Tag Archives: resilience

Make It Easy On Yourself

30 April 2010, by A. Cedilla

“Sure, go ahead. Take the easy way out.” At one point or another in your life, I’m positive either you’ve said this to someone, or had someone say this to you.

Taking the easy way out paints you as a slacker, a shirker, a lazy-assed Captain Slacktastic unwilling and unable to step up and do the job. It’s simply unacceptable — Un-American, even. But what do you think happens when you turn this idea on its head?

Hard work is not the only way to go – of course, hard work is unavoidable and, but smart work is what’s needed too. Know yourself.

  • If you’re the type who works best in short bursts of energy, accept it and work with it. There’s no point to forcing yourself to slog through hours of half-hearted effort.
  • If you feel exhausted and burnt-out, then by all means ease up, it’s counterproductive to work harder. Many people have high levels of energy, it goes to follow that there are also many people with low levels of energy. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just the way you’re wired. Accept it and work with it.
  • If you’re excitable and get distracted easily, then you can try and arrange a quiet, distraction-free place to work, whatever lets you do what you need.
  • If you perform better at certain times of the day (or night), work with it. Night-owls and early birds have their spots in the schedule, know when you’re at your best in the day and use that time for the high-value tasks.

Continue reading Make It Easy On Yourself

Good Foundations Are Built At The Start

April 2010, by A. Cedilla

But what if they weren’t?

Experience and history has shown us that the best time to establish a good foundation –for life, for everything– is at the beginning. But history has also show us many, many examples of people who’ve grown up among horrendous conditions and, managing to defy all expectations, went on to live productive, generous lives.

Not everyone is lucky enough to be born to or grow up within a life where they’ll be assured of the most basic necessities, or get a stable, loving family, or live in an environment that’s safe and reliable.

If life dealt you a bad hand, it’s up to you to decide how to play it. If you feel that it’s too late to start, it’s not. As long as you’re still breathing, you can start over. That’s the good thing about being able to change your mind, and we mean that literally, as well as figuratively.

Researchers have estimated it takes about about 4 to 5 weeks, on average, for a person to fully adjust to a new habit. That covers the difficult first few days, and all the times you have to talk yourself into getting up and keeping at it. It also covers the inevitable slips, and the periods where you gain a sense of quiet accomplishment that you managed to stick to it for longer than you thought.

You can start strengthening your foundations now. You can establish a stable structure that can stand you in good stead for a long time, for the rest of you life.

To do it, you’ll need compassion, fortitude, commitment and discipline, as well as a certain cold-bloodedness — let’s call it detachment — to make the changes you need. Plus, you’ll have to get some attitude adjustments.
Continue reading Good Foundations Are Built At The Start

The Value Of Limits

30 March 2010, by A. Cedilla

Decades of Western thinking have influenced our belief that “the sky’s the limit.” Nothing’s impossible if you work at it hard enough, long enough, and you don’t give up.

For the most part, amazing feats of engineering and scientific breakthroughs seemed to prove this belief true…

Until time revealed the cracks in the facade: unexpected and tragic side-effects, damaging environmental consequences, and a host of long-term issues no one could have foreseen.

On a more personal level, we still have a stubborn tendency to cling to this belief. Limits are for other people, the one’s not willing to do what it took to succeed. Limits were for losers.

Here’s the thing: Limits can free us.

The belief that limits were made to be pushed, broken, and conquered breaks things down into an either-or equation: you either push your limits or you don’t. Either it’s good or bad, black or white, loser or winner.

Life is never that cut-and-dried. This kind of simplistic thinking can only go so far in helping us deal with everything that life throws at us.
Continue reading The Value Of Limits

Perception and Maslow’s Hammer 2

17 March 2010, by A. Cedilla

Coming in from part one:

How you deal with your goals and problems shows how you see things. It’s like the cake or icing question. Do you tend to want the sweet stuff first and the hard stuff later, or do it the other way ’round, or do you mix the two?

And if you want to change this, can you do it for the long-term?

Try things from a different angle of approach. You can accomplish stuff using any one of these approaches singly –at least other than what you normally do– or mix and match.

The combinations and permutations are fascinating — in terms of requiring your attention, and helping you think differently– and if you embrace the new insights the process can give you, ultimately life-changing.

Of course, it would be difficult at first when you adjust your well-worn reactions to problem solving, but that’s just it.

If you’ve gotten used to solving problems using one approach — hammering them down, so to speak — you might think you’re getting into the groove. Hitting the sweet spot. Getting into the rhythm.
Continue reading Perception and Maslow’s Hammer 2

Perception and Maslow’s Hammer

15 March 2010, by A. Cedilla

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail…”
Abraham Maslow

Today we’ll be using this old saying as a jump-off point for this 2-part article on changing your perspective. I hope after you’ve read the article that follows, you can come away with different tools — other than a hammer — with which you can use in making your life better. Ready?

How we deal with things (goals, problems and issues, to be more specific) are usually decided after we file them under one of the following general classifications: Things You Do Not Want (DNW)and What You Do Want (WYDW). We tend to avoid one, and welcome the other.

Do you have an idea of what your current DNW’s and WYDW’s are?

Get 2 different colored pens and a blank sheet of paper, a big one.

Set your timer for a minute and a half. Free associate, doodle, scribble, jot, whatever, just capture your DNW’s first, using one color of ink.

  • You don’t need to make an orderly list-list, you’re not going to the supermarket — you can write all over the page, just leave space between every item.
  • You don’t have to censor yourself, nobody’s watching. And ignore the hecklers in the back of your head.
  • You have 90 seconds to catch your DNW’s, big or small. Go.

Continue reading Perception and Maslow’s Hammer

Nobody Plans For Failure

30 November 2009, by A. Cedilla

“Failure is not an option.”
Assorted characters in countless action movies.

Q: “I’ve always tried to teach you two things. First, never let them see you bleed.”
James Bond: “And the second ?”
Q: “Always have an escape plan.”
The incomparable Desmond Llewelyn, as Q, in The World Is Not enough, 1999


Movies are an excellent source of memorable quotes, as well as providing bountiful fodder for the imagination.

Admit it, we imagine ourselves as heroes all the time. Saving the day, living the high life, triumphing over incredible odds…it’s great. And it can set us up for disappointment.

Imagination is vital in injecting passion and power into any life, but sometimes, relying too much on its positive side can leave you with too-high expectations, which just makes for a longer fall. (Insert timely slogan here: ” I’m not a pessimist, I’m a REALIST.”)

Think about it. In all your wildest imaginings and most earnest visualization exercises, did you every really see yourself failing? Of course you’d have back-ups and alternates up the wazoo, but did you ever hit the wall of Dammit-this-CAN’T-be-happening and just — stop? Continue reading Nobody Plans For Failure

Bounce – 11 Tips on Being Resilient

02 June 2009, by Ariadne Cedilla

Whether you’re a still-jobless new graduate, a determined semi-young single trying to make money by striking out on your own, a near-retiree under the axe, or the anxious parent of a one (or two) parent household needing to make ends meet , here are a few tips on how you can make sure you build up your resilience under the strain of living in these trying times:

Physical resilience:

  • If you’re in shape, congratulations.Keep at it. If you’re not, take baby steps and keep going. A body that has been ignored for years cannot change appreciably overnight(without surgery), or even in a week. Don’t sabotage yourself physically by going all out and then hurting yourself, or financially by spending money on expensive equipment that will only gather dust in a corner. Consult a doctor to get an accurate idea of your baseline and some exercise suggestions, then start a simple regimen you can sustain. Key words: Simple and sustainable.
  • Wash your hands frequently. This is the simplest and most effective way method you can use to ward off the invisible nasties that are everywhere, in the air, on the seats in public transportation, car handles, door knobs, etc.
  • Have a relaxation ritual. There are stretching and deep-breathing exercises you can look up that can release tension in your shoulders and lower back (a common place we store stress). When you’re as tense as a drawn bowstring, throttle back and stretch. Take a walk if you feeling like throwing things. It’ll save you from a possible lawsuit by removing yourself from temptation (and possible targets)and the exercise can clear your head.
  • Have an encouragement ritual. Keep mementos or pictures of special memories and triumphs in a photo-album or a memory box, whether actual or virtual, to remind you that this moment may suck, but it won’t be forever. You’ve survived worse, this Now is just another thing you’ll live through. Whenever you feel down and tired and very small, look at your memory box/album to remember what really counts.

Continue reading Bounce – 11 Tips on Being Resilient