Happy Memorial Day

“Nothing endures but change.” — Heraclitus

Monday, 7:35 a.m.
Boulder, CO

Today is Memorial Day. It is a day to remember and honor all of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country. It is a reminder of the price we must sometimes pay to protect and keep alive what we hold dear. If we are willing to die for what we believe in and value, then there is not a single person in this world who can control us. There is not a person who can take away our freedom.

Freedom is a state of mind. Even prisoned within a cell a man (or woman) may still count himself as free. CHANGE may, and often does, feel like a prison, keeping us from what we really want. We find ourselves blaming the world and other people for our lot in life. Many of us are imprisoned by our minds while we walk freely through our lives. While others are totally free though confined to a 6 by 6 cell.

Change can be our greatest difficulty or greatest opportunity. It all depends on how we look at it. To the resilient mind, change is opportunity. It is not to be feared. It is to be embraced.

“If you don’t like the weather, then just wait ten minutes.”

If you live in Colorado, then you’ve most likely heard this phrase or something like it. The same is true with life, with one great difference. As individuals, we have no influence over the weather, yet we have a great deal of power and choice as to how we direct our life. Therefore we need not wait ten minutes; we can create our own weather right now.

If you don’t want to think about oranges, think about bananas.

This is the hallmark of a resilient mind. The ability to direct ones thinking despite the mayhem and confusion all around. Resilience is not just against the bad, but the good too. A resilient mind does not become overly distracted by the bad or the good. The mind that is engulfed in unrealistic optimism, is just as weak as the mind that is dwarfed by unrealistic pessimism.

To develop a resilient mind we must learn to reframe; we must learn to view every situation, every encounter, every mistake as an opportunity to learn and to grow. Your boss yelling at you for something you didn’t do, is an opportunity to find common ground. Your teen missing curfew, again, is an opportunity to discover more about yourself, your fears and your emotions. Dropping the ball and costing your team a championship, is an opportunity to learn about how you handle failure.

One reason it is so difficult to maintain an even keel is that we have grown accustomed to external validation of our own self-worth. One of the greatest benefits of a resilient mind is that we develop a high self-regard for ourselves. In other words, we don’t need other people to tell us how great we are. In fact a resilient mind and high self-regard are foils to one another. With a resilient mind we don’t let little things, or big things, keep us from doing what we want. As a result we try more and we do more and thus overall we are more successful. This feeling of success feeds our feelings of self-worth which gives us the courage to try and do more.

In the end we keep expanding. We keep growing and developing as a person. A resilient mind creates more opportunities because it is not afraid of failing.

Sun Tsu, in the Art of War, wrote

“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.”

The person with the resilient mind, garners more opportunities and thus more recognition, more wealth, more everything, exactly because she is not afraid to make a mistake. She is not afraid to fail. Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs in a season and he set a league record in strikeouts the same year. He didn’t do that with a non-resilient mind. He didn’t do that because he was afraid to strike out or he was afraid of making others look bad. He did it because he believed in himself and because he wasn’t afraid to risk looking like a failure.

“‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?… Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine…” Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love, pp. 190-191

The person with a resilient mind handles the ever changing world by controlling his (or her) thoughts, reframing the world, having internal measures for success and not being afraid to fail. Our nation was founded on these principles. The founding fathers would not have gotten far if they lacked the resolution  of a resilient mind. On this special day let us pay tribute to our fallen brothers and sisters who have given their lives so we can enjoy the opportunities and abundance we so richly deserve.

Semper Fidelis — Always Fatihful

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