Recently I came across the studies done by John Cacioppo, Ph.D., at Ohio State University. He showed that the brain reacts more strongly to stimuli it perceives as negative. There is a greater surge in electrical activity. That means our attitudes are more heavily influenced by bad than the good news.
Why is that important? Well, it served us for centuries to save our lives. Gave us information on how to survive. But how does it influence our daily life today? In today’s world, it does us more harm than good. Your 10 scientific papers gets published, one does not, and you are spending weeks agonising over the one that didn’t make it through. During a great day someone snapped at you in the subway. You spend the rest of your day thinking about it and re-telling the story to everyone you meet.
The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties means everything in daily life. It is a skill, a tool much needed for a good life. Same as your muscles, this is the skill that requires practice. So, if you ever attended a crossfit training (for example), and you are unable to do a pull up (God knows I am still one of those), they give you a rubber band to help you get off the ground.
In practicing resilience, you can mentally build up your attitude muscle by using this mental rubber band – Start thinking: What is this situation I think is happening to me, is actually somehow happening FOR me? And then start to think of the ways that situation benefits you. Napoleon Hill said it best: “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” Your job is to find it!
In the beginning it is going to be hard. But as your resilience muscle grows, you will pick up yourself easier from the ground. In the end, the process is going to be automatic. Practising this will get your attitude skyrocketing in a matter of a single week!
As Aristotle said it: ”We are what we repeatedly do. Therefore, excellence is not an act, but a habit.”