How to Build Resilience: What to Do to Prepare for Hardship

by Feb 18, 2021

Resilience is the “get back up” attitude many preach when their friends face hardship. But what is a man supposed to do to become more prepared for the next time hardship strikes?

There’s nothing wrong with the “it’s never too late to get back up again” way of thinking. But some people treat resilience as if it’s something temporal or only necessary at the moment it’s needed. The truth is, a man can never be too resilient. Each and everyday demands our resilience (some more than others). 

But why is resilience important? 

Back in July of 2020, I was “canceled.” I lost friends, was fired from my job, and even got kicked out of a few churches I regularly volunteered and participated in events. 

That nearly ruined me as a man. But it didn’t. You know why? Because I didn’t let it. That’s why resilience is important. 

That’s why it must be built into your life. Not because you’ll get canceled, but because when hardship strikes, someone has to do the heavy lifting and make it out alive. That someone is you. 

There are natural ways to build resilience. Though, the natural way requires you to experience hardship and push through it as they happen. A man looking to build his resilient nature shouldn’t wish hardship on himself in order to grow. 

While hardship is a catalyst for growth, it is not the only medium required to change your life. But resilience isn’t so much so the effort to change your life; instead, it’s your ability to face adversity and come out alive when it’s all said and done. 

So, in what ways can you build resilience in your life without wishing hardship on yourself to make it happen?

Become More Disciplined

Yes, disciplined. The idea here is to become used to doing things you don’t want to do but know you need to do when you don’t want to do them because resilience requires discipline. When hardship strikes, you are only allotted so much time before you have to go back to work. 

But, there are some hardships that completely derail us when they happen. We lose motivation, drive, and passion. We don’t want to do anything. We don’t want to perform or fulfill our roles. 

That’s when discipline comes in. 

It keeps you grounded. When you are disciplined, you know what to do, how to do it, and when it needs to be done. Sometimes clinging to your schedule or routine is the only way you’ll get through some days. 

Though, discipline goes deeper than just a schedule. Discipline teaches you that pain and doing things that make you uncomfortable are good. It’s just as much a mindset as it is a lifestyle. When it comes to hardship, your disciplined mentality and lifestyle remind you there is a way through this, and often times it involves embracing the pain. 

In order to become more disciplined, you need to make decisions and lifestyle choices that benefit you but aren’t inherently easy to pursue. That’s one reason so many men pick up weight lifting. It isn’t easy, but it’s healthy, and over time, you learn to love the pain. 

You can also practice discipline by setting up a morning and night routine. Read a book, write in a journal, pray, meditate, so long as it encourages you to grow, incorporate it into a plan and do it. Yes, it takes time for it to become a habit, but when hardship strikes, you’ll be grounded and know what to do next, so you survive. 

Do Things That Force You to Grow

In its simplest form, pick up a new hobby, learn a new trade, go to new places, meet new people, and push yourself. Resilient men can face new circumstances head-on, with confidence, because they know they are capable of managing themselves. 

The least resilient men do not seek change, nor do they do anything outside of their comfort zone. They have a designated schedule and routine, and they dare not deter from their daily happenings. While this makes them feel safe and in control of their life, they aren’t. 

You cannot be resilient in the comfort of your own home. Or, you may think you can — but what happens when that schedule, your routine, and all of the other perceived metrics of “safety” and comfort fail you? Just because you’re comfortable doesn’t mean you won’t experience hardship.

In fact, it means when you experience hardship, it will be worse. It will shake you to your core, and you’ll believe you have nowhere else to turn to, but if you are growing — actively seeking discomfort in order to, essentially, be comfortable everywhere — hardship never hits as close to home. Hardship becomes a part of the process. You expect it, in a way. 

So, by pursuing avenues that force you to grow, you become more resilient. Simply because as you grow, you expect hardship. You know it’s all part of the process. You know it means you’ll be better off than you once were. 

Take a few risks and try new things. It adds up quickly, and it prepares you to face new things you don’t want to face. 

Do More than Just Work, Relax, and Repeat

I am not telling you to remove the structure those routines and schedules give you. Oftentimes, those are what keeps us grounded and sane throughout hardship because we know exactly what to do when something happens. 

But working, relaxing, then repeating is not a schedule; it is not a routine, and it is not a healthy (nor productive) lifestyle. It’s surviving off of the bare minimum. It’s a low-risk setup, and because the risk is low, it is perceived as safe. By now, you should realize that safety does not make resilient men. 

You, my friend, need a little excitement in your life. Something that keeps you on the edge of your seat, anything beyond work, relax, repeat. 

Focus on things that sharpen you mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As a man, you have a responsibility to be in tune with your body in its entirety. Resilient men take care of themselves. Not by pampering, but by growing and keeping sharp. 

Now, of course, you have to make time in your day, this may require you to cut into that downtime you’ve convinced yourself you need, but it’s worth it. There is a way to relax and be productive towards raising your resilience.

Activities to build resilience 

A classic example of a productive and relaxing activity that builds resilience is journaling. Journaling is something I’ve done for years to keep a clear mind, or to clear my mind, and to reflect on past hardship I’ve experienced, both to heal from them and learn from them. 

You’d be surprised what you can learn about yourself when you write down what’s bothering you, running through your head, or stressing you out. 

Another easy one is to ask the people you trust what you can do to become a better person. Those who have watched you face hardship and adversity in the past might have noticed things you didn’t, and asking them if there was anything you should have done differently can spare you the same trouble in the future. 

Another great activity to build resilience is lifting weights. Your body literally must be resilient in order to lift weights, and it has to become even more resilient to lift heavier weights. Not to mention, physical discipline in the gym is one of the easiest ways to become more disciplined (which, as we discussed, is a key trait of resilient men). 

Lastly, work on not caring what other people think. Half of the hardships we face, we face them because of what someone said to us or something they’ve done to us. But those only have as much power over them as we let them. 

Though, the key to not caring about what other people think is to build yourself up in such a way that nothing anyone says or does alters your trajectory. You can’t be pushed, pulled, or misdirected. You become a force of nature, one that cannot be reckoned with or stopped. 

Finishing Thoughts

Resilient men are not born overnight. Their trials and tribulations forge them. Something must happen to them to realize they need to build resilience. It is a daily pursuit and a lifestyle.

So start small. Build up your resilience as you go. Start with asking people what you can do to become stronger mentally and emotionally. Seek out guidance from others. Surround yourself with resilient men, and you will learn how to survive.

If you don’t have anyone to reach out to, I am right here for you. I’d be happy to hop on a one-on-one call with you.

If that interests you, click the link here, and let’s get a call scheduled. 

You’ll be hearing from me very, very soon.

David F.A. | Arsenal Headmaster
Twitter @HeadMasterDFA

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