Resiliency is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulty and adversity, and resiliency is often the most important variable impacting the likelihood whether one succeeds or fails at a given task. Resiliency is also known as toughness, and it can be strengthened and developed similar to muscles in the body. When we are resilient, we accept that stress, adversity, frustration, are human life experiences, but we also realize that we can work our way through these conditions and enjoy success again in the future.
Do the next thing best
When we understand that we do not control every aspect of the world around us, we can accept that not every day will go our way. What this means is that even with the best life preparation there will always be factors beyond our control, like an unexpected injury for an athlete, or being furloughed from work because of an ongoing pandemic. When faced with stress, adversity, frustration, and failure, what do you do? Do you succumb to the negative circumstances, or instead respond in healthier and more effective ways? The choice we make in these critical moments will largely dictate the level of success that will follow, making this a very important decision.
When faced with adversity, successful people immediately begin to look at the options available, and weigh those options in order to choose the best future path. Quitting is not an option, so they methodically examine the potential outcomes for each option. When a decision is eventually made, emotions, thoughts, and energy are pulled together and strategies are directed toward the problem at hand. Here, at this very juncture in the problem-solving challenge, a very powerful strategy can be implemented:
Do the next thing best
Simple, concise, direct. Rather than wasting time and energy complaining about what has already happened (and can’t be changed), the healthier and more effective approach is to fully engage in future efforts. So, what is the “next” thing? For an injured athlete, it might be developing a rehabilitation program and fully complying to physical therapy. For a furloughed worker, it might be taking on a temporary job until the pandemic passes. Is “doing the next thing best” easy? Of course not! But what are the alternatives and likely outcomes? If an injured athlete doesn’t successfully rehabilitate, his career is almost certain to be over. If a recently laid off worker doesn’t accept these tough conditions and look for other means to temporarily earn a living, much bigger problems loom.
So, what is the “next” thing?
Do the next thing best is intentionally simple, so simple that it can sometimes lead to temporary inactivity while thinking out what exactly is “next?” If you are frustrated, the “next” thing might be working on your attitude so that you first accept what has happened — even if what happened was unfair. If your attitude is healthy, the “next” thing might be sitting down to develop a game plan to address your current adversity. And if you have what you need to address the problem, your “next” might be culling your energy and giving full effort to the first problem-solving step.
It is also important to note that you narrow your focus to what really comes “next,” and not get too far ahead in your thinking. By taking a step-by-step approach, and fully devoting your time and attention to each step, you will give yourself the absolute best chance for future success.
When it comes to adversity, we have choices relating to how we respond. We can ignore what is happening, or we can fully engage in problem-solving and do so by putting our best effort into every step. Energy is unnecessarily wasted complaining and blaming about bad luck when you could be directing your efforts toward improving upon things by having a healthy, positive attitude. Practice doing the next thing best, and the likelihood for positive future outcomes will increase dramatically.