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On Resilience, Hope & Mice - Issue #5

Sunletter from Ondřej Bárta
On Resilience, Hope & Mice - Issue #5
By Ondřej Bárta • Issue #5 • View online
A strong material may break, and a flexible one will bend. But one that’s strong and flexible at the same time will bend and spring right back into the original shape.

Initially, I wanted to tackle a different topic this week, but life has its way of going in directions you don’t expect. The word of the day is resilience. Keeping at whatever you love to do and doubling down when hard times strike. Dealing with setbacks is hard. But you can only truly recognize how resilient you are when times are difficult. It’s the silver lining of every tough situation.
So, how to become more resilient? That’s the question I wanted to answer for myself this week. After thinking about this for a long time, what I found might be obvious, but indulge me for a moment.
The first method is to train yourself in it. As in everything, the more you do something, the better you get at it. You can build resilience by putting yourself out there for small and controllable failures. Learn something new. Start playing an instrument, learn a new language, or start coding. You’ll fail a lot. Even as you get better, you discover that you’ve been failing all along in some unobvious way. But that’s okay, it’s in a controlled environment. Embrace the failure.
Resilience is a self-perpetuating concept. It gets easier the more you practice it. Even with you start with something small. Fail small, get comfortable with small failures, and continue right on.
The second and also the best method that I discovered is hope. You might not think of it as a tool, but it can be. It’s one of those things you have to cultivate, but once you have it, you persevere no matter what. And I have evidence to prove this is a good method. Let me explain.
You might’ve heard about the mice hope experiment. As cruel as this experiment was, it has fascinating findings. If a mouse is put into water to drown, it gives up after a few minutes of swimming. On the other hand, if you let a mouse struggle for a bit, take it out of the water and then put it back in, it can continue swimming for hours or even days on end. Once the mouse has even a little hope of survival, it can endure immense adversity solely because of hope.
Now, it’s mice that this experiment was conducted on, but, I believe, it can also tell us something about human behavior. Hope goes a long way. It can be the difference between giving up and persevering through the hardest of times.
Whatever you do, do it with hope, and it’ll be much easier to persist.
Have a wonderful Sunday!
PS: Personally, when I go through hard times and want to bounce back, I pray. And it’d be a lie to deny that it works every time. I cannot recommend it to everyone though as it only works if you truly have faith.
PPS: I started writing articles that got inspired by these emails. First off, there will be an article “What’s Your Essence?”. It’s not written yet, but I made a fun interaction for it that you can check out right now.
What's Your Essence? | Ondřej Bárta
PPPS: While thinking and researching this topic, I stumbled on this short TED Talk video. It’s very encouraging!
The strongest predictor for success | Angela Lee Duckworth
The strongest predictor for success | Angela Lee Duckworth
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Ondřej Bárta

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