massive suffering emerged the strongest souls;
the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
– Khalil Gibran

WHAT IS RESILIENCE?

Resilience is that ability to bounce back and to reframe things in a positive way when you’re faced with a difficult time or adversity.

When there is a lack of adversity in your life it’s probably not necessarily a good thing. There are times when it’s okay to not have any adversity. But in the end, it’s through adversity that we grow. The challenge that we face helps us grow. Through experience, the world grows and widens before us. So, adversity actually plays an important part in us becoming resilient universal men.

Many people either consciously or unconsciously avoid facing into the difficult times. They will project the anger onto somebody else. They will blame others. They will dump on somebody else. They live in a hot-cold pattern or they get all spiritual where it’s fate, the luck of the draw, God’s fault or will. All these are forms of avoidance. They’re not taking responsibility.

Sometimes adversity happens out of the blue and there is nothing you could have done about it. And that’s okay. Resilience still requires an ownership of even the most random situation you find yourself in. Because if you revert to the running away it’s not taking ownership of you and rising up to your greatest version of yourself.

If we consider our four pillars – mental, social, physical, and spiritual. Each of these elements can be heavily impacted in tough times. In a purely physical sense, all of the negative stress hormones, like cortisol get released into the body. And that cortisol can hang around for days at a time. It affects your immune system, your heart rate and your cognitive function. And it plays out in the social realm, in the quality of your relationships with people at home, and at work. It really can affect you across all of these elements. So the importance of resilience cannot be understated as it protects your health and the health and relationships of the people around you.

When you’re resilient you shift into a world that’s clear, focused, relationships are thriving even through the adversity.

And there’s something special there. When you’re clear about your goals. When you’re focused. When you are centred. But when there’s a challenge which actually stretches you up. You know, that brings out the very strongest within you, the best.

THE PITFALLS

One of the big pitfalls of resilience is we can get stuck. And we can really get pulled down into the depths of despair when we don’t know what the new challenge is as opposed to the problem they’re stuck with.

We’ve all had mates call and say, “Hey man, I’m just really down. I can’t seem to get out of this hole that I’m in!”

And the first question to ask is, “What is the outcome? What are you trying to achieve? What’s your career goal? What’s your goal with your family? What are your financial goals? What’s the challenge we’re trying to accept here?” And that’s missing for them. And as a result, they get stuck in the problems without knowing the direction.

We have created a little decision tree to help you understand it in more depth.

And it says, first and foremost, there’s a state of mind which we might call your level of resilience. And it’s either good or bad. And the quality of that resilience then leads to a particular event happening. And out of that, there are a few options. One is, you can either deflect the thing that’s coming your way. And that is a valid choice sometimes. And the other option is, you bounce back, or you rise back out of the ashes.

A very quick example of what that’s like in the real world. Imagine a day, you go to work, you’ve had maybe an average night’s sleep. Things haven’t been going so well, you feel a bit out of whack. You haven’t had good downtime for a while. You’re a bit edgy. And then you walk into a meeting room, and there’s a guy at work who you’re just a bit tired of. And, he gives some terribly bad news. It was completely avoidable. And, he’s famous for it. And you just think, you know what? I know what’s gonna happen here. And then you unload. And you just give it to him.

The thing is, you weren’t resilient in the first place. Then you didn’t accept. And then what you did, in the end, was dump on someone. And they copped it, and no one in the room wins anymore. As opposed to, you walk in the room and you are resilient, you are resourceful. You accept in the moment what has just come your way. And then you make a choice, do I deflect this because it’s really of no great consequence in the world? Or, do I respond to it positively so we all bounce back personally and as a group?

And that’s the little pattern. Be resilient in the first place. Then, in the moment, choose your response. Deflect or accept.

When you accept the challenge part of that is to be open to the wisdom within it too.

And when you deflect things. This is when some heat comes your way and you know it really isn’t about you. It’s actually the other person’s stuff. There is still wisdom and strength in that moment for you to note.

WAYS YOU CAN BE MORE RESILIENT

CLARITY: Resilience comes when you’re on the front foot. When you’ve got your goals and dreams and what you really value. Remember, resilience is easier when you’re moving towards a goal away from the difficulty.
SELF CARE: This is having the right balance and preparation in your life by keeping fit, doing meditation or yoga, listening to music, going for a run, going for a ride, rock climbing. Whatever your thing is. Having that rock so to speak, that everything works around, and the right amount of family time and things.
OTHER-CENTRED: Do not be self-centred. If you’re thinking ‘me’ all of the time when the struggles come, there’s a danger you go within in a poor me type of a way. But when you are an other-centred person, the current resilience has got a context, a goal. It’s to make the world a better place. So shifting that to serving other people, and serving the world. Makes you a lot more resilient on a day to day basis.
PRESENCE: And the next is just being present. Sometimes you’re trying to put your kids to bed, and they don’t want to go to bed. And it can be frustrating because you’re thinking, I’ve gotta get that work done, I wanna catch up with my wife, have dinner, have a glass of wine or watch something on Netflix. And next thing you know these little kiddies just won’t go to sleep. And you realise that all of your frustration has nothing to do with them. And everything to do with the fact that you want to be somewhere else. So remove the need to be for somewhere else, and just be present. All of the pressure in your head releases.
RELATIONSHIPS: One of the toughest things in life where resilience is really difficult is close relationships. Keep following the same process. What is the outcome you’ve got? Go back to what you want out of that relationship. What’s the depth of connection you want? What do you really want to achieve out of it?
TEAMS: One common trait of high performance teams is that it’s often through adversity that they unite and bond. And out of the ashes, they rise like a phoenix to a tight-knit group. Look around your work or a sporting team you’re involved with. What adversity has that group been through? If it hasn’t been through any create some. And you don’t have to put them through hell through some boot camp. Instead what you can do is set the bar incredibly high and challenge the team to greatness as individuals and a team.

All those things lead to a whole mindset, that you can handle anything. You actually welcome some of those difficult times. Because you know you’re not going to just cope, you’re going actually thrive.

Let’s finish with a passage from one of our favourite poems by William Earnest Henley, “Invictus”:

“It matters not how straight the gate. How charged with punishments their scroll. I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”

Stay legendary

Grego and Pricey

UNIVERSAL MAN – EP 8 – DISCIPLINE

 

WHAT IS DISCIPLINE?

Discipline is a set of practices based on core beliefs that keep you on the path to being the best you. It is not about being rigid and thoughtless, instead, it is staying true to a habit/cause/routine over a period of time. It means not taking the easy route and giving up at the first sign of trouble or of easy temptations.

Discipline is a ‘choice beyond feelings/easy desires’ to take the more strenuous path. That path is one that you know is challenging, that you know is littered with your weak points and yet you chose it anyway, because you know it is the path to personal greatness.

When consistently maintained over a long period of time can lead to dramatic results and incredible, almost unshakeable self-belief. When you build a discipline in all the key aspects of your life (Spiritual, Mental, Social and Physical) it grows you into a presence and even a raising of your entire mentality to a new level i.e. you see the world in an entirely different way. Small things don’t bother you, petty behaviour is of no interest. Instead, you’re now calm, clear and purposeful in everything you do. Attaining this is not easy and keeping it doesn’t happen without continuous work. Hence, the challenge.

When you incorporate regular discipline or commitment to a particular activity you’ll start to feel like it’s internal drum-beat keeping you centred and focused. That might be rising early for a workout, a walk, meditation. Every time you keep this commitment it’s like your depositing a little money into your bank account of esteem and self-control.

When done right discipline takes you beyond the ordinary but it’s important we always listen to our other signals. Maintaining a practice that sacrifices too many other important parts of your life isn’t discipline, that’s blindness. In truth, the ultimate discipline is being 100% committed to your values and standards.

As you build more discipline into your life the habit develops and it can become a muscle memory. Of course, the hardest part is building that muscle memory. You’ll fall a few times and find it hard to take see that the ‘obstacle is the way’…or you simply won’t have the energy for it. It’s ok. Don’t punish yourself. Just get back on the horse at the first opportunity.

HOW TO STAY DISCIPLINED

A few practical tools to help you get started and stay on track:

  1. Pick a simple habit/routine that will bring out the best in you and start a practice of doing it every day
  2. Often you’ll find little pains/fears arise in the early stages. Challenge them. Bring energy and courage to the table in barrow loads
  3. Align your new practice with your bigger goals
  4. Sometimes you need to stop all the rubbish and ‘Just do it’
  5. Remember to celebrate if your practice leads to a victory and incorporate into other routines and longer-term goals
  6. If you get stuck add some public accountability by getting your wolfpack involved. E.g. all meet and go for an early morning ride

Discipline puts you back in the driver’s seat of your life and decisions. Instead of little subconscious decisions that change your mind, your rise above all that and take full control of your daily life. It is a powerful and liberating tool that brings superb rewards. Discipline begins with that five second choice for an action aligned with your core beliefs. From that choice will flow life and inner freedom!

Stay legendary

Pricey and Grego

UNIVERSAL MAN – EP 7 – SETBACKS

INTRODUCTION TO SETBACKS

There is not one among us who does not regularly have a setback in some aspect of their lives. How many of us have been involved with a sporting team and in the first ten seconds of the game have lost a crucial wicket, had a try scored against us under the posts?

Setbacks are those ‘gone backwards’ time’s; a time of loss, of lost momentum, confusion, loss of energy and focus etc. There has been a momentum forward and then surprisingly we encounter a block, a loss, resistance or an apparent failure. We are thrown back to before where we previously thought we had been.

Setbacks can be financial, relational, health-related, professional/career, spiritual and psychological. It is important not to confuse a setback with the plateauing which is a natural part of growth. As we acquire a new skill or a new level of fitness there is a natural time of ‘pause’ where the body/mind consolidates your growth in preparation for your next level of achievement.

THE IMPACT AND NATURE OF SETBACKS

The setback can demand of us some serious energy from deep in our reserves to recover and regain momentum. The setback can dent our confidence and make us second-guess our own approach to our abilities. Having committed so much personal or professional energy to something to find oneself back on the ground with the ‘life’ kicked out of you can be so demoralising…it can be the ultimate challenge to get back on the horse and re-enter the game.

Setbacks are an integral part of life. They are to be expected, even planned for. Knowing the hit on the footy field is coming more than half prepares you for the reality of it. The setback is a time of potential learning, refocusing, regathering and strengthening to go forward even more effectively. The setback is positive in that it means you are reaching out, you are taking risks (professionally and personally) and deliberately stepping out of your comfort zone. If you are constantly setting your bar of expectation very low you will rarely experience the setback but you will also not be growing and certainly not becoming the best ‘you’ you can possibly be.

The underbelly of the setback is resilience. When you face and work through the setback you grow stronger, wiser and more focussed; more resilient! As for so many aspects of life that we can learn and grow from it is NOT the event in itself that we must focus on but rather what we do with it.

There are some setbacks that we have no control over partially or wholly. The out of the blue traffic accident that leaves you in a moonboot right in the middle of a series of speaking engagements in distant cities is neither wished for nor planned. Some setbacks result from our poor choices and call us to some serious self-reflection. Some setbacks have a message within them that we can learn from. All setbacks can be a growth period with new wisdom for the road ahead. The power of the lesson learned from a setback is that it comes NOT from the world of theory but from your lived experience.

The setback must not define us. In the midst of the setback there can be a small ego voice inviting us into a soft easy role of a victim mentality; the poor me at the side of the road. At this point remember one of the greatest speeches:

The Man in the Arena

The Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

HOW TO DEAL WITH SETBACKS

  1.  The first thing to do when a setback comes your way is to stop, reflect and seek the wisdom that lays within its enforced pain. Even physically stopping, taking a break, having a short holiday or even the small stopping of going for a walk, getting out into the fresh air etc can immediately reframe the situation and help you re-story it from ‘disaster’ to ‘what can I learn here’. Sometimes the stopping cannot take place immediately – but as soon as you can, find the space for reflection upon your experience.
  2. Your period of reflection will lead you to ‘unpack’ what happened and what you can learn from it. What caused the setback and why? What can you learn from this? What were the contributing factors? Some would have been out of your control but some will be very much within your sphere of influence. The physical space (whether in time or actual space) will assist in perspective and balance.
  3. Reach out to your Wolfpack – to the brotherhood, to your mentors and supports. Those who journey with you will know you well and will be able to engage in that needed balance of personal support during a tough time and invitation and challenge to learn from it and to ‘get up again’ with new insight, energy and purpose. As setbacks are a part of daily life you can be 100% sure that each of your Wolfpack (mentors, friends, supports) have faced similar situations.
  4. From your reflections and seeking of advice realign, re-equip, reskill, refocus and plan anew. This may lead you into a period of seeking to develop a new skill, nuancing a skill you already have, looking for new mentors or distancing yourself from people who are actually dragging you down. Sure as part of all of this there will be a period of ‘licking your wounds’ – of being gentle with yourself but here there is that healthy tension between time to regenerate as distinct from hiding away (running away) and wallowing in self-pity
  5. Have the flexibility to change and the courage to implement that change. From the setback, identify your learnings and from these, plan your new short-, medium- and longer-term goals. You are in fact nuancing your game plan in response to the setback; that is called wisdom

SUMMARY STEPS AND A CHALLENGE 

Setbacks are a constant invitation to develop and continually modify your framework for achieving your best self. Five easy to follow steps to follow with setbacks;

  1. Purpose – what is your purpose? The setback is an invitation to re-examine your purpose and to redefine it.
  2. Root cause – go to the places that scare you and ask yourself why? Pause and reflect on your experience and be open to learning from the causal factors.
  3. Wolfpack – gather help and support around you
  4. Outcome – redefine your outcome
  5. Reskill – increase capability

Challenge

On your own or with a few mates, answer the following:

  1. Think of a setback that you feel you never recovered from. Looking back now, what learning was there within it for you?
  2. What is an aspect of your life where you are good at working through setbacks and grow from? What aspect of that can you transfer to other parts of your life?
  3. Who in your Wolfpack can you most trust to share a setback with knowing they will understand and both support and challenge you from?

Stay Legendary

Grego and Pricey