On this week’s podcast, I continued on from last week speaking on fortitude which, if given the fortitude in your life, will lead to resilience. If you didn’t catch this week’s podcast here is what I said:
There once was a hard working man that was fired from a variety of jobs throughout his career before he first started cooking in his roadside Shell Service Station in 1930, when he was 40 years old, during the Great Depression. His gas station didn’t actually have a restaurant, so he served diners in his attached personal living quarters.
Over the next 10 years, he perfected his “Secret Recipe” and pressure fryer cooking method for his famous delectables and moved onto bigger locations. His food was even praised in the media by food critic Duncan Hines (yes, that Duncan Hines). However, as the interstate came through the Kentucky town where his restaurant was located in the 1950s, it took away important road traffic, and he was forced to close his business and retire, essentially broke. Worried about how he was going to survive off his meager $105 monthly pension check, he set out to find restaurants who would franchise his secret recipe—he wanted a nickel for each piece of chicken sold. He drove around, sleeping in his car, and was rejected more than 1,000 times before (cue rooster) Colonel Harland Sanders finally found his first partner starting what we now know as Kentucky Fried Chicken.
As much as you don’t want it to happen, and as much as you try to prepare, it is inevitable that something bad is bound to happen to you. This isn’t being pessimistic, this is being realistic. It isn’t all that hard to think about all the crazy things that can possibly happen in life, kind of like what you just heard about Colonel Sanders. You might get laid off from work. You might experience some kind of natural disaster. You might, God forbid, get really sick. You’re more than likely going to experience a bad relationship or have someone around or close to you die.
If there is one thing I have learned, life is always compromised of a bunch of ups and downs, and this is a fact we can’t change that. What we can change, like we discussed last week is how we react to those times that arise through fortitude and what we’ll talk about today, how we bounce back. That is a place called RESILIENCE.
Going back one more time to the Colonel… If the only way to success is through failure, Harland Sanders certainly earned his success. Born September 9, 1890, in Henryville, Indiana, Harland had a tough childhood. His father passed away when he was six and his mother had to work several jobs to make ends meet. So, he was tasked with looking after his two younger siblings and taking care of the home, which included cooking. It was said before the age of ten, Harland had mastered several regional dishes.
Needing to help provide for the family, he entered the workforce at the age of ten as a farmhand making two dollars a month (about $55 today). At 15, he was working on a streetcar, taking fares and making change. When he was 16, he went looking for adventure and forged documents saying he was of age to enter the Army.
He did just that and got sent to Cuba, where he was honorably discharged after only three months. He made his way to Alabama and over the next twenty plus years he worked a variety of jobs including railroad worker, insurance salesmen, country lawyer (where he was fired after assaulting his own client), Ohio River steamboat ferry operator, a tire salesmen, and secretary to the Chamber of Commerce in Columbus, Indiana. For six years, he was the operator of a gas station, his longest-tenured job, before it was closed due to the Great Depression.
In 1930, at the age of 40, broke, and having already failed several times in the workforce, he made his way to Corbin, Kentucky where the Shell Oil Company agreed to allow him and his family to live at a recently built gas station. In exchange, a large percentage of sales was to be given back to Shell.
Incidentally, if you’re curious as to how he was called COLONEL: Kentucky Colonel is the highest honor that can be bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. To be named a “Colonel” is to be recognized for “outstanding service to community, state, and nation.” The sitting governor of Kentucky, or the Secretary of State of Kentucky, are the only ones who can bestow such an honor onto an individual. These colonels are “Kentucky’s ambassadors of goodwill and fellowship around the world” and are “people from all walks of life.”
Luminaries such as Muhammad Ali, Jim Beam, Fred Astaire, Betty White, and Winston Churchill are among the eclectic mix of people who have been named a Kentucky Colonel. BACK TO OUR COLONEL…. As Sanders (not yet a Colonel) said himself in his autobiography, “Corbin was the only place I knew I could start again without any money, a place where business would be driving by my door 24 hours a day.” He was proud of his gas station, so proud in fact, that when challenged by a neighboring gas station worker (owned by Standard Oil), a shootout occurred. Sanders “gun blazing, emerged victorious.” Despite the fact that he’d shot the neighboring gas station worker, no charges were filed as the other man had shot first.
Talk about resilience!
I mentioned last week that resilience can be defined in these two ways:
the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
Unlike our beloved Colonel, I’m sure we all may have that person who comes to mind immediately that always sulks or has a whoa is me life… I just don’t know why these things always happen to me! You know the person, hopefully, that person isn’t you, however, if it is, stick around, you might just find some answers you’ve been looking for!
If you feel like your traveling from job to job like Harland was or in the place of visiting restaurant # 723 and about to quit and reliance is more a dream than a reality, here are a few quick points you may consider adopting into your life or shoring them up to be stronger:
Don’t find a silver lining, expect one! Resilient people are characterized by an ability to experience both negative and positive emotions even in difficult or painful situations. A resilient person can mourn losses and endure frustrations, but they can also find great potential and value in most challenges. When a not-so-resilient person face difficulties, all of their emotions turn negative. If things are good, they feel good, but if things are bad and not just bad they are wrecked! Resilient people, on the other hand, tend to find some silver lining in even the worst of circumstances. They definitely see and acknowledge the bad however, the difference is they’ll find a way to also see the good. That is a bounce back position.
It’s not always LIVE AND LEARN, but more LIVE TO LEARN. The more you can leverage challenges as opportunities to grow and evolve, the more resilient you are likely to be. A resilient person looks at an issue and would immediately say WHAT CAN I LEARN FROM THIS instead of CRAP! Here we go again!! Looking at pain as an opportunity to learn and developing the will to build confidence and the habit of moving toward the pain instead of running from it — goes a long way in terms of building resiliency. I would never have expected to be in the situation I am in now in my life, however, I always hoped I would be doing exactly what I am doing in the midst of it. I have found that the posture of Living TO learn instead of live AND learn has become way more productive for myself and for those around me.
Build A Love Bank! Okay, That’s a goofy like, but, it will make sense in a moment. For years, I have had a ministry called S&W (Servants and Witnesses) I have always felt a supernatural need and desire to serve, even when I don’t want to in many cases. Being of service to others is a powerful way of stoking resilience. Studies such as the “Mother Theresa Effect” at Harvard or articles like in Psychology Today titled “What We Get When We Give” (by Christine Carter, Ph.D. say that serotonin [the neurotransmitter associated with feelings of happiness and well-being] is used more efficiently by people who have just engaged in an act of kindness. The more you deposit into your kindness bank the more that is available to you and others when a withdrawal is needed.
Take Care of Yourself! I am definitely not the best spokesperson here, but I’m working on it. Recently I was told I have a couple more spots developing on my brain where I had the tumor removed and radiation done. In the midst of looking to see what we can do, my paleontologist told me to exercise more. I told him, “You do remember I have chronic fatigue, right doc?!” He said yes and mentioned that my brain needs exercise too. Meaning, our brains love oxygen and to walk or jog or something easy like that I feed my brain what it needs and it can actually help to make things better! Good health — and a regular routine of healthy habits — are foundational to both mental and emotional resilience. You don’t have to go to the gym 7 days a week and run marathons, you just have to start, do something. When you start something, you find everything is better than doing nothing. Rest and I don’t mean laziness is vital as well. I have been learning this over the past few years. Mental breaks and relaxation also help keep stress chemicals at bay, reducing the likelihood of feeling or becoming, overwhelmed and reactive.
Laugh a Little. If anyone knows me, they know I like to kid around. Many times, it’s actually gotten me in trouble, however, everyone knows they can count on a laugh or two from me. The Bible (in the New Living Translation) even teaches us in Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. So, yes, laugh a little. Find a friend who’s funny, look for some funny (clean) movies that make you laugh. Look up some of the comic greats from the 30s-60’s, they will have you in tears, however, this time, it is the right kind of tears!
There are so many other points I could share with you, but we just don’t have enough time today. The point of all of this is to help guide and direct you through a place of FORTITUDE like we talked about last week which is a place of strength and courage that leads to a place of RESILIENCE, a place where you can bounce back from things, learn from them and have healthy life practices in place designed to keep you there.
We all go through tough times, there is just no way around them and some, some are really, really hard. If we take time to develop the discipline of fortitude and resilience in our lives, we won’t only be a better person for it, we can REVEAL HOPE in other’s lives as well.
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So, live a life of Fortitude and live it Resiliently!! And in all of it, whatever circumstance or situation, never, ever give up and never, ever forget
CREDIT FOR THE SANDERS STORY: TodayIFoundOut.Com. Written by Matt Blitz April 2014
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