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We may not like to be reminded of this, but being human necessarily means we will face pain at some point during our journey through this world. One cannot avoid this simple truth, be you smart or ignorant; pretty or not; rich or poor; spiritually endowed or secular. Fortunately, we know that the sooner you internalize this truth and grieve your losses, the happier and healthier you will feel.

So, while you arrive at this truth, let me reinforce in you the idea of our resilient spirit. This spirit allows us to smile in the face of any adversity; it allows us to shine both inside and out. In fact, Change Basics (Russell and Russel, 2006) contains resiliency tips that solidify this point:

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  • Proactive people actively engage change, shape their own vision, their locus of control is internal, preserve their self-efficacy, have a strong self-confidence and self-assurance, and are aware that their choices influence their response to challenges.
  • Develop a personal meaning and vision so you have a clear belief and vision of what you want to create. Allow that purpose to pull you forward, so when adversity approaches, you can see it through hopeful eyes as an opportunity and stay focused on the longer view of life beyond it.
  • Nurture your interpersonal competence, i.e., your ability to truly empathize with others, and magnify your social awareness to manage yourself in relationships.
  • Remain flexible and adaptable at all times by staying aware of what’s around, i.e., the context and the vibe, so you can then make sensible adjustments to plans.
  • Take even one quarter of a second to think before acting. The more you do, the more you organize yourself toward order and structure, which yields an inner focus and outward stability. (Prioritizing to-do lists, and then following that prioritization, will enable you to manage your time effectively.)
  • Strive to problem solve by analyzing and breaking down complex problems to discover and explore root causes. Recognize and clearly define problems, and interdependence of problems, within a system, and then set accomplishable goals.
  • Social connectedness is having caring and supporting relationships, relationships that create love and trust, that provide role models, and offer encouragement and reassurance. It’s having a network for support, affirmation, and problem solving. A network that affirms your capabilities and helps you see alternatives and new opportunities.

After reading through these tips, perhaps select one tip a day and work with it a bit. For example, take the flexibility concept and consciously work on growing your awareness of your surroundings for a day. See the ways you’re rigid and uptight, and perhaps choose to let that rigidity go. Alternatively, be that problem-solver for a day by taking a problem and breaking it into its constituent parts, then analyze how the parts fit together, and see how your response is a part of the problem and solution. Just watch how things become more manageable. And add an extra kick of self-confidence to your day. Speak from your belly, look people in the eye, straighten your spine and put your shoulders back a bit. Feel yourself grow taller.

What everyone needs to know is that we actually have access to everything we need for our perfect life: awareness, determination, vision, creativity, love, passion, faith, and intuition. These human endowments begin to be realized when we focus on them, and they come into full bloom when we let them ripple through us, further building our innate resilience.

Admittedly, the journey we students have chosen is sometimes arduous, often working full-time, taking care of our families, maintaining ourselves, and working early and late to complete our advanced degree. Let me now acknowledge you—great job for your hard work and effort. Working and putting forth effort for those who may never know your sacrifice, yet I do.

Keep smiling because you are not alone.

Warm regards,

jims sign