HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED how all successful people seem to display one particular defining trait ? It’s a quality that not everyone sees right away – but it’s obvious, once you know what it is.
That quality is resilience. It’s the apparently incredible ability to overcome any and all odds: a willingness to embrace discomfort, failure, and to do whatever it takes to achieve that glittering goal.
In fact, it’s almost a cliché, isn’t it? The one who perseveres, wins. Overcoming odds, and winning despite them, is the stuff of which gripping stories are made. And ‘winning’ in the context of your child means that we want to train her to be ‘life-proof’ – a child who grows through any and all situations, sometimes even through apparent setbacks, to become an amazingly happy and accomplished adult, living in a space where she possesses abundant internal peace and power, as well as financial, material, relational and spiritual wealth.
SO, WHAT IS RESILIENCE, AND HOW DO I TEACH IT?
Put simply, resilience can be defined as the ability to positively adapt and prosper regardless of external circumstances or factors. In fact, a person with a highly developed habit of resilience even seems to use challenging circumstances as a kind of fuel, an extraordinary type of super-motivation.
Realistically, being resilient doesn’t mean that you don’t feel pain occasionally, or disappointment, or a sense of discouragement when life seems to go spectacularly and sometimes tragically wrong. What it does mean is that you develop the ability to process it differently – and to use it as an ally instead of an enemy.
Again, it sounds like a cliché, but the truth is that your child’s happiness is not dependent on what happens to her. Happiness is a choice, a deliberate response despite apparent adversity, a habit that changes the way she interprets people and events. And that changes everything.
You see, if your child views setbacks or tragedies as crippling limitations, then that is exactly what they’ll be. But if she’s been taught how to reshape those events – and it’s a simple thing to teach – then something utterly amazing happens.
RESILIENCE IS THE ROOT OF RESOURCEFULNESS
Another concept which is central to our Kids Academy classes and courses is that of resourcefulness.
Resourcefulness, put simply, means that the most powerful success tools your child should learn about, are found within – they’re not dependent on external factors. If your child grows up seeing ‘resources’ as only being ‘things’, like money, the ‘right job’, convenient or fortuitous circumstances, or any number of ‘things’, then at some point, one (or all) of those ‘things’ could be taken away through misfortune, natural disaster, or pretty much any reason.
If you teach your child that opportunities and resources only come about as a result of the things you possess or the people you know, then there’s an extremely high risk that at some point your child is going to suffer a crushing setback in life – one that could be permanently and terribly damaging.
Resourceful people are resilient people: they’re people who succeed no matter what.
Teaching your child resilience – modelling these qualities yourself – is one of the most fundamentally important things you can do as a parent. Not only does this lay a powerful foundation for general ‘bullyproofing’ right now and throughout life, but it radically rewires your child’s perception of limitless potential and opportunity.
Are you ready to give your child an incredible gift for life? Here we go!
10 POWERFUL RESILIENCE LESSONS YOU CAN TEACH YOUR CHILD
1. See past the crisis
Encourage your child to avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. Nobody can change the fact that bad things happen (even to good people!), but you can change how you respond to them. If something happens that upsets or saddens your child, gently encourage her to remember that absolutely nothing lasts forever – especially adversity. Teach her to picture seeing her future self, having overcome whatever has happened. The right kind of vision changes emotion, which in turn creates positive actions.
And yes, Mom, you’re an awesome coach. You can do this too, by example.
2. Accept the inevitability of change
Change is part of life. Without it, we couldn’t grow – we couldn’t become better people, or transcend limitations. Help your child by teaching her that certain things can’t be changed, and teach her to focus instead on changing the things that she can: the things that are within her sphere of influence.
Change sometimes means letting go or saying goodbye, too, and teaching your child how to do this when it’s appropriate is a wonderful way to equip her for a life of progressive growth.
3. Keep moving toward your goals
Help your child envision and develop exciting life goals. Inspire her! Teach her to do small things daily, or regularly, that help her move toward those goals.
The takeaway here is that when bad things happen, you want your child’s focus to set like a laser on what she has set out for herself – the bigger, grander picture, not the temporary inconvenience or sadness. Develop some realistic goals with her, and share in her excitement as she takes action, and makes it a powerful daily habit.
Teach her to ask: “What is the one thing I know I can do today that will help me move in the direction I want to go?”
4. Take action
Our human instinct is to shy away from problems, to go into seclusion, or to try to wish them away. Teach your child to take action. Taking decisive action means that she learns to do something about the crisis, which gives her control – over her emotions, over the effects of the crisis, and enables her to see positive opportunities instead of perceiving herself as ‘helpless’.
5. Be confident
Developing an attitude of unshakeable confidence in your abilities does not happen by accident. It is a skill, and it can be taught.
Learning confidence really is sometimes a ‘fake it till you make it’ exercise. Our emotions are swayed by what we do physically, and what we project, and if your child learns to behave assertively and confidently – even in the midst of chaos and perhaps grief – then she will have control over her ability to cope with adversity, and ultimately triumph over it.
6. Be optimistic
Being optimistic, in the truest sense, is not the wrongful perception of someone wearing rose-tinted spectacles and living in a make-believe world of wish lists. Rather, it’s the ability to focus on the best possible outcome, and advance toward it with a sense of purpose and excitement.
Teach this skill to your child! Optimism (coupled with action) is the counter to worry (which is negative goalsetting). By opening the mind to positive outcomes, you begin to subconsciously engineer them. And as if that isn’t awesome enough, research demonstrates that people with an optimistic nature generally have stronger immune systems, better quality of life, and live longer than their worry-wart counterparts.
7. See everything as an opportunity for self-discovery
Crises and challenges can be incredible opportunities for self-discovery. The old saying that ‘adversity reveals character’ is absolutely true.
Your child should know that by working through setbacks and hardships, she will grow. The bad / good news is that any form of growth requires some discomfort or pain at some point.
By learning to ask herself how the event could make her stronger, your child will develop greater insight and wisdom, become more assured and confident, and develop a deeper appreciation of the most important things in her life.
8. Keep your perspective
Teach your child to view crises in context. They may feel like the end of the world at the time, but… they’re not. Without any doubt, they will pass, and your child needs to know that she’ll be able to look back at them with the knowledge that they didn’t really ever have that kind of power over her.
Teach her to ask: “Will this matter 10 years from now?”, or “Is there a chance that I’ll be able to feel better about this if I give it enough time?”.
9. Stay connected
Under stress, we often isolate ourselves. Teach your child the importance of having good, supportive friends and family. Very often, it’s that sense of belonging to something greater which propels people through setbacks or tragic events.
And remind your child that we are each the average of the 5 people we hang out with most! Encourage her to seek out friends that inspire and grow her.
10. Be kind to yourself
We very often (wrongly) blame ourselves for something terrible happening in our lives – even those events over which we have absolutely no control!
And, subliminally, we often act out our regret or sadness by self-sabotaging. If your child is going through a crisis, reassure her that it’s really, really important to look after herself.
Eating properly, getting some exercise, taking time out, remembering to have fun, spending time on something you enjoy, or connecting spiritually, are all ways in which we can show kindness to ourselves. It’s okay to mourn. It’s okay to express the sadness, or anger, or grief at a devastating event. But it’s not okay to stay there.
THESE 10 AREAS of focus are not abstract, idealistic concepts: they’re actually some of the most important foundational life skills that you can impart to your child. What happens on the inside is reflected on the outside, and if your child internalizes these habits, he’ll be light years ahead of his peers in terms of resilience and resourcefulness.
And that’s what it means to equip your child for deep, consistent success throughout life.
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