Resilience is defined as the ability to bounce back from adversity. It is the trait of not giving up. It is the old “Try, try, try again until you succeed” formula. Consistency in Persistence anyone?
One reason we give up easily is that we expect results the moment we try. All we need to do is send up our request to the "Unconscious" and it will do our bidding. When it doesn't then either we give up on the unconscious or send a different request. We get angry when our expectations are not met by the world. Adversities are encountered in everyday life too and we almost go into apoplexy when the world has a different plan than ours.
Mukesh's Everyday Ordeal
Mukesh was in the habit of taking an Auto-rickshaw whenever he travelled in Bangalore. Auto Drivers are busy fulfilling God's plan in which Mukesh was not a part of. So Auto after Auto would refuse Mukesh's request. With every rejection, Mukesh's blood pressure went a notch higher. There were days when he would get into violent arguments with the Drivers sometimes dragging them to the Police Stations too. It was a real ordeal for that man. His expectation was that every Auto Driver should come the moment he asked them. That of course was the legally correct position. But was he fighting a legal battle at the cost of his mental health?
Delayed gratification is another name for persistence. You keep trying until you get the result you want. But for this, you have to learn to manage your EXPECTATIONS.
The Seventh Auto Principle
I outlined the Seventh Auto Principle to Mukesh. I told him that my research had indicated that it is always the seventh Auto Driver who would accept the passenger's request. I told him to step out the next day and ask each auto driver who passed by. (It is important to make this engagement. You cannot let six Autos pass by without asking them.) and expect the seventh guy to come to his place. If someone came ahead of the seventh guy it was his super lucky day.
Mukesh decided to give the strategy a shot. I had built-in delayed gratification into the scheme of things. He came back on the first day to say the fifth Auto guy agreed to his request. Each day it was a different number including the first guy on some days. His encounter with the Auto Drivers had become a sport for him instead of a tense affair. Some days he would bet with himself on the outcome too. The thought of going by Autos or engaging with an Auto Driver or their rejection no longer caused stress for him.
Managing Expectations - Key to Emotional well-being
Ability and willingness to fail is a major part of Resilience. Expecting to be rewarded for every one of our efforts is just not being realistic. When you go out expecting success at the first try, at the first sign of failure you are willing to curl up and die.
Giving every effort our best shot but not expecting instantaneous success but willing to grind on is what resilience is all about.
Managing our expectations is also a path towards managing our emotional well being.