Alongside the dirt road, a cedar tree grew for many years. It had endured rain and snow, sleet and hail. Heat was of no matter, for it had long ago acclimated to that temperature. Its roots had traveled deep into the earth, where it was sturdily anchored. But one day, a powerful wind swept through the area. The trunk of the tree was snapped off, leaving a meagre section for support. To look at it you might think it was doomed to die, that there was no more life left. But as the inner section healed, the tree once again began to grow. Yes, it grew sideways for a time, for the limb was left parallel to the ground. But as it gained strength, little branches started to sprout and greenery popped up from the rugged outer edges. This cedar was built to last and continued to be resilient and flourish for many years.
Resilience is that indescribable quality that allows some people (and trees) to be knocked down by whatever life hands them and come back stronger for the experience. And similar to this cedar tree, you too can overcome failure and find a way to rise from the ashes.
What qualities make up this ability to snap back?
- First is a positive attitude. And with it, the ability to create options. I’m sure the cedar tree didn’t say to itself, “I can heal myself and grow some more.” But it does have an innate ability to dig deep and nourish itself.
- Next is flexibility, being able to see failure as “a way it didn’t work” rather than “I’m a loser.” What you say to yourself is critical when encouraging new ideas and perspectives.
- Regulating emotions conserves energy and allows your mind to create new perceptions and strategies. The cedar tree didn’t bemoan its fate or curse its bad luck. It depended on a deep inner strength to thrive.
Want to be more resilient? Here are some tips:
- Accept change as an inevitable part of life. You may not be able to reach some goals you have laid out for a successful life. Life intrudes in strange ways. Accept your situation as it is and move on. Free up energy for productive tasks.
- Move toward your goals. Develop those realistic results. Ask: “ What’s the one thing I know I can do today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?” Then follow through and do it.
- Be a detective and find opportunities for self-discovery. The cedar tree didn’t know it could continue to grow offshoots and sprigs. You won’t know the resources you have inside of you until you are challenged to uncover them.
- Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own feelings and needs. Fall back on hobbies you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise on a regular basis and maintain a good eating plan. Remember to breathe deeply. When you take care of yourself, you keep your mind and body primed for more growth.
- Cultivate a positive outlook. An optimistic mind-set draws a positive picture for the future. As you visualize what you want rather than worrying about what you fear, you will free up creativity and innovation.
After a major setback, you can take the story of the sturdy cedar tree and mold it to your circumstance. You too can develop deep roots of tenacity and use them to propel you forward. Resources, as strength, courage and faith, can work to help you change course in midstream and grow in a different way.