The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived.
Robert Jordan, The Fires of Heaven
You’ve probably heard in recent months that the California wildfire season is upon us. Although we are blessed with a uniquely beautiful landscape, we are also cursed with extended dry spells marked with very little rain. Couple the arid land with high winds and sparks from downed power lines and you’ve got a recipe for disaster (see Kincade fires).
In a preemptive act, PG&E (our local utility) instituted planned outages which go into effect when conditions are ripe for disaster. Prevention is the name of the game right now.
PG&E’s prevention plans got me thinking about disasters and problems on a more personal level and how we try to avoid pain or disappointment in our lives. Our whole existence is based on survival and making it over the finish line in one piece. Think about a kid at the park with their parents. The child starts running around at super human speeds and invariably, one or both of the parents yells for them to “slow down or else you’ll hurt yourself!”. Everything in our DNA and that we’re taught is in honor of self preservation and prevention of pain.
The list goes on and on but the reality is that no matter how much planning you do or how perfect you try to be, things go wrong all the time. Life happens.
Of course, we should always try our best but I think it’s equally important to know how to bounce back quickly. When things go wrong, some people fall apart, others flail a bit but recover and some never miss a beat and keep it moving. They know how to fail well; I believe the phrase is “fail and fail fast.”
Sometimes we fail to adequately prepare ourselves to handle the times when we think we’ve done all the right things and we still fall short. How do you build that muscle of resiliency when everything seems to be going wrong?Some people may prefer to look to the future and anchor to hopeful thoughts to handle difficult times. My method of choice involves reflecting on when I overcame situations that I thought were insurmountable at the time. It gives me strength to know that whatever I’m going through won’t last and that I’ll figure things out, like I have before. That’s my way of moving forward. But, like most things, I think everyone has to find their own way of moving on but the important thing is that you keep moving.