I went to my 11-year-old daughters primary school graduation last night, going from Grade 6 to Grade 7, she is such a beautiful kid, I was very proud of her. The principal was talking about resilience and how life can be tough sometimes. I was super impressed that these days we’re having these chats with our kids. As part of her speech she told the kids when NASA chooses astronauts they don’t take the people who have a perfect record of success, they take people who have had some significant failures and have recovered from those in their life.
I thought that was an amazing insight that when NASA trains astronauts to go into space they choose the people who have had adversity and challenges because they know how to work under pressure, they don’t give up, they have developed the resilience and the persistence to go after what they really want. I thought to myself that is such a great analogy and such a great story for all our lives.
I see people who go through life and always succeed, always get what they want. They have never had any significant failures, challenges or problems, inherently they are people that have never been tested so they don’t know if they have got the resilience or if they will quit. Conversely if you are somebody who has had challenges, difficulties and hard times, that develops a real resolve and a real resilience in you, to keep moving, keep going, keep pushing towards your goals in your life.
I used to think it was so unfair, why do other people have it so easy? why do I struggle so much in my life? I had a lot of poor me, drama queen bullshit going on. These days I look at all these challenges I have encountered in my life, be it my mum and dad getting divorced, the lack of self worth going through my teenage years, the Police PTSD and depression, seeing so many violent incidents, physical fights, the depravity of some humans and what they do to other human beings. I look now and realise its developed a real resilience in me, a real drive and passion to succeed, where if I want something these days I don’t give up, I keep going till I get there. I feel that I have been blessed to have a less than easy life, I have taken that resilience and turned it into an absolute positive for myself.
I looked at my daughter last night and went “wow” here is a kid who at 11 years of age, has had challenges with her mum and dad getting divorced and that really played on my mind for a long time and I was really worried about had I made the right choice for them? have I damaged the girls forever? would it change them forever? and it certainly has changed them, I don’t think that can be avoided, but I have for a long time looked at it and thought it would change them in a negative way. The things that she wrote in this letter to me last night showed me that it had changed her in a very positive way, a strong way and a resilient way and for that I am forever grateful. She is a young person, who has listened to some of the advice I have given her and gone out and found her own way and developed a real resilience, drive and commitment in her own life.
It is about understanding when you hit a tough time in your life, when you hit something that is not easy or come across some adversity, don’t be upset about it, don’t let it break you, let it inspire you, drive you and motivate you to be the best version of you that you can possibly be.
You’re going to strike tough times in your life, you are going to have challenge, the thing is how you let that affect and develop you will absolutely determine your outcomes. I look back through all the PTSD, depression and suicide that I dealt with in the Police and the many other things that have occurred in my life over the years, I look at it now and think I am so grateful for what has occurred because it has allowed me to develop a resilience and a persistence that I would never have had before. The tough part was when I was going through it I certainly didn’t feel that, I wasn’t grateful and I wasn’t happy about it.
Try to see the things that are causing you great difficulty and identify the silver lining in it. You have overcome 100% of the challenges life has put in front of you so far
so just use the law of averages. You have overcome all the challenges and problems thus far then you can certainly overcome any challenge or problem that comes up in the future. It really means you don’t need to be too concerned about the challenges and the problems you strike because you know you will be able to get through them.
When you open yourself up to more education and development you open yourself up to new ways of thinking. When you’re reading books, listening to podcasts, listening to educational material, looking at your own personal development and emotional awareness you arm yourself with the tools, skills and the abilities to be able to turn any negative difficult situation into a positive that can help you develop your own resilience and your own ability to be able to move forward no matter what happens.
These can be small challenges or huge challenges, it doesn’t matter what the size or the intensity of the challenge is, nothing can stop you in your life just because of who you are, I absolutely believe that for every human. The difference from people who “recover” from difficult times and the people who don’t, the people who recover are the ones prepared to feel the pain, feel the emotion, go through it, deal with it and move on.
I look at the graduation last night, it was quite emotional, I shed many tears at different times because of just how beautiful the kids were, the impact that they had on their teacher, the words my daughter wrote in her letter were beautiful and really tugged at my heart. I wear my heart on my sleeve I am an emotional person. I was in the moment of that experience, thinking to myself it wouldn’t have been that many years ago, I would have been so embarrassed and felt weakness and felt that I was a fool because boys don’t cry and all that sort of bullshit. Last night I just embraced how fortunate am I, how lucky am I that I can feel this emotion so deeply for my children and for the experience they are in and the joy we are experiencing together is amazing.
When you can take things you might perceive to be a negative, like I always used to perceive being a very emotional person as an absolute negative, now I look at it as a real positive, it means that I can really feel the things in my life that happen to me, enjoy the moments, enjoy the great times, and enjoy the dark tough times. Even when things are tough I still very much embrace that and move through it. That is how you are going to build your resilience and your resolve to keep moving forward to be able to overcome the difficulties in your life, feel the pain, feel the emotion, feel what it is to be in that difficult place and use that as the fuel and the fire to push you forward to keep moving through your life.
If your afraid to feel the fear, feel the pain, feel the emotion, you are just pushing it down and eventually it has got to come out somehow, that may be through a nervous breakdown, or you get to the point of suicide. I absolutely believe that it can also manifest itself in disease like cancer and different things in your body. If you’re not going to deal with the pain, the difficulty and the challenges in life, or you just push them down or avoid them at all cost, then you are really doing yourself a massive disservice, because you are not actually allowing yourself to learn, grow and evolve. Look around all parts of your life, where are the challenges? where are the difficulties? where are the obstacles? where are the things you’ve been avoiding? things that you find so challenging that you don’t want to be in? Look at all those areas and see how you can embrace them, learn from them, evolve through them and make yourself a far better human.
Why does NASA choose the astronauts that have had the difficulties and the challenges in their life, because they know that they have the resilience and resolve to be able to solve any situation and move forward, therefore if they are in space and things are going to shit, they know they can find a way to make it work, they are not going to fall in a heap and not be able to cope.
For you, life is the same, the more smaller hits that you experience, embrace and take on, the more prepared you will be for the bigger hits and the better you will be able to evolve and work through things so you don’t end up in difficult situations where you fall apart.