Last night as I was laying in a cheap Seattle hotel room, I was a ball of restless nerves. After a tiring day of flying across the country, all flights to the Island had been canceled – thanks to an adorable snowstorm. My frugal hotel had obviously saved loads of money by purchasing giant showerheads rather than investing in soundproofing so, at 9pm, I was thrust away from my first deep sleep in 24 hrs by the people above me who were, get this, walking around their hotel room!!! I remember feeling so frustrated I actually considered calling the front desk and demanding they tell my *#*#*% neighbors to stop moving. It was a perfectly reasonable request at the time but I’m glad I left the phone alone. That said, I didn’t leave the matter alone and my frustration and anxiety won out. I would toss and turn for the next 4 hrs before finally drifting off at 145am only to be rudely awakened 3 hrs later by my selfish alarm clock. Since then, my flight has been delayed twice and at the time of this writing, I’m sitting in an airport complaining to you rather than sitting at home, complaining to my wife. Again.
Stress, challenge, and unplanned obstacles are coming whether we like it or not. We can dread them, try to avoid them, freak out when they arrive or my personal favorite -stay awake and try and control them. Or, we can see them as training for when the real shit hits the fan.
Resilience is confidence that we can handle it. Whatever “it” is. Unfortunately, the only way to gain this resilience is to go through shit. While no one is a fan of shit, the shit will hit the fan. If not today, tomorrow. When we lay awake at night and stress about the inevitable shit hitting the inevitable fan, we experience frustration. And anxiety. That’s right, we pre-fret. It sounds insane but we’re pros at it. I think I can speak for all of us when I say, fretting sucks. It sucks to experience and it really sucks as a strategy to try and deal with our shitty life 🙂 If only there was a better way?
It turns out this is the better way.
So.. next time your:
is canceled… Instead of becoming a ball of frustration and nerves, see this set back as resilience training and wrap your sweaty palms around it. Anxiety hates this awkward embrace and it will be out of there before you can say, “You incomplete me.” I eventually performed this hug last night and wouldn’t you know it, I fell right asleep. If only I had practiced what I often preach, earlier.
Life is pain, says Wesley.
True. But that doesn’t mean it has to hurt.