YOU DO YOU
The Boy Scouts may have claimed the motto, “be prepared,” but you know who else lives by that credo every second of every day?
That’s right; you do.
While you can’t possibly anticipate everything that’s going to come your way, you can strengthen your resilience, the foundational skill you need to deal with anything that comes your way.
Here are a few ways to mobilize a resilient response to pretty much anything:
Talk to yourself. When something comes up, calmly ask yourself non-judgmental questions, such as:
- What’s the most helpful/useful thing I can do in this situation?
- What are all the possible solutions?
- What outcome do I want to get to?
- Who do I know with expertise related to this issue?
- How long may I allow myself to think about options before acting?
These questions produce more productive sparks than judgmental questions, such as, “Whose fault is this?” or “Why did this happen?”.
Plus, taking the initiative to guide your thought process helps you avoid ruminating
— chewing on negatives until you’re caught in a pattern of inaction and anxiety.
Laugh at your stress
. Part of being prepared for anything is having the ability to temper your negative emotional reactions to anything.
In Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges
, authors Steven Southwick and Dennis Charney point to studies on several different groups, from combat veterans to cancer patients, that suggest humor might actually expand stress tolerance.
Humor breaks stress’s hold on you, freeing you to think clearly and make smart decisions.
Don’t act immediately
. In Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done
, David Allen discusses the virtues of slowing down, even when a crisis gives you a terrifying sense of urgency.
Tell that sense of urgency to take a chill pill. You need time to think about a viable solution.
Create a toolbox
. Resilience may be mental, but even those with the coolest heads need the right tools. Here are some examples of what other resilient EAs keep in their toolboxes: extra device chargers, eyeglass repair kits, batteries, energy bars, super glue, spare socks, eye drops, sprayable deodorant, multi-purpose greeting cards, spare gifts and swag, stamps, and spare sunglasses.