Thursday, March 16, 2017

What makes resilience? Can it be learned?

When I think of my own attributes, resilience is probably my most treasured.  It is what gets me back up when I've suffered a setback.  I don't consider it an option to slink away and put my tail between my legs, instead, I get on with things, but with more knowledge than before.  It's my grit, my core, and the very key to my success in every aspect of my life.

Resilience is a tough thing to learn.  But I believe it is a learn-able skill, and I certainly didn't always have it as strongly as I do now.  These are the things I think build resilience:

Resilience can come from mental preparation - even just knowing what could potentially go wrong can help buffer against things going wrong, surprise can be a nasty emotion.  Looking only at what you hope will go right leaves you vulnerable to shock and rebound decision-making.  Not good.

Resilience can come from being financially prepared - a realistic budget for vacancies, maintenance, willful damage, and improvements goes a long way to being able to weather bad tenancy moments or Murphy's Law moments.  You don't need to have cash, but you need to know where you can get it when things go wrong without digging an impossibly big hole.

Resilience can come from having support, a network of people who understand what you are going through, and have been in a similar place themselves, and got through it rather than gave up.  It pays to hang out with the successful group, rather than those who ended up where you don't want to.  I recommend your local Property Investors' Association for this peer group.

Resilience can come from not being too hard on yourself - mistakes are an education, it's not the end of the world.  If something doesn't work right now, there is still time on your side to make it better, or try again with a different strategy.  If other people look to be more successful, it's because you are only looking at them in this moment, not at the time they stumbled.  Everyone stumbles from time to time, it's how you pick yourself up that matters to your long term success.

Resilience comes from having a good insurance policy to cover your risks.  Don't believe "it won't happen to me"; that's what people who lose everything think.  Insurance is the best waste of money ever.  If you don't need it, fantastic.  If you do need to claim, fantastic!  It's great you have cover.  The only insurance policy not to have is the one for the things you won't regret losing.  It isn't an optional outgoing.

Resilience comes from having experts do things for you that need expertise.  While we all live in houses, we don't know all aspects of the laws around this, and a sometimes innocent mistake can have serious ramifications.  If you don't know what these are, then you don't know enough to do this yourself.

Resilience comes from having a plan, and sticking to it.  It has a clear beginning (acquisition and or growth), middle (development and/or improvement), and end phase (maturity and/or disposal), and rules for what to do when things happen.  Those rules are not to be broken under any circumstances.  They take into account 'what if we break up' and 'what if we win lotto' and 'what if we are a lot more successful at this than we expect to be' and 'what if we are not'.  It is essentially a space shuttle launch manual.  Clear protocols and a systematic program to work though without deviance will lead to a successful launch.  There are clear triggers for change, and an understanding of the need to pause before pressing the big red button to ask yourself "is the right thing to do?".  Of course you can change as technology changes or your knowledge improves, but you don't change on a whim or out of fear.

Resilience comes from recognizing fear for what it is - False Expectations Appearing Real.  Fear makes bad decisions because those decisions are based on bad data.  Being able to identify your concerns and check the facts on them one at a time can help overcome fear.  If you find you are thinking 'but I still don't like it' then check what assumptions you are still making.  This is different from following your gut instinct - if you trust your gut, you'll know how fear feels, and how it differs from instinct or intuition.

Resilience comes from knowing your comfort with risk, and not dangling too far outside your comfort zone.  By all means challenge yourself, but not by jumping off a cliff if you are scared of standing on a chair.  Small increments of challenge will bring your A-game, too much will be a disaster.  Don't gamble what you are not prepared to lose, it doesn't make for sensible decisions - see insurance again for more on this.

Resilience comes from remembering that 'I've survived every single day of my life so far, and I will continue to survive every day until my end'.  Giving up isn't an option yet.

Resilience comes from knowing you are loved and supported by family and friends and colleagues.  If you aren't loved and supported, something needs to change.  It's easier to change yourself than them, so start there.  Invest time in people who nurture you, avoid those who poison.

Resilience comes from knowing you did your best, and if you had your time over, you wouldn't regret any of your actions.  Regret isn't helpful, learning from mistakes is.  Behaving ethically, honestly, genuinely is the best way to be at peace with yourself and your choices, and allow you to accept the outcomes.  If there is something after this existence, you wont be worried about how you might be judged.  (As an aside:  I prefer to think this existence is heaven, and we need to behave ethically to be allowed to continue living in paradise, otherwise it becomes your own private hell.  Food for thought).

Resilience comes from knowing I have the power to make change - I am influential on my world, and I can make things happen, or prevent them happening, if I take appropriate actions.  It's motivation to do what must be done.

Resilience comes from freedom - I am not oppressed, silenced, controlled, or discriminated against, unless I allow myself to be.  I allow myself to be free, and I allow others to be free, they can do, think, and feel whatever they want to.

There are probably a lot more things that build resilience - feel free to comment with what you feel makes you resilient to what life brings.  You are welcome to disagree with my comments too.

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