Today we know so much more about our brains and how they work than we did just a decade ago. According to most experts we still only have about ten percent understanding of our ten pound mass upstairs. One of the latest findings is about our serotonin transporter gene – known as 5-HTT – which helps regulate serotonin in the central nervous system. Serotonin is the “feel good” chemical in the brain. This is one chemical you and I both want in large doses. Most of us, however, will be left wanting. Turns out that each of has two copies of this gene, one from mom and one from dad. The one you want is a pair of the long versions of this gene. The long one “appears” to protect against adversity. Get two “longs” and you get a “bounce.” According to research done at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, only 32% of us get the Resilience Gene, 17% get two shorts, and 51% get a mixture.
Translation. Thirty two percent of us will see adversity with eyes filled with serotonin and feel, naturally, pretty good about it. We’ll see the other side, the challenge and will get back up a lot quicker than those that have been less fortunate, genetically speaking. Oh please, let Mom and Dad send me “longs.” You can actually get tested for this gene according to Ben Sherwood in his book, The Survivors Club. Whatever your genetic makeup, the good news is, there is much that you can do to build your resilience. According to Dr. Dennis Charney, the reigning king of resilience studies in America, there’s a ten step prescription for building yourself into a “bouncer” with or without any help from the gene pool. I’ve listed his steps first and then put the pointer to the BTL 12 beside it for those that follow our work. The tie in is amazingly on point. Check it out.
1. Practice Optimism. BTL Essential 7. Build your Optimism. The way you talk to yourself in adversity matters a great deal. Most of us are prone to get down on self when life gets hard. Learned optimism is all about becoming hard on self without getting down on self. Practice this, leader.
2. Identify a resilient role model. BTL Essential 1. Build your core. Become a resilient, core centered role model for your family, friends, and clients. Model the way. Mass attracts mass, remember.
3. Develop a moral compass and unbreakable beliefs. BTL Essential 1. Build your core. Discover your worldview, identity, principles. Live with passion, purpose, and according to your well defined process. This will define your “due north” and the detailed map toward your opus. Compass = core. Build your internal gps. Good.
4. Practice alturism. BTL Essential 2. Build your Humility. Nothing makes you want to give back more than when you see yourself in proper perspective. Stop looking down on others and build the habit of looking up with gratitude.
5. Develop acceptance and cognitive flexibility. BTL Essential 8. Build your Commitment to Learn. The lifelong learner learns from the past, lives in the moment, and develops the most productive way forward. We can only do what we have learned to do.
6. Face your fears. BTL Essential 3. Build your courage. Step one is facing your fears. Step two is acting into them. This habit, like all productive ones, is learned by consistent choosing productive action.
7. Build coping skills. BTL Essential 4. Build discipline. Disciplined courage is a powerful combination. The first coping mechanism is to take responsibility for one’s own happiness.
8. Establish a social network to help you. BTL Essential 12. Build transforming relationships. None of us is meant to make it on our own. The builder’s journey requires the aid of true friends. Start by being one…
9. Stay fit. BTL Essential 5. Build your healthy, physical life. A fit mind surrounded by a sick body is silly. We, in America, need to take this one to heart. Pun intended.
10. Laugh as much as you can. BTL Essential 9. Build your emotional intelligence. The number one emotion we struggle with, as humans, is anger. The number one emotion that our teams want to see, is caring. Once cared for, once we’re safe, we find the ability to laugh at our differences. Start by learning to laugh at self instead of others. Freakin’ magic in the making when we laugh at self instead of loathing self.
Slow down and sit with these bouncers for awhile. You and I can build our resilience even if we came up short in the genetic pool. In fact, we’re learning a ton about our genetic expression and are starting to believe genetic expression is changeable too. We are not victims of our genes, our environments, or much of anything. We are becoming more resilient by our choices. You choose. Your choices have consequences. Follow this prescription and you’re well on your way. We believe, the BTL 12 offers all this and more. You have to do the work, however. We, your BTL builders, are here to help you on the climb. You have what it takes, at least in our minds. What, friend, do you think? Good.
Live hard. Love harder (Thanks, Teeks)…