From the moment we’re born, we begin to develop resilience.
Think back to when you were a child and you stubbed your toe; at the time, it was the worst pain you could possibly imagine because, in the context of your comprehension of pain, it was some of the worst you’d ever felt. Now, as an adult, it still hurts horribly when it happens, but we no longer fall on the ground sobbing because of a hurt toe. Over the years, through scraped knees, bruised shins, broken bones, and paper cuts, you’ve become more resilient to pain and more easily able to handle it when it happens in minor forms.
The same way that our history with pain shapes our ability to cope with it, so do our life experiences help better equip us to handle similar ones further in the future.
The first experience is always the strongest, always the scariest because it’s new; it’s foreign and unfamiliar. We can feel exposed and vulnerable, but through practice and through experience we learn to cope with these situations and bounce back more easily.
Think back to your first business call. Think back to your first board meeting, your first client interaction, the first time you met your boss. Anxiety pumped through your veins and you felt terrified at the prospect of reaching this first milestone. Look at yourself now. How many of the things that terrified you at the beginning have become daily routines and feel like second nature to you? How much more resilient have you become?
By falling down and getting back up again,we learn that, while there is certainly pain to be felt, it’s not so insurmountable that you cannot overcome it. You begin to look at each event in the context of your whole life and become more clearly able to tell yourself, “If I could overcome X, Y, and Z when I never thought I’d be able to, why should the next challenge be any different?” Don’t equate falling down with failing; rather, look at the past times you fell and were able to get yourself back on your feet, and remind yourself that if you did it before, you can do it again.