Tuesday, April 02, 2013

B is for bounce

Can you bounce? Can you be knocked down and get back up? Can you come at a problem from a different angle when your first, second, or even third approach has been blocked? How resilient we are determines how well we will do in this world.

I've always been fascinated by resiliency and how people possess it in varying degrees. A friend and I were talking about her much younger sister who committed suicide several years ago. Even as a little girl, her sister was unable to handle problems. She would cry for help and wait for someone to rescue her. As an adult, she was bright, funny, and compassionate, but whenever life threw something at her, she would collapse or grab a handful of pills and a bottle.

My friend doesn't know why her sister lacked resiliency. There doesn't seem to be any good reason that her sister -- who had many more advantages than my friend -- couldn't bounce. But she lacked the ability to recover from setbacks. And when her husband left her -- exhausted from caring for her -- she took her life. She didn't even try to survive.

I'm not talking about optimism. In fact, I've often seen people who were optimists crumble when they receive a shock. Of course, I've also seen pessimists falter, too, so I don't think that attitude necessarily has much to do with bounce. I think it is deeper than attitude, stronger than stubbornness ... I think it's a quality of pragmatic bloody-mindedness. It's a hard faith in yourself that you can endure, survive somehow whatever life throws at you, and that you're going to do it no matter what.

I don't know where it comes from or how one acquires it. But I do think it helps if you decide to bounce. You make your mind up to get back up. A bit of anger helps. Maybe even fury. And definitely a realistic view of the world and what you can do.

Bounce. It's what helps us survive. I hope you have plenty of it ... and never have to use it.

(This post is part of the 2013 Blogging From A to Z April Challenge. Learn more about the Challenge HERE.)


Tony Noland said...

So true! The ability to recover is the foundation of survival and success.

John Wiswell said...

Resilience is one of the best qualities in a person. Life will always throw new challenges that knock me over. In my case, I think I don't have much of the quality even though I've survived near-death and taught myself to walk again. Sometimes I wonder if undervaluing my own abilities is part of what makes them possible.

Stephen B. Bagley said...

Exactly, Tony. It's being able to survive what comes.

Stephen B. Bagley said...

John, maybe that undervaluing means you always have a bit extra in reserve. There's a lot to be said for knowing our limitations and never biting off more than we can swallow.

Dee said...

great post Stephen. I'm sharing with some of my groups on Face Book :D Thanks.

Stephen B. Bagley said...

Thanks, Dee!