Why Change Builds Resilience and Character

Can I share a personal story with you?

 

When I was 14 years old, I received a scholarship to attend a performing arts boarding school in Southern California where I was immersed in theatre and a tight knit community of like minded artist. I was living my dream and I loved it.

 

Then my dad told me I couldn’t go back to my sophomore year, because we couldn’t afford the remaining tuition that my scholarship didn’t cover.

 

I was forced to move, go to a new school, and make new friends. I had to start all over again I was crushed.

 

As I look back on this experience ten years later, I’m grateful for having experienced this life transition because I learned three important lessons that are common amongst ambitious people coping with anxiety and stress:

1. Change builds resilience

 

Moving from a boarding school environment to a large public school with several thousand students forced me to adapt to new situation fast. While the personal chaos felt overwhelming and pretty shitty to say the least, the rapid transition helped me deal with future transitions like moving to a new city after graduating college with no money or career direction.

 

By undergoing change, you build resilience. Resilience helps you cope with stress. The more you change, the more likely you’ll be able to move through stressful times with clarity and grace.

2. Challenge builds character

 

I cried non-stop for 45 minutes when I found out I had to leave the boarding school. The boarding school in my 14-year-old’s mind was my identity. Without being there, I didn’t feel whole or complete.

 

By learning mindfulness practices such as meditation and yoga, I’ve learned to separate my circumstances from my identity…. and you can do the same.

 

The challenges you face build character. Character is often misinterpreted as your identity. Character comes from the strength you build after challenges, but identity is who you are at your core. Learn to separate character from your identity, and you’ll be able to look at stressful challenges in a whole new light.

3. Uncertainty welcomes new opportunities

 

Having to start all over at a new school forced me to make new friends. At first it was really hard, but then I joined the drama department and met some nice kids. I ended up meeting one of my best friends and we’re still friends ten years later.

 

Even if you have no idea what’s going to happen when you’re in transition or going through a stressful life change, it’s important to remain open because you never know what may come your way. You may meet a new friend, land a dream job, or start that creative project you’ve been itching to get out into the world.

 

What’s the take away message here?

 

Life is in constant change and transition. When you surrender to the possibilities, you learn to find lessons in every stressful challenge. Then you’re able to live with more resilience, character, and opportunities.

 

…and you don’t have to be alone in all of this. You can reach out to me to share with me a challenge you’re facing or let me know in the comments below.

 

I’m happy to listen.