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One of the secrets of high achievers is the ability to bounce back.


Resilience Series #10

An article by L. Michael Hall. Reprinted from the "Neuron" Meta Reflections Newsletter 2016 #27, June 6, 2016. 


"A couple weeks ago I ran the Inside-Out Wealth training in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and in reviewing some of the articles I have written over the years I came across one that shouted out about resilience.  The word “resilience” was not in the article, but the idea was everywhere.  So I have taken that article, updated it to make it specifically related to this series on resilience.

There’s an untold variable that plays a key role in creating wealth that most people are not aware of.  In fact, the common myths about how to create wealth obliterate this variable completely.  That’s why very few people even know about it.  Then, to make matters worse, it is not a variable that can be very easily expressed.  I wish I knew how to describe it succinctly and in a compelling way.   I do not know how to do that—yet.  I will do the best I can.  You be the judge of how well the idea gets across to you.  Here it is in a single paragraph:

A key secret of wealth creation is for you to use the power of compensation when you are knocked down or suffer a defeat so that you develop a stubborn resolve of commitment, one that has so much steel in it that it, as it were, immunizes you to failure.  You become undefeatable against the odds because you persist.  Your steel-like resolve gives you a powerful will-to-win so you persist and out-perform against all odds.

Whew! That was a mouthful.  Did you get the point?  The point is about turning a failure into a resource.  The point is letting an upset become a crucible so that you compensate for it, even over-compensate, and come out of that crucible with a resolve of steel!  Now the crucible is the tough part— the set-back.  It answers the question, “What calls forth this kind of resolve of steel and makes the difference?”  The catalyst for a steel resolve in most people is typically one of the things that we fear most—a humiliation, defeat, adversity, conflict, etc.  It is usually something unpleasant, distressful, challenging, disappointing, even painful.

Interesting enough, I’m not the first to write about this.  Researcher of the rich, Stanley Thomas wrote extensively about it in The Millionaire Mind.  In that book he exposed several myths of wealth creation among them is this: Those who became the first-generation self-made millionaires were not the whiz kids at school, not those voted “most likely to succeed,” not those with the highest grades or IQ tests.  Only 2% of those with the Millionaire Mind scored high scholastically.  The majority were “C” grade students and “ ...they are more likely to have one or more components of inferiority in their self-image.” (p. 88).  Inferiority!   He found them self-depreciating.  Now for the set-backs or the knock-downs:

“ ... during their formative years, some authority figure such as a teacher, parent, guidance counselor, employer, or aptitude testing organization told them, You are not intellectually gifted.  ...  They were degraded by someone or something during their formative years  ...  [They] responded by over-working and eventually out-performing the so-called intellectually gifted.” (p. 88, 89)

To being insulted and degraded they refused to take it personal, or pervasive, or permanent.  They took it as a challenge and they set out to prove the teacher wrong.  Now that’s the resilient spirit!

“In the real world, who succeeds?  People who have built up immunity to pain.” (p. 93).  “Questioning the norm, the status quo, and authority are hall-marks of the thinking of self-made millionaires and those destined to become affluent.” (p. 92)

Stanley describes them as compensating which means that they worked harder.  They developed a strong work ethic (99) when they faced obstacles or handicaps, they compensated for deficiencies.

“ ...  most self-made millionaires were confronted with one or more significant obstacles in their life.  ...  Our self-made millionaires chose another path [than accepting the negative evaluations by some authority figure], they discredit the authority figure who attempt to degrade them. ... They had the insight, courage, and audacity to challenge the assessments.” (p. 101)

If you underline the words “insight, courage, and audacity to challenge” you are identifying essential ingredients in resilience.  They ingredients create the kind of tenacity that enabled them to “fight and compete for important goals” (p. 106).   So, as steel cannot be hardened unless it’s hammered,

“ ...  it’s no different with people.  Self-made millionaires report that degrading evaluations and comments by certain authority figures played a role in their ultimate success in life.  Hammering built the antibodies they needed to deflect criticisms, and temper their resolve.” (p. 102).   “Adversity is essential in bringing out the best in people.  Some call it character.”  (p. 108)

Have you ever heard that a steel resolve from a serious knock-down is the secret ingredient of success?  If you have heard it, you probably don’t hear it very often. Yet establishing a steel resolve to fight for your goals, what’s important to you, and not expecting it as an entitlement because you are smart or from money—this doesn’t usually hit the evening news.  The key is the stubbornness to compensate, to learn to play the game with whatever handicaps you start with, and to nurture your courage so that you fight against all odds.  The key lies in the very process of overcoming problems, labels, the odds, humiliations, and challenges that strengthens a person from the inside out.  It is like adding titanium to steel—that very process makes steel many times strong than it is alone.

“Life is not one short race—it is a marathon of marathons.  Labels come and go.  If you believe that you can succeed in life in spite of degrading labels that predict your failure, you are likely to win most of the marathon.  This is the common experience among millionaires.  The large majority report that at some point or points in their lives they were labeled inferior, average, or mediocre, but they did not allow critics to forecast their future achievements, and they overcome their label of so-called inferiority.” (p. 98)

Have you ever had a process that was like the forging and hammering of steel?  Like adding titanium to steel to create a steel resolve about something?  Those are the kinds of experiences that make and/or break people.  Yet it is from such a furnace that self-discipline, courage, commitment, and passion arise.  It puts a fire in your belly making you ready to take on impossible challenges.  This explains why over-protection and over-cuddling creates a softness that leaves one unprepared for life and unwilling to devote the necessary effort.

It is the disciplined person who takes charge of his or her life and assumes complete responsibility for your results and for succeeding.  That’s because, not given to self-indulgence and not expecting a path of roses, a disciplined person is not easily side-tracked.

“If you lack discipline, the chances of your ever accumulating wealth are very, very small.  ...  A person with self-discipline possesses an internal compass, a control and navigation system.  ...  To become wealth one must be disciplined in thought and deed, disciplined enough to search for great economic opportunities.” (p.85)

This wealth creation secret (a steel resolve for persistence) is actually a complex meta-state.  It is made up of numerous ingredients so you have to use a meta-stating process to put them together, shake well, bake.   Then you’ll get a batch of this new gestalt state, a state made of a titanium enriched steel resolve.  This will save you the need to go through a painful experience that will trigger you to compensate. ___ © Author L. Michael Hall, Founder of Neuro Semantics.

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