On Resilience

Did you ever think of deleting your work?

I do.

Often.

There’s a way through this swamp of sadness (that’s A Neverending Story reference, by the way), and it starts with resilience. Resilience, as defined, is an ability to bounce back from difficulties, often emotional. Resilience is something that has to be rebuilt into a person because, believe it or not, as kids we were really good at it.

As adults, we suck.

Take for example the problem of learned helplessness. I went through a whole slew of posts on motivation and how learned helplessness can kill a person’s desire to move forward with a project. But if that helplessness is not dealt with in an effective manner, there is little doubt that resilience will suffer.

Think of a rubber band for a moment.

It is elastic.

It is resilient.

Now, stick that rubber band in the sun for a few days and bake it.

Resilient?

The longer the rubber band is in the sun, the more brittle it becomes. When you try to pull on it after a few weeks, it will probably break.

That sun is like the negative reviews or poor sales you might see as an author. It bakes your brain and turns your resilience into a brittle round thing of rubber. When a person pulls on it after a while, it’ll break.

Ray Bradbury once said that writing is like jumping off a cliff and building your wings on the way down. He later admitted that as a youngster growing up and writing, he was awful. So what made him continue to write?

Resilience, or something he called “a love of writing.”

Building back the resilience you had as a kid takes time and effort. You can’t do it by snapping your fingers (or buying a new rubber band). You have to take it one step at a time.

This post has some tips.

Here’s the gist of it all, though: You have to enjoy the trip down the cliff as you build your wings.

A sage once told me to walk toward the horizon and not to stop until I got there.

I haven’t tried it yet, but I get the point.

Keep walking. Enjoy the journey. You’ll get there.

Stephen Crane (who I think I may have been in a past life) said this regarding resilience and the need to keep walking:

I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this;
I accosted the man.
“It is futile,” I said,
“You can never —”

“You lie,” he cried,
And ran on.

Morla, the Ancient One

Morla, the Ancient One

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One comment on “On Resilience

  1. I think we’ve all been through this at one time or another. The key is to get through it, to keep moving, not to stop and wallow in it. I did that once for an extended period and wish I could go back and change it, but what’s done is done.
    Just keep chasing that horizon.

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