This is the first episode of Stereo Sunday, a little Stereo app-sponsored experiment we’re doing live in front of a studio audience of you! We will be live on Friday, November 20th and 27th at 2 p.m. PST, so download the Stereo app for iOS or Android here and follow along with us next time!
On This Week’s Stereo Sunday, We Talk About Resilience:
- Resilience is a quality that is literally life-defining. It can make or break a career, open or close doors, and mean the difference between failing and succeeding.
- What is resilience? When we talk about resilience, what we’re really talking about is the ability to survive the ups and downs of life without taking too much of a hit. We don’t have control over everything that happens to us in life, but we do have control over what it means and how it affects us.
- Why does resilience matter? The more resilient you are, the greater your chances of overcoming adversity and succeeding. The less resilient you are, the more likely you are to hit a wall, give up, or drop off when things get tough.
- How do we cultivate resilience? Because it’s not a skill like learning a language By making meaning out of adversity, developing and nurturing strong relationships, and seeking out new experiences.
- Resilience is a process. It’s not a skill you acquire once and then never have to work on again. And no matter how resilient you become, you can always become more resilient, you can always build up more grit — and you should, because you can never have enough!
- Download the Stereo app here and participate with us live on Friday, November 20th and 27th, at 2 p.m. PST!
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHarbinger and Instagram at @jordanharbinger.
- Connect with Gabriel on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
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Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Sign up for Six-Minute Networking — our free networking and relationship development mini course — at jordanharbinger.com/course!
Miss our conversation with world-champion boxer and entrepreneur Laila Ali? Catch up with episode 309: Laila Ali | Finding Strength, Spirit, and Personal Power here!
Resources from This Episode:
- iOS & Android | Stereo App
- Rick Hanson | The Science of Hardwiring Happiness and Resilience | TJHS 192
- What to Do When Your Purpose Starts to Suck | Deep Dive | TJHS 205
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
- Supportive Relationships and Active Skill-Building Strengthen the Foundations of Resilience | Harvard University
- How People Learn to Become Resilient | The New Yorker
- Loss Trauma and Emotion Lab | Teachers College Columbia University
- George Bonanno | Twitter
- Sandro Galea | Twitter
- What Predicts Psychological Resilience After Disaster? The Role of Demographics, Resources, and Life Stress | Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
- A Lifetime of Resilience Research: An Interview with Emmy Werner, PhD | Kathy Marshall
- Things to Do in Quarantine: 50 Ideas for Fun When You’re Bored at Home | Thrillist
- 100 Things to Do While Quarantined During Coronavirus | USA Today
- In Quarantine Doldrums, Enjoy Online Culture from World-Class Institutions | Metropolis
- Nerdy Quarantine Resource Mega List | Love Thy Nerd
Transcript for The Redefining Power of Resilience | Stereo Sunday (431)
Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. If you're new to the show, we have in-depth conversations with people at the top of their game, astronauts, entrepreneurs, spies, and psychologists, even the occasional, I don't know, Russian chess grandmaster. I've got a long list of really cool occupations here. Some of which are illegal Jihadi, a money-laundering expert on both sides of the law. So I get to pick each week from a list and usually I have to mention one or two. Each episode of this show turns our guests' wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better critical thinker.
[00:00:42] Today, resilience — what it actually is, why it's usually the difference between success and failure in life, and how to cultivate it. So this is the first episode of Stereo Sunday, a little experiment we're doing sponsored by the Stereo app. We're going to be live this November 13th at 2:00 p.m. Pacific, the 20th at 2:00 p.m. Pacific, and the 27th at 2:00 p.m. Pacific. So download this Stereo app and follow along with us live next time if you're listening to this in the feed. And by the way, you can listen to us live inside the Stereo app by grabbing it from the App Store for iOS or Android. And we're going to be doing a few of these and who knows if they like us, we might do even more. We got four planned and we might do a bunch more. It should be pretty interesting. Again, I love the concept of doing a live show, so I'm pretty stoked about it.
[00:01:30] If you're wondering how we managed to book the guests for the show, it's all about the network that I've got going here. Gabe, of course, your network is also to be rivaled. I'm teaching you how to build your network for free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. And by the way, most of the guests on the show, subscribe to the course or contribute to the course in some ways. So come join us, you'll be in smart company.
[00:01:51] Now, if you're on Stereo right now, at the end, we're going to do 15 or so minutes of Q and A, and you can submit those questions in the Stereo app for us at any time. There's a button on the chat there with a little speech bubble. There's a microphone inside the speech bubble. You can shoot us a brief question about anything that you want. It does not have to be related to the current topic. It does not have to be about resilience. It can be about anything. So here we go our first Stereo Sunday segment here on resilience with Gabriel Mizrahi. Gabe, thanks for joining me.
[00:02:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, my pleasure. Thanks for having me and so happy to see you guys on Stereo.
[00:02:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, filling up nicely. Now, the reason I chose resilience for the first topic Gabriel, or one of the reasons was a while back and not everyone knows this, but many do. I built a podcast for 11 years and it was my baby. It was something I worked on just like I work on this show and we built a business behind it and I just wasn't getting any help from my business partners at the time. Help isn't even the right word. I was getting dragged down and stopped at every turn and we had a split and it was supposed to be amicable, but it ended up not being amicable.
[00:02:58] And so one of the things I had to do, if I didn't want to be business married in a partnership with people that I thought were horrible, I had to leave the show behind. And I was supposed to get the show in the split, but I knew that these were dishonorable folks and we're not going to abide by the agreement that they themselves had drafted, so I simply started over with The Jordan Harbinger Show and that event itself isn't the important part. But what is important is I just felt, like the rug had been pulled out from underneath me. It wasn't really a surprise. It was just a really uncomfortable feeling. It felt terrible. It felt hopeless.
[00:03:32] I had to pick up the grit to continue. I realized that this was so important to me that I couldn't just go and do something else. I didn't want to go and do something else. I really found podcasting and doing the show rewarding. Mostly, it just seemed impossible to get back to where I was before. You know that was the main issue is it really seemed — like I'd climbed this mountain already. And then somehow, I'd fallen off. And I was at the bottom looking all the way back up to where I was and I thought, "I have to get there before I can be happy again."
[00:04:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right, right.
[00:04:03] Jordan Harbinger: And that feeling sucked. That was horrible. So I know from personal experience, that resilience is a quality that is literally life-defining. It can make or break a career. It can open or close doors and it can mean the difference between failing and succeeding, which is why we wanted to talk about it on our first episode here of Stereo Sunday. So Gabriel, what is resilience really? Because I don't want it to sound buzzwordy or annoying.
[00:04:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure. Yeah. Well, when we talk about resilience, I mean, what we're really talking about in very simple terms is just the ability to survive the ups and downs of life without taking too much of a hit. It could be the situation you just described — losing your company, losing your product, losing your career, and having to rebuild it from scratch. It could be losing a loved one. It could be thinking that you were in a stable relationship that was going to last forever, and then finding that you're sleeping on somebody's couch because you're out of an apart — I mean, there are so many different ways that life can hit us. But resilience is really about staying connected to that goal, to that project, to that person or a situation, really anything that you want to do, anything that life throws at you without giving up, without getting buried by it, or without suffering too much.
[00:05:12] So also look, if we want to get even fancier about it, Harvard University — I don't know if you guys have heard of it, kind of a big deal. They have a place called the center on the developing child. They put it this way, they said to be resilient is to adapt successfully to disturbances and to resume positive functioning following adversity, following trauma, following tragedy or threats, or any significant source of stress, and to do that while avoiding deleterious, behavioral, and psychological changes. So in other words, we're talking about our ability to handle difficult events, stressful events, trauma — if you want to get a little dramatic about it — to handle all of that without falling off or going crazy, or basically getting mentally or emotionally hurt in the process.
[00:05:53] So you could call resilience, grit. You could call it, staying in the game. I feel like that's what my dad would probably call it.
[00:06:00] Jordan Harbinger: That's what every dad would call it. Right?
[00:06:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. I think so. If they don't call it staying in the game, are they really your dad? That's my question. Or you could call it, which a lot of pop psychology books now we're calling it, stick-to-itiveness.
[00:06:12] Jordan Harbinger: That's very grandfatherly. I think stick-to-itiveness is what grandpa calls it, staying in the game is what dad calls it.
[00:06:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. And what we call it is getting through a trauma. So whichever word we use, it all comes down to the same thing, which is hanging in there when the going gets tough.
[00:06:26] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:06:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: But I think Jordan, we need to talk a little bit about why resilience matters because it seems obvious why it would matter to be resilient, but it's worth exploring that. Let's talk about that for a second.
[00:06:35] Jordan Harbinger: Right. So this might seem obvious, but it is a fair question because we all know that there are people out there who succeeded — they succeed without having much resilience at all. Although I would argue that there are very few of those people and there are also people who seem to have a ton of resilience who never succeed, unfortunately. So does resilience really explain the difference between success and failure? I think that the answer is yes, although it is definitely not the only variable at play here. But when you look at top performers in any field, what you almost always find is this common quality of not giving up when things got really, really hard. And that's because anyone who's ever performed at that level has experienced their fair share of struggle.
[00:07:16] And when you struggle, that's when you have to take a step back, really look at yourself, confront the limits of your ability, which might really be horrifying and uncomfortable. And then you realize how much harder you have to work and accept how difficult the world can be sometimes. And that's a mouthful, but it really is painful to do that. It's like that's falling off the mountain, looking back at the top and being like, "But I thought I could fly." Right? That's that sort of gap between where you are and where you think you're supposed to be. And that's really what causes a lot of the pain.
[00:07:45] So bridging that struggle, surviving it, pushing through it, to try again, that's about processing the difficulty and taking that lesson into the next attempt and that right there, that is resilience. If we didn't face adversity — and who doesn't face adversity in some form — if we didn't deal with adversity, then we wouldn't need to be resilient. Resilience is a quality of mindset that is developed in response to struggle. So if life is made up of struggling, then life also requires resilience. And if you're going to get ahead in this world, the more resilient you are, the greater your chances of overcoming adversity and succeeding. The less resilient you are, the more likely you are to hit a wall and then just give up or drop off when the going gets tough. And that's why resilience is such an important quality to develop in my opinion. And I credit it with the reason that I didn't just quit. And then like, I don't know, go back to the law.
[00:08:37] So how do we cultivate this, Gabe? That's the key. Okay. We sold people on the fact that they need it. Now, how do they build it?
[00:08:45] By the way, if you want to hear Stereo Sunday, Deep Dives live, go grab this Stereo app in your App Store. I know a lot of people are listening in the feed. Go grab the Stereo app. If you want to hear this live next time. And just a reminder, we're going to be doing 15 minutes of Q and A at the end. So you can submit questions in the Stereo app for us at any time. There's a button on the chat there with the speech bubble and the microphone. Shoot us a brief question. It doesn't have to be resilience-related at all.
[00:09:06] Anyway, I know that was somewhat of an awkward abrupt in there, but I want to make sure we're telling people about their ability to ask questions because we're going to have some good ones at the end.
[00:09:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, before we, yeah, we do have to take a quick detour through the science of resilience. A ton of new research has opened up in this area over the last two decades. I promised to keep this brief, but it is so interesting and it's really important. So we're not just sitting around here and talking about like, just stay in the game when things get hard. There's actually empirical research behind this and some really interesting science. So we just want to touch on that. Most studies about this topic, they all arrived at the same conclusion, which is that it's not really about how much adversity we face in life that determines our level of success, but how we respond to that adversity.
[00:09:49] And there's this one guy, in particular, his name is George Bonanno. He's the head of Loss Trauma and Emotion Lab at Columbia University. Yes, they have a whole lab just dedicated to that. He's one of the top researchers in the field of resilience. And what Bonanno was interested in was why some people seem to be able to withstand adversity while other people just don't seem to have that ability. Like why can some people stick with things when they get really hard and other people just seem to give up or lose hope. And he looked at a bunch of people with different personalities, different life experiences who responded differently to the challenges that they faced and what he found was really interesting.
[00:10:23] He found that the variation and resilience among different people — that really comes down to how they think about a stressful event. So according to Bonanno, if we think about a stressful event as traumatic, then it becomes a lot harder to keep going. But if you think about a stressful event as an opportunity to learn or to grow, then it becomes a lot easier to press on. In other words, resilience is really about perception. It's about how we perceive those challenges rather than what the challenges are actually doing to us. Because in Bonanno's view, there's actually no such thing as a traumatic event. And he said something interesting. He said, "Events are not traumatic until we experience them as traumatic." Now, look, we can debate whether that view of trauma, if that's a hundred percent correct.
[00:11:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Gabe, like I'm thinking like this guy, "Oh yeah, hey, that event that happened to you, that was horrifying, well, it's neutral, but your mindset is wrong." That's a guy who's just itching to get punched in the face, I think.
[00:11:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: And it's also a recipe for denying very real challenges in life that will come back to haunt you in 10 years when you don't deal with them. So fully recognizing that I think we can also say that he is making an interesting point, which is that people who respond well to stressful events, they tend to extract some kind of meaning from them or some kind of significance from them. In other words, it's not the events themselves that are causing a lot of the pain, but how people think about them, how they process them, how they respond to them.
[00:11:46] Let's take probably one of the most dramatic examples of a challenge in life that would be, say the death of a parent, for example. One person could go through that and see it as a totally senseless loss that has completely upended their lives. That there will never be an ounce of happiness in their lives again. And that it makes absolutely zero sense and that they've gained nothing from it and that their lives are just irrevocably damaged as a result. And then you could have another person who goes through the exact same experience, losing their parents, and they could see it as an opportunity to, yes, be sad to mourn, to feel the loss, to be really deeply hurt by it. But also, really, we appreciate the relationships they've been given and to think about all of the memories they have with this person and figure out how to take the legacy of the person they lost into the rest of their lives. And those two people will go through the same event and come out with a totally different relationship to how to keep going, a totally different relationship to resilience.
[00:12:36] And you could say the same thing about being fired from a job. To one person that's a fatal blow to another person maybe it's an opportunity to pursue a more fulfilling career. Of course, these stressful events that we're talking about, they can be both. They can be devastating and they can be eye-opening. They can be terrifying as Jordan described it and they could be instructive. That's exactly the point because that was really Bonanno's big finding. He was saying that traumatic events don't really determine your outcomes in life, on their own. In fact, exposure to traumatic events in life doesn't actually predict people's functioning in life later at all, unless they have a negative response to them, which means that our minds are much more responsible for processing adversity, processing trauma than we actually think.
[00:13:20] And the good news about that. Is that we do not have control over everything that happens to us in life. I think we can all agree on that, but we do have some control, maybe even a lot of control in some cases over what that stuff means. So we can't control the hurricane that destroys our home and we can't maybe prevent our parents from dying or taking a loved one away or whatever it is, the economy let's say that leads to our company's downsizing. We can't control most of that, but we can decide how to interpret those events. Decide how we think about them and how we respond to them.
[00:13:49] And, yeah, look, this is not the full story. I think you can tell that Jordan and I are both a little bit skeptical about this view of trauma, but there are for sure, a ton of variables that play a role in how resilient we are. Bonanno and another researcher, for example, they found that things like gender and age and ethnicity, education level, even health, chronic disease, all play big roles in resilience. So we're not just trying to paint a very simple brush here and say that it's just about how you think about things, but it's also true that the secret to developing resilience, that isn't working on this stuff that we can control. And that's where we can really help ourselves to learn to weather the storm.
[00:14:22] So resilience is something we can learn, but we can't learn it in the way that we learn like French or how to play a game. You know, grit is not some technical skill or a fixed framework or a thing that you can take a webinar on and just be fluent. And that would be awesome, but it's not the case. It's really a process. It's really a mindset. And like most processes, like most mindsets, that's an ongoing thing. Something you have to actively focus on cultivating throughout your life. And it really starts with this idea of framing and processing the things that happened to us. So maybe we should talk about that a little bit, Jordan.
[00:14:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I think just as we talked about, it is not so much what happens to us in life that determines our resilience, but how we interpret what happens to us instead. In interpreting what happens to us that means experiencing whatever adversity we experienced, trying to find the meaning in it, whether that's a lesson, an insight, a realization, a new opportunity, whatever it is, and using that meaning to keep going and be better.
[00:15:17] Going back to what I talked about in the beginning, the adversity with the old company could have just been like a really shitty situation but instead, I tried to extract meaning from it. So what was it trying to teach me? That I needed to build something of my own and that I'd probably waited too long to do it. And that what I was doing was the right thing, because I cared a lot about it. Gabe, you know, those people who get fired from a job and they're like, "I don't even care. I didn't like that job." That's a good sign, right?
[00:15:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.,
[00:15:42] Jordan Harbinger: totally.
[00:15:43] Like when I was on Wall Street, and I got laid off from that job because the whole firm was going under, I didn't take it personally. And I wasn't like, "Oh my God, what am I going to do?" I was like, "This is probably fine." And I remember just having almost no reaction to that at all and being mostly excited to do something else. That was a pretty obvious sign, right? So what was it trying to teach me? What was it trying to show me?
[00:16:06] Going back to the company example that I had a ton of amazing relationships and an opportunity to rebuild from scratch. And what was it trying to remind me is maybe the third and important question here, that it was time to move on. That I had to chart my own path. And like I said before that I'd waited entirely too long to do so. And the automatic response to that stressful event of getting fired or losing your show — look, I let this stressful event just bury me. And that was what the trauma wanted to do when I was just getting punched in the junk over and over and over. The moment I started trying to figure out what that stressful event meant to me and what I needed to do as a result, which was basically picked myself up and started a new show. The stressful event just had less influence over me. In fact, in a weird way, it helped me. It motivated me to move really quickly. It taught me how to do a better job of building my new show going forward. It made me realize how badly I needed to be in control of my own company and should have been for a while. And the difference for me, between being destroyed by the news and being empowered by the news was how I chose to understand what was happening. And I didn't make that choice in a snap or do it overnight. It took a while. I had a couple of sleepless weeks here.
[00:17:18] So the first key to resilience is making meaning out of adversity, creating significance out of suffering, finding the value in tough times, treating challenges like a teacher, deciding to figure out what the pain means for us, rather than letting all the pain, tell us what it decides to mean in that particular moment. But let me be clear here. I'm not talking about spinning every blow into an automatic positive and smiling our way through trauma and burying our head in the sand when bad things happen. That is not meaning-making. That is a delusion. It's toxic positivity. I'm talking about being honest about what life's challenges can offer us good and bad and exploring the full significance of our stresses, so we can stop being objects of trauma and start becoming students of trauma.
[00:18:03] So make this a new practice here to explore the meaning of life's challenges, but be honest and realistic about what's happening. Don't deny the reality of your adversity. Just accept it for what it is. Don't try and go into burying your head in the sand mode. Don't ignore it. And then question it, investigate why it's so painful, why it's so devastating. Sometimes the reasons are complex, right? For me, it was just like, "I'm never going to be back to where I was. I have to start over. It's going to be so much work." It was like, "Oh, but I care about all the people that were listening. And I care about all the content that I created over years and I care about the path that I was on," and things like that, that was also part of it. And it gave me something to look forward to because I was like, "Well, wait, I can get the audience back. I can create new things that are better than the old show was. And who knows? I can win those intellectual property assets back in a lawsuit," which is what happened, for example.
[00:19:00] So what is it trying to teach you and what do you not understand that you now understand? What did you not understand that you now understand? What information is the event revealing to you and what new ideas, questions, or values are you now exploring because of that? And then last but not least, why is it happening right now? I'm not an "everything happens for a reason" kind of guy at all but usually, timing can be fortuitous. And if you think about the advantages that certain timing has especially 20/20 hindsight, it's usually pretty good timing because you're going to make it good timing because it's the only time that you have anyways.
[00:19:33] So if you make it a habit, the positive meaning of suffering will almost always win out. And that's a funny thing about finding meaning in life's challenges, the moment you become a student of suffering, it only functions to help you. And if adversity helps you, then you're already becoming resilient just by thinking about your challenges in a new way. And Gabe, I want to throw it to you real quick.
[00:19:54] But first again, I want to remind you all, we're going to be having 15 or so minutes of Q and A after this particular episode. So you can submit those questions in the Stereo app for us at any time, there's a button on the chat there with a little speech-bubble and a microphone. You can shoot us a brief question about anything you want. It doesn't have to be related to resilience at all. It can be absolutely anything.
[00:20:14] Where do we start with this though, Gabe? I know that relationships play a nice part in resilience. It certainly did for me.
[00:20:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. So look, there's another resilience researcher. Her name is Emmy Werner and she did this 32-year study, like a massive study. She followed a group of almost 700 children, 700 people to assess their vulnerability, to negative developmental outcomes after they were exposed to various kinds of stress. That could be anything from maternal stress in the womb to poverty, to family troubles, whatever it is. Two-thirds of the participants developed serious learning or behavioral problems in life. While the other third developed into competent, confident, caring, young adults who were ready and engaged to take on the world. And what Werner wanted to know in that study was what sets those two groups apart? Why is one group struggling and one group seems to be thriving?
[00:21:04] And what she found was that there are a handful of key variables that predict success in life. And at the top of that list was a strong bond with at least one supportive person. So the second key to resilience is really building relationships. Forming meaningful bonds with friends, family, colleagues, meeting new people, investing generously in your network, making sure that you are close with at least one person, and hopefully a handful of very close relationships and people in your life. And Werner found, this researcher, she found that having one central relationship was a strong predictor, a really strong predictor of resilience.
[00:21:40] But that relationship, it doesn't have to be formed in early life. It doesn't have to be your mom or your dad or a sibling or somebody close to the family. That does help but at any moment in our lives, we can choose to seek out and cultivate new relationships. And we do that obviously by being open, by being vulnerable, curious about other people, generous with our time and our resources with our energy — in other words, by investing deeply in the people around us. Because as we know, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness or failure, they tend to take over when we're alone. But when we're in a relationship with somebody, a friendship or a partnership, or in a romantic relationship where we're in partnership, where we can talk about those things with another person and share them, the feelings tend to have far less power. Let's put it that way. A strong relationship with a significant other or a coach or a colleague or a therapist, those relationships can reflect your experiences, reflect your feelings, they can help you make sense of them along the way.
[00:22:34] Just having a relationship in your life that seems to be the factor that makes the difference between how people come out of a stressful situation. It helps reduce the impact of negative stresses in general. And if you don't believe me, here's the question: how many successful people do you know who are actually lone wolves? I bet the answer is probably zero. Because success at high performance, people who thrive, people who do really, really well in life, they tend to have at least a handful of very meaningful relationships and probably dozens of pretty strong ones. But look, there are other huge benefits I should say, to have these close relationships. Being close with people also means being held accountable to them. When you say you're going to do something, that makes it less likely that you're going to give up on a goal if you've been talking to somebody about it for a while. Developing close relationships, that gives you the confidence to stick with those goals because you know that there are people out there who are on your team. Building close relationships also means benefiting from the value of those relationships. You're getting insights, you're getting sources of support. You're getting ideas and contributions, assets that help you succeed when the going gets tough.
[00:23:35] At the same time, our own resilience feeds on examples of resilience in other people too. Right? When you see somebody close to you who is resilient, who is going through a lot of struggles and doesn't seem to be thrown off the path that provides a model for how you can be resilient yourself. It shows you how to stick with things. It basically provides a model really for what it looks like to stick with something over the long-term and it makes resilience seem a lot more possible. So, because resilience depends on those close relationships, it's really our job to become more connected to people, to invest in our networks, and to surround ourselves with other people who want to become resilient too. That's the second key — that's the key to grit — developing strong bonds with the people around us.
[00:24:16] And by the way, if you're digging these deep dives and you want to hear us live in the end of 2020 here, go grab the Stereo app in your App Store for iOS or Android. And like Jordan said, we'll do 15 minutes or so of Q and A, you can submit your questions in the Stereo app and we'll listen to them in just a second.
[00:24:30] Jordan, take us through another thing here. What's another dimension of resilience that makes us stick with things when the going gets tough?
[00:24:37] Jordan Harbinger: One thing that was big for me was seeking out new experiences. And so Emmy Werner, the researcher we just spoke about, she also found that another key variable that predicts success in life is a disposition towards seeking out new experiences. That might actually seem kind of surprising because after all, what is trying new things has to do with being resilient. Like why would trying out a new sport or changing careers make you stick with things longer? I don't really understand entirely why that works, but there's actually a very close connection between these two things. Because if you think about it, new experiences are usually a little stressful. They take you outside your comfort zone. They forced you to learn. They test you in ways that you haven't been tested.
[00:25:18] And in the context of say playing a new sport, that could be learning the rules of the game, learning a new kind of strategy, building up new muscles. In the context of traveling to a new country that could be navigating a place where you don't speak the language. I mean, you can't even read a freaking menu when you go to other countries. Right? In fact, that's one of the last things you learn because food words are so unusual. You encounter new systems; you encounter new people. You've got to figure out how to get home when you've lost your passport in a foreign country, or you can't even tell the cabbie where you freaking live and you don't know. In the context of changing careers or switching up roles that could be leveling up your skills. Having to manage personalities, you've never managed before. Being responsible for targets, you've never reached. All of these experiences, some big, some small, they're pushing you beyond your current capabilities.
[00:26:04] And anytime you're pushed beyond your current capabilities, that's when you encounter adversity, just kind of by definition and that's when you struggle but, of course, that's also when you grow. And that adversity, that's where resilience comes into play. Like we talked about a moment ago, it's in those moments of stress, uncertainty, sometimes even failure, it's in those experiences that we have to open up the resilience toolkit. We have to explore those struggles for meaning. We have to share them with people we're close with. We have to figure out how to decide what they mean and how people can help us so that we can push through. So, when you think about it, new experiences are kind of like mini resilience exercises. Like working out at the gym, this is how you get your reps in your resilience reps. The more you try new things, the more experience you have with adversity, the more practice you have at overcoming it. And the less you try new things, the fewer at-bats you have with adversity and the less practice you get in overcoming it.
[00:27:00] And I realized now I'm probably. Almost sounding like one of those old guys on Twitter, it's like "Young people, they can't take any adversity now. Look at the way they're dealing with it." Those are curmudgeonly old guys, for sure. But they're also not totally wrong, right? If you've never had serious adversity then a little adversity seems almost insurmountable or these little slights or sides that a lot of people would make a big deal about nowadays, but were no big deal back in the day. But some of that is because we've changed our culture, but some of it is because we just face a lot less adversity now.
[00:27:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:27:31] Jordan Harbinger: So smaller things seem like a bigger deal.
[00:27:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Also, can I just point out that in the middle of a pandemic where so many opportunities for new experiences have gone away. So you're not showing up to the office. You're not having spontaneous conversations or being pulled into random projects that you've never done before. So suddenly, you have another source of new — challenge goes away and then you're sort of stuck in your house and you're doing the same thing day after day. And you're not — I don't know, going to the gym, so you're not trying new classes and you're not encountering new ways to work your body. In almost every aspect of our lives, it almost feels like things have gotten so steady and uniform just every day is like Groundhog Day. So that also, I think makes it a little bit harder to be resilient, when you're not being exposed to so many sources of challenges. Even if they're tiny challenges, they do make a difference in how you perceive new events and how you get through them.
[00:28:21] So if anybody and I'm speaking for myself, but I'm guessing that there are other people that feel this way if anybody is feeling like they're not particularly resilient these days, I would not be surprised. I think that's probably one of the unintended byproducts of this quarantine.
[00:28:36] Jordan Harbinger: So the third key to resilience — seek out new experiences. They could be big; they could be small. Try a new workout, plan a fun trip. Trips might be a little tougher now, depending on when you're listening to this. Right? But test out a new skill. This is a great time to learn new skills. There's not a whole hell of a lot else to do. Take on a new project at work at home, befriend someone unexpected, try a new artistic medium. A lot of us probably are getting some reps in right now just because we had to transition from the office to working from home to homeschooling and things like that. But whatever it is, do something you've never done before. And the bottom line here is if you want to build up your resilience, seek out new experiences, trying new things. It builds up those resilience muscles. Teaches you how to deal with adversity. Again, this is something you'll be doing for the rest of your life. The effect on your ability to stick with things when life gets tough is actually huge.
[00:29:26] And for those of you listening in The Jordan Harbinger Show podcast feed, just a reminder in Q4 2020, you can hear Stereo Sundays Deep Dives in the Stereo app live, just grab the Stereo app from your App Store and we'll link that in the show notes. And you can listen to us live and submit your questions, which you should do right now. It looks like we have a bunch waiting for us, which is cool.
[00:29:46] Gabe, let's take it home a little bit here.
[00:29:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes, so look, we've talked a lot today about how to develop resilience. We probably used that word way too many times, but the truth is —
[00:29:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it's a little barfy right now. Let's try to reel it in.
[00:29:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: But here's the thing, the truth is it's not a skill that you can just acquire once and then never have to work on again. It would be nice if that were the case. I wish it were the case. Like I said, it's not like learning a language or riding a bike and it just sticks in your brain somewhere and it's always just there and you can draw on it. It's really an ongoing project. It's almost a quality that you have to have a relationship with. I'm so tempted to use the word — it's a "process" right now, but I'm not going to do that. I'm going to stop saying the word "process". And I'm just going to say that it's something that we will probably always be working on for the rest of our lives.
[00:30:25] And the truth is no matter how resilient you become; you can always become more resilient. I mean, you can always build up more grit and you probably should because I don't know if you can ever have enough of it. I mean, the more goals you take on, the more projects you take on, the more challenges you go through, the more resilience you need. And I think we talked about that in the context of career, we talked about that in the context of losing somebody close to you. You know, you could look at the role of resilience in anything. I mean, relationships, for example, is a big one. We talked about how important close relationships are in building resilience, but relationships are not just a bunch of people you follow on Twitter or a group chat, you know, full of people you put together at a party. Close relationships, meaningful relationships, those grow over a very long period of time. They're really the byproduct of the value that you share within the relationship. They developed from actually, you know, relating to other people, which is another hard thing to do in the middle of the pandemic.
[00:31:15] So it's not like going out and making a new friend at a bar is automatically going to make you more resilient, but meeting somebody, investing in them, deepening your relationship with them over a long period of time, sharing your struggles with them, and letting them share their struggles with you, that does contribute to resilience. And that process — sh*t, I just said it again —
[00:31:33] Jordan Harbinger: You bastard.
[00:31:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: I promised I wouldn't use the word "process". It just slipped right out.
[00:31:37] Jordan Harbinger: How dare you?
[00:31:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: You know what? Let's just go with it. That process, the one I just described —
[00:31:41] Jordan Harbinger: Yes.
[00:31:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: — of building a relationship that does last years, in most cases. So in the attempt to become more resilient, don't just seek out more relationships. "Because if I can just have more people on Facebook than I will be able to weather the storm better." That's not obviously how it works. It's about seeking out better relationships and making them stronger relationships that you go through over a long period of time, which — by the way, also usually means fewer relationships, but ones that are ultimately deeper.
[00:32:09] Jordan Harbinger: We're going to be live this November 13th at 2:00 p.m. Pacific. So November 13th, 2:00 p.m. Pacific is the next live episode with Gabriel and I here on Stereo Sunday on The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll also be live on the 20th and the 27th all at 2:00 p.m. Pacific time. So every Friday in November at 2:00 p.m. Pacific time, we will be live. Download the Stereo app. Follow along with us live next time if you are listening to this in the feed.
[00:32:35] We'll be putting some links in the show notes. There'll be worksheets for this episode in the show notes. Transcripts for this episode are going to be in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com. We're also going to throw a video of this up on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram or you can hit me on LinkedIn.
[00:32:53] And I'm teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships using systems, using tiny habits over at our Six-Minute Networking course, which is free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. Dig the well before you get thirsty folks. Most of the guests on the show subscribe to the course and the newsletter. They at least helped me make that content. So come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong.
[00:33:14] This show is created in association with Podcast One. And my amazing team includes Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know somebody who needs a little pump who needs a little bit of resilience or is going through a tough time and wants to know how to look at this in a way that might make them more resilient, share this episode with them. I hope you find something great in every episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show. Please share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:33:55] Here's a trailer from my interview with Laila Ali, daughter of legendary boxer, Muhammad Ali. She's got a great story about how she ended up the only other boxer in her family and how she carries her father's legacy. Whether you're into sports or not, I think you're really going to dig it.
[00:34:11] Laila Ali: You have to have it in you to want to be a fighter. It's not something that you just go, "Oh, I think I'll just try boxing," you know? Because you're going to get your ass beaten if you don't train and don't have it in you. When you get that opportunity, it was a brawl. I mean, it was bloody. It was like crazy. And I was like, "I want to do that." You think anyone punching you would hurt, right?
[00:34:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Sure.
[00:34:27] Laila Ali: But as fighters, it's like, "Oh, that person could punch, that person can't." Tapping you, tap, tap, tap. And then every once in a while, that bam! It's that hard one, "Ooh, okay, I felt that." If you're listening to your camp saying, "She's nothing and she this, she that." And then you have to get your ass in there and punch like, "No! She can punch it. And no, she's not just a pretty face." If you see me across that ring, looking at you, like, "You remember all that stuff you talked about? Now, it's about to happen. It's just me and you. Nobody else can get in there with you," you know? And I was like, "I'm going to remind you of all the things you said." They didn't know that street side of me. Not everyone has that. You don't have to.
[00:34:53] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:34:54] Laila Ali: But I do. Now you get to meet someone, just to see how they walk, see how they hold their stuff, and see if there's any fear in their eyes.
[00:34:59] Jordan Harbinger: What was your father's reaction to you wanting to box?
[00:35:02] Laila Ali: He didn't like it.
[00:35:02] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:35:03] Laila Ali: No.
[00:35:04] Jordan Harbinger: You guys were sparring before you can put the gloves on?
[00:35:06] Laila Ali: Oh yeah. He supported me, though. He came to a lot of my fights. He couldn't be at all of them. I could always see that glare in his eyes of him being proud and just to come into that arena and having everyone chanting, "Ali, Ali," and you just see him light up to see me in that ring and him just remembering. Our boxing styles are similar, the way I'm shaped, my body shape. So just seeing all of that had to be a super crazy experience for him.
[00:35:29] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Laila Ali, check out episode number 309 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
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