After suffering damage, your most urgent goal should be to stabilize your situation. If you lose your job, you don't want to lose your house too. If you catch the flu, you don't want it to turn into pneumonia. If you get a flat tyre while driving, you don't want to lose control of your car and crash against a wall.
How to cultivate your three most critical assets
Should you fall into a well,
your immediate objective is not to drown. You know that you must attain
this goal at all costs; other concerns become secondary or irrelevant.
Your energies and senses align to ensure your survival. Your physical
and mental resources concentrate on a single task to guarantee its
This must-do attitude that makes you unstoppable
is precisely what you need to cultivate your critical assets.
Self-reliance, thoughtfulness, and decisiveness are the cardinal skills
that will help you in times of adversity. None of them can be
artificially implanted into your personality.
These skills can
only be developed in progressive steps
You cannot improvise
psychological resilience more than you can cook perfect crème glacée if
you have never set foot in the kitchen. You cannot magically
learn to view problems in perspective more than you can drive a car if
you've never sat before behind the wheel. When you are facing a major
threat, you will only be able to react quickly if you are already used
to taking initiative.
Enhancing your self-reliance,
thoughtfulness, and decisiveness is a long-term process. Those
immaterial assets are worth more than physical wealth. If you possess
them, prosperity will be within reach; if you don't, chances are that
you will waste whatever wealth you may already have.
Do not be
satisfied with trying out just one method
Do not be
satisfied with trying out just one method to attain your goal. Reading good
material may increase your self-confidence, but so will taking risks,
travelling overseas, public speaking, team work, sports, joining a
social club, dancing, taking cooking classes, and many other activities.
about acquiring thoughtfulness? Meditation and self-knowledge may be of
help in this respect, but so will be lectures, work experience,
learning how to write effectively, staying abreast of the latest news,
and discussing with intelligent people.
The same principle
applies to decisiveness. Your willingness to take continuous action can
be cultivated not just by making to-do lists, but also by identifying
your priorities, cutting losses, spreading your risks, having a back-up
plan, and developing a support network before you need it.
disaster hits, those three assets may prove invaluable to you. They will
help you identify which actions are critical, stabilize a bad
situation, and build a sound basis for improvement. Commit yourself to
developing those qualities until they become second nature to you.
For more information about
rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book
10 Principles of Rational
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