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What increasing resilience means

The number of COVID-19 infections continue to increase every day due to the Omicron variant of the virus. In these kinds of situations, it is important for us to focus on improving our abilities to be resilient.

The way resilience is usually defined generally focuses on our ability to “create effective responses, competencies or adaptations” to difficulties or threats that we face. From my perspective, I’ve found that the saying of the late martial arts Master Minoru Mochizuki, "Onore ni Katsu” or “Overcome yourself," to be a more helpful way to think about the concept of Resilience.

“Onore ni Katsu” is incredibly difficult. This is because we all want to pamper ourselves. In other words, we want to see things in a way that is convenient for us.

There is a inborn psychological bias called "normality bias” or “normalcy bias” that affects all human beings. When we are confronted with an unexpected situation, our preconceptions and biases of what was before considered "impossible" come into play, and our minds automatically guide us to believe these things are normal. The problem is, even when things around us become excessive or extreme, because of the effects of the normality bias, we convince ourselves that “everything is fine” and don’t take any corrective action.

So, how can we act calmly, without panic, and adapt well to unexpected situations?

It is to have "wisdom" (the ability to discern the true nature of things) and "preparedness”.

The late Master Minoru Mochizuki taught us through the martial arts that "wisdom" (pronounced “chi” in Japanese) is the ability to discern the essence or true nature of things, and "preparedness” (or “bishin" in Japanese) is the mind to prepare for the past, present and future.

In the midst of an overflow of information, it is necessary to determine what is true and what is important, and not just be swayed by the media or the information we see on social media, but to think carefully and determine the essence of things for oneself. It is important not to get too caught up in the "normality bias" that I mentioned earlier. Even if it is inconvenient for you, you need to accept difficulties and threats, analyze them, determine their essence, and respond to them.

And according to the principles of "Bishin", we must always be prepared by looking at the past, present and future.

In the dojo, we repeatedly practice through our techniques for how to respond to difficulties and threats by identifying the true nature of the attack and maintaining a mind that is prepared by looking collectively at the past, present, and future. In other words, "wisdom" and "preparedness" cannot be acquired without daily training (which we call “Tanren” in Japanese).

In order to enhance our wonderful ability of "resilience," we need to practice "chi" and "bishin" on a regular basis. There are many times in my daily life that I have been saved thanks to my practices of “chi” and “bishin”.

In order to increase our resilience related to any challenges or threats that we face, it’s easiest to start with the small things in our daily lives. And, like the saying I explained in an earlier blog post goes, we’ll be able to "fall seven times, stand up eight," and smoothly get up again and again!

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