What does Zorba the Greek have to do with resilience and how he can help us be resilient?
“Zorba the Greek” is the proof of human resilience, illustrating how we have the power and all that it takes to overcome adversity and thrive in the face of hardship.
Reading the book again helped me get back on track and reminded me also of my Cretan roots and the exquisite characteristics of Cretan people. You see, the island of Crete, is famous for its self-efficiency. People on this island produce nearly everything to sustain themselves.
They also have an innate heroism and a zest for life that is difficult to find anywhere else on Earth. And they are so hospitable too, eager to welcome you and make you part of their small yet grand empire.
Zorbas and my thoughts on Cretans revived my spirit and here I am today ready to adjust to my recent downturns and get things going. Including dedicating this blog to how to be resilient and conquer adversity the …Zorba way.
What does it mean to be resilient? (The Zorba way)
Being resilient doesn’t mean you are immune to life’s difficulties. You will still experience challenges, pain, negative emotions, and other unwanted things. But with resilience, those things will not ‘topple your tower’.
Being resilient means that you put your energy into what you can control instead of what you can’t and take proper measures to be prepared for the worse. It means to make the best of what you have and live every moment as it is a gift. It also means building strong connections with other people because many hands make light work.
And sharing eagerly what you have because sharing is caring and it comes back to you in double doses. And finally, it means that you have the skill to overcome any difficulties life throws upon you because they are inevitable.
This is what Cretans do, and Greek author Kazantzakis praised this way of living in all of his work.
Why do you need to be resilient?
To start with, being resilient is crucial for your well-being. You want and need to be resilient to be able to cope with the difficulties of life and rely on your own fortitude. It’s not that the universe is working against you. But, life is unpredictable and you don’t want to be derailed from your trajectory every time you encounter adversity.
Resilient people tend to be more optimistic and more secure that they can handle it no matter what. They are more secure in themselves and can bounce back quickly from any downturns.
Surely, all people, at some point in their life, have gone through at least one difficult and perhaps even traumatic experience. It can be a divorce, a great loss, a financial disaster, or an unpleasant childhood. Some of them manage to put the difficulty behind them and recover. But others strive to overcome hardship and move forward.
They remain stuck at what they “had” and what they “lost”, what they “want” and what they “don’t want”. This mindset can be debilitating to their mental health and every aspect of their life.
To be resilient is a crucial element for a life that evolves and progresses successfully.
Resilience is not an innate trait
Some people can do better than others when faced with adversity. Their upbringing, their relationships, their financial state, or simply their mindset can help them overcome faster and easier what life throws upon them. They are more resilient than others.
However, the good news is that resilience is a skill. And as a skill, it can be cultivated with the right work.
That is if you are willing to do the work of course. So, if you think you lack resilience and self-efficacy and you get discouraged once hurdles appear in your route, here is what you can do to be more resilient.
3 Steps To Be Resilient The Zorba Way
Step 1. Create Purpose
Give your life meaning. This is after all the ultimate task of every human on earth. Having a purpose in life makes you more resilient. And before you start feeling worried if you haven’t found your purpose yet, stop. You don’t have to search for the “Holy Grail” to create purpose. You can give meaning to pretty much any situation and that depends on your value system.
If your marriage let’s say is important to you, you can decide to find the strength to say “no” to any tempting offers or resolve smoothly the conflicts that arise. A strong and happy marriage can be your purpose. If you got fired and have a family to breed you can adjust to finding a temporary job to pay your bills despite being overqualified for the position. Your family’s well-being can be your purpose.
If you lost your partner and feel depressed you can seek the help of a psychologist to bounce back and not let your emotional state affect your work performance. Protecting your professionalism can be your purpose.
See? Creating a purpose doesn’t have to always be about something big. But even in small everyday situations, the meaning you give to them is what makes you resilient. And offers you the energy to find ways to overcome the difficulties you come across. So, come up with that meaning.
Step 2. Change the story you tell yourself
Mishaps are inevitable. And can make us vulnerable. Some can even scare the hell out of us. But, after the first shock, it all boils down to how we interpret the things that happen to us. The meaning we give to them.
As Epictetus once said, “Suffering doesn’t come from what happened to you but from what you believe about what happened to you”. It is the belief you have about adversity that triggers your reaction to it. For example, a divorce can mean to you that you are unworthy of love and companionship.
With this belief in your mind, it is more than possible that you will get stuck in a self-pity vicious cycle and lose precious time to go on with your life and explore what the future has in store for you. But is that really the case? Probably not.
If you change the story you tell yourself about the divorce, your emotional state will also change and so will your actions. Resilient people come up with beneficial stories about the adversities of life, discover the hidden lessons and opportunities they bring, and adjust accordingly without losing their spirit.
So, next time something bad happens to you, pause, reflect, and choose to see the bright side of life. That will make you more resilient.
Step 3. Promote self-care
Being resilient has a lot to do with how you treat yourself. To face difficulties effectively you have to be in good mental, emotional, and physical health. Otherwise, you can be easily defeated.
- Do you exercise regularly?
- Do you eat healthily?
- Do you rest sufficiently?
- Do you have your needs met?
- Have you built a support network of relationships around you?
- Do you regulate your emotions successfully?
- Do you dedicate time to grow as a person?
All these are important elements of resilience.
And if you lack in any of the above areas start working towards enhancing them. If you are in a good state you not only minimize the chances of upheaval but you are more prepared and secure in yourself that you can face with resilience whatever challenge comes your way.
In a crisis and needing a resilience boost?
If you are currently experiencing a crisis in whatever sector of your life you should know that this crisis is actually testing how much resilient you are. And if you don’t feel quite confident that you can surpass it, worry not!
I am here to help you not just survive this crisis (and the crisis that inevitably will follow) but help you to thrive in it. I am here to give you a resilience boost. One you can retreat to when in need.
You only have to contact me directly for a 30-minute free-of-charge discovery call. Simple as that. And with no other obligation on your behalf. In our short yet in-depth session you will gain precious insight into how the crisis is impacting you along with some concrete tips and tricks to be more resilient and use wisely your inner and outer resources without fear.
Because as the best-selling Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis once wrote, “If you look fear deep in the eye, the fear is frightened and goes away”.
So, are you ready to face fear?
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