I Can Do Hard Things

Amy Bell Yoga Wellness Wellbeing Lifestyle Blog

“Don’t aim to be perfect.

Aim to be antifragile.”

(Nassim Taleb)

Many of us are familiar with “grit” attributes: courage, resilience, perseverance and adaptability, but I recently came across a new term “Antifragile”.

“Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness.  The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”  Nassim Taleb

Learning this fired me up, thinking I want to be more Antifragile.  If we are capable of learning, growing and getting better from something tough we’ve done or experienced, then isn’t this the best way forward?

I find even when we just plant a seed of something in our psyche we are more likely to be reminded of it when certain situations trigger it.  Recently, when I have found something challenging I think of this attribute, as it is present in my current thinking, and therefore it helps me rise to the challenge.  As opposed to ‘defeat’ which is a seed not currently planted in the forefront of my mind.

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
(A. A. Milne)

For us to be more Antifragile, it would seem that we need to gravitate towards the sphere of self belief and optimism.  Which leads me to the conviction of…

"I CAN DO HARD THINGS."

I love this mantra, I was introduced to it by Glennon Doyle (author of ‘Untamed’).  I find it’s a perfect mantra for those moments when one’s Antifragility is called upon.  

Let us never forget we CAN do hard things, even though it may be rubbish, upsetting or difficult at the time.  The words of Eleanor Roosevelt come to mind.

"A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water."

We have all done hard things, life requires us to do so, and we shouldn’t compare ourselves to what others have endured/or are enduring, as it can lead us to invalidating our own experiences.  Plus people’s strengths lie in different areas and everyone’s growth looks different, so there really is no comparison.

EXERCISE 1.

List 3 hard things you've done/gone through, recently or in the past.

For each answer write 3 ways you have grown in a positive way.

Reflect upon these attributes/outcomes, take them onboard and own them.

When you are next faced with a new challenge draw upon them to help you along.

“Research has found that up to 70% of people experience positive psychological growth from difficult times, such as a deeper sense of self and purpose, a greater appreciation for life and loved ones, and an increased capacity for altruism, empathy and desire to act for the greater good. While the transition from old to new was natural for the mythical creature, in the real world we can learn how to change and grow no matter the obstacles we face.” *

EXERCISE 2.

Think of one thing you are currently finding challenging.

Write three ways you would like to grow from this experience.

Keep them in mind and next time your doubt, anxiety or fears creep in repeat (aloud/internally) "I CAN DO HARD THINGS".

Try as best as you can to stay in this growth mindset.

For those Yogi’s and Yogini’s among you, next time you are having a hard moment when practising yoga, remember that challenges are a springboard, an opportunity to move forwards, not backwards.  

Through rising up and persevering on the mat you can become stronger, more flexible, more mobile, more skilled with the postures, more balanced, more agile, more focussed, more connected to your breath and body, more aware (physically & mentally), more compassionate (towards self & others), more energized, more relaxed, more clear-sighted, more empowered and so much more!

Next, the challenge is to take all that development and inspiration into your daily lives, and not leave it behind on the mat.  It’s easy to go back to our baseline and habitual ways which is why application and integration is key, but it does take some effort.

 
“As much as talent counts, effort counts twice.”
(Angela Duckworth)

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