Why does a ball bounce? Let’s say it’s a tennis ball which you’re about to drop onto a hard surface. Before you let go of it, the ball has potential energy (because of its height above the ground) then as it falls, this is turned into kinetic energy.
On striking the ground, this kinetic energy is used to squish the ball – then a moment or two later, the ball’s elasticity causes it to rapidly return to its former shape, and doing so makes it leap away from the hard surface – back up into the air again.
A tennis ball doesn’t have to think about this, as the laws of physics come into play. Things that will bounce generally do bounce.
Humans, of course, don’t have this degree of elasticity when it comes to impacting with hard surfaces, which is why cycle helmets make such a lot of sense. But what about metaphorical hard surfaces? How do we bounce back when we run into mental barriers and obstacles?
At times it can be unquestionably tough. Resilience is a marvellous strength, but one which may be in short supply just when it’s needed most.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers in this area, but can at least offer some suggestions for dealing with adversity.
1. Is there a way to think differently about the situation? Rather than viewing it as insurmountable, might it be possible to see it as a problem whose solution will be found once it has been teased out?
2. Might there be value in seeing the obstacle as temporary rather than permanent? This way, you needn’t pretend that it’s anything other than big, but you might be able to believe that its impact could recede over time.
3. Maybe you’ll be able to restrict the obstacle’s impact to one area of your life, rather than despairing that it’s affecting everything? You’ve fallen out with one person, say, but you still have others around you – that kind of thing.
The laws of physics may not govern the ways in which you can demonstrate resilience, but that doesn’t mean you can’t establish some of your own.