Resilience Lesson from the High Seas

| May 12, 2014 | 0 Comments

Human beings have the unique ability to bounce back from the toughest life challenges: health disasters such as addiction that destroys personal and professional lives, job and career loss, relationship landslides, growing up poor and neglected, and even the compounded effect of many of these events happening simultaneously. Resilience is one of those human dynamics that sets people apart. It really is one of the mysteries of life: some have it, some do not; some mature into a state of resilience, some will not. Life just is.

A simple definition of resilience: the ability to cope with adversity and bounce back stronger than ever despite getting knocked down by life’s challenges. One thing is certain: we can all learn to become resilient through our own trials and tribulations as well as through the stories from others who have experienced the toughest of life battles. Some people just have it and we cannot explain why. It seems like the resilience characteristic is in their DNA.

One example of someone with inborn resilience that stands strong in my mind: my Grandfather, Skipper Michael Joseph Bruce. The valuable lessons I learned from this original life mentor and my “Jim Rohn” were solid. Skipper Bruce left formal school at age eight to go and work with his father on the high seas. He became self-educated, learning to read and write along the way with the help of his father and mother. Fishing was the main industry in Newfoundland at that time and he told me on several occasions that he was sea sick for 7 years until he got his “sea legs.” Imagine throwing up every day for seven years straight! We cannot fathom or begin to understand the life of fisherman on the schooners in the early part of the 20th century.

Skipper Bruce “bounced back” until the laws of gravity and life worked in his favor. After acquiring his sea legs, he eventually became skipper on his father’s schooner. They survived many storms in the North Atlantic Ocean, the world’s most treacherous ocean. In those days, resilience was a common theme. Some days there were great catches, other days not so great. The foundational ideas learned from such a resilient man are extremely applicable to life. We will share more of these with you in the coming months. Keep on keeping on, and remember sometimes we have to go through seven years of hardship to reach a desired lifelong goal. All that matters is that we keep bouncing back, using our life lessons to catapult us forward. Absolutely.

Paul M. White

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Paul White, Work-Life Balance and Mental Health Expert Helping You Catch Life Balance and Create Greater Results!

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