The Word for 2018 is ...
It actually is the same word it was for 2017 and every year before. It is expressed in the theme of this Japanese Proverb "Fall down seven times, get up eight." Many words come close, but none seem to encapsulate it better than the idea of "resilience."
In Your Arsenal of Adjectives, Resilient is Way Underrated
We see eyes widen and chests puff when people are described as "savvy" or "smart." We hear "sharp" thrown around a lot. Maybe "polished" or some synonym for those who have honed their lives against more cultured steel. Occasionally, we hear "tough" as someone who is life's scrappy brawler.
Few are lucky enough to be called "resilient."
Resilience Wins the Marathon
Life is funny. It is going great, right up until that moment that it isn't. Or maybe life is great in all things, but .... you don't like the direction this country is heading, you just broke up with your partner, a family member is sick, your new boss sucks ....
No matter what yardstick you measure yourself against and no matter what is important in your life at that time, your ability to both survive it and emerge stronger from it is key. Can you outlast the obstacle, or will it crush you?
People come in and out of your life all the time. Circumstances changes constantly. The world around us is never static, never still. Can you outlast what is coming for you at this moment in time? Can you tap into your resilient nature and get through it without it stripping you of ... well, "you?"
Having seen a few years go by, you start to see patterns emerge. Social media, in particular, can make it seem like everyone has the perfect life. But, over time, you see fewer and fewer people survive what life throws at them as they fall off, disappear, remove themselves from work, their social lives, their families.
Resilience is both Active and Passive
Some more active people might not like the idea of being resilient as they see the need to always push, always move forward. There are good time for that more active approach, but being resilient is not "turtling"- hiding behind your defenses. It is watching, waiting, observing. It is waiting for the right time to emerge and continue on again. It is patient. Oh, patience is so hard for so many. But being resilient is not "doing nothing." It is being smart; It is waiting for the right time to let that obstacle pass by you and you having a plan for what you will do once it is gone.
Resilience is a badass ninja!
Resilience is Not the Same as Surviving
Resilience gets a bad rap because people associate it with "just surviving." They may even look the same. But it can be looked at this way: surviving is just treading water for as long as you can; resilience is treading just along enough until you can find a way out of the water."
The world is both a wonderful and a harsh place. It doesn't care if you have been beaten up before it delivers its next blow. It may give you a long period of rest, recovery, and joy when you least expect it.
But there are so many unexpected joys in the world for those of us that show up for them. A new role, a new opportunity, a new person, a new sport, a new .... something is out there and waiting for you to find it in 2018.
Did 2017 put you down on the mat for good? Or are you ready to tap into that resilient you and find your joy in 2018?
I crafted this while sitting in 47° water off the beautiful coast of California seeing the sun hit the sand and realizing that I never would have experienced this had it not been for my pushing myself into new, uncomfortable places. There have been plenty of times to just give up and retreat from life, but I have been rewarded time and again by sticking with it, by being resilient.
Best for a great 2018!