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Developing resilience leads to success

Some years ago it was all the rage to put a bumper sticker on one’s car. These bore all sorts of slogans and one-liners, some serious others just a bit of fun. I remember a particularly beaten up and rusty car in our neighbourhood which was practically held together by bumper stickers. Mercifully, as time passed the practice of plastering these stickers all over the back of cars diminished somewhat, and these days it is at far more acceptable levels.
It wasn’t all bad, however, and there are two pieces of ‘bumper sticker wisdom’ which have stuck with me over the years, that I would like to share with you.
The first is: “HAPPINESS ISN’T HAVING WHAT YOU WANT, IT’S WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE”.
In times which seem to be exponentially more materialistic, and where increasingly success and status are defined through possessions, it is healthy to remember that great happiness can be derived from simple things. As parents, we can be placed under enormous pressure to keep up with the “Jones’s“. “But everyone has one…” we are told. “I won’t have friends if I don’t…”.
We suffer a barrage of “needs” from our young people relating to everything from cell phones and electronic toys to sports equipment and clothes. Not to mention the expectations around events like birthday parties and holidays.
We do tomorrow’s leaders no favours by buckling to this pressure. It is an essential part of growing up to learn the lesson that success is born of hard work, and that things worth having are worth working for, whether they be possessions, positions or relationships. We do them no harm by helping them to value what they already have before they cast it aside and race on to acquire more. We do them no harm by helping them to be more discerning about their choices and recognising that there are consequence and permanence to the choices they are making. Successful adults have learned that you cannot discard a relationship because it is not working properly, or simply turn our backs on a position if it bores us.
We do them a great deal of good by helping them to begin to distinguish between “needs” and “wants”, and discerning what is “nice to have” from what is “essential”.
The second is: ”NO RAIN, NO RAINBOW”.
It is unreasonable to expect that there will be no hardship in life. Indeed, the tough times often seem to lead on to much better ones, if we persevere. We do our young people no good by rescuing them as soon as the road gets a little rough. By allowing them to face up to the rain, helping them to prepare for the inevitable difficulties they will face, we allow them to take a step toward adulthood. Every time we step in too soon and rescue them, we rob them of the opportunity to turn things around in their lives. We hamper their progress toward independence and self-actualisation.

These challenges not only prepare young people for the future, but it is in how they deal with them that sets them on the right paths for their future successes. In order to reach the peaks we must first traverse the valleys- that’s what makes the view worthwhile!
It is through our exposure to adversity, and our eventual mastery of that adversity, that we develop the resilience which is an essential ingredient of success.

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