Success in creating the life you have always wished for is commensurate with the work you are willing to put in. Resilience is not something you are either born with or not; it is a personal journey that requires courage. The courage to move forward, the courage to face and move past our fears and self-limiting behaviors and the courage to decide on what we want with for our lives.Part 1: Understanding our Potential, Page 18
Book Club Notes
It’s no secret that The Stress Code by Richard Sutton is one of my favorite books. I often quote it, recommend it and have followed much of the advice within it. It was without hesitation that I picked up his latest book, Thrive the Power of Resilience. Set out in a similar manner to The Stress Code, it is just as good. Through sharing his own stories and those from elite athletes he has coached, he breaks down complex ideas into bitable chunks that are easy to understand. He provides practical tools you can use, tests to take and a buffet of food for thought. Like The Stress Code will change the way you think about stress, Thrive will change the way you think about resilience.
What is Resilience?
Resilience is the ability to adapt to stress, challenges, adversity, and change; emotionally, mentally, and physically. It is the bridge between challenge and potential. No one goes through life without facing some kind of hardship, adversity, or challenge, and it is resilience that enables us to survive what life throws at us. In Thrive the Power of Resilience, Richard Sutton teaches us that resilience is a learned skill. He shares the fundamental skills you need and gives you the tools to navigate the bumps of life.
Sutton has coached some of the world’s biggest champions and has studied them to understand what sets them apart. The skills that allow them to unlock their potential. One of their most important characteristics is resilience. Particularly 7 resilience skills. They’re skills not exclusive to athletes, in fact, we can all learn and enhance them in our lives.
7 Powerful Resilience Skills We Can Learn from Athletes
Cognitive reappraisal is the ability to reframe stressors, setbacks, failures, disappointments, and frustrations as opportunities for growth. It is seeing the opportunity embedded in the challenge. It is choosing a growth mindset (one open to learning) and rejecting a closed mindset.
Metacognition is the ability to understand and control your thoughts. It allows us to recognize that we cannot control many external circumstances, but we can control how we think. How we think affects how we feel. How we feel determines how we act and what we say. How we communicate affects our behaviors. And it is our behaviors that turn into habits that create our reality in the long run. Three ways to develop your metacognition are through:
- Self-dialogue – the way you talk to yourself.
- Dynamic goal setting
- Mental imagery – visualizing the future you want, not the one you fear.
Positive personality traits include extroversion, openness to new experiences, conscientiousness, optimism, adaptive perfectionism, and proactivity. It’s important to remember that you do not need to display all these traits to improve resilience. Start by building on the ones you are most comfortable with and then slowly open yourself up to those you struggle with.
Motivation can be both positive (wanting something to happen) and negative (not wanting something to happen). If you struggle with motivation, start by creating an encouraging environment much like you would if you wanted to acquire a new habit. In addition, doing things that enhance dopamine increase motivation as dopamine is the primary driver of all forms of motivation. Behaviors like exercise, cold immersion, meditation, sunlight exposure, massage, music and foods like Green Tea, omega-3 fatty acids and curcumin all have positive effects on dopamine.
Confidence is our belief that we have the ability to be successful. Confidence is driven by successful outcomes in our chosen endeavors. Learning from champions you can improve self-confidence through preparation, visualization, self-awareness (being clear on your strengths and weaknesses) and support from family, friends or coaches. Oxytocin can also help increase self-confidence. Activities that increase oxytocin include charity work, receiving support, care and empathy, physical contact, aerobic exercise, yoga, music and nutrients like Vitamin C, magnesium L-threonine, Vitamin D and probiotics.
Focus is targeted attention. More importantly its attention placed on things you can control, like your own personal development, and not on external forces beyond your control. To thrive and adapt, especially in volatile conditions, we need to remain focused on our journey and what we need to do to get where we want. Part of focus also includes allowing yourself time for unfocused opportunities. Time to do activities that are completely unrelated to your primary goal. Time that when used correctly gives you a fresh perspective and mental rest.
No man is an island on his own. To succeed we all need support from others. Find the people you trust, who you can depend on and allow yourself to lean on them. Be receptive to receiving the support you need to overcome challenges and reach your potential.
You’re new to learning about brain health and want an actionable plan to apply his guidelines to your life.
Writing – 9/10
Applicability – 9/10
Timelessness – 9/10
Shareability – 9/10
The Nitty Gritty
A note on our book ratings
Readability: How easy is it to read and understand what the author is saying? Do you need a dictionary or PhD to understand it?
Writing: How well written is the book? Do you find yourself wowed by the writing or unimpressed?
Applicability: How applicable is this book to daily life? Is there enough advice and actions that are easy to start applying?
Timelessness: Is the content of the book timeless or is it something that in a few years won’t have relevance?
Shareability: How likely are you to share the book?