The Texas Rangers' Misunderstanding of Resiliency

The Texas Rangers’ misunderstanding of resiliency may cost them the world series. They are down 3 to 1 as I write this.
The AP came out with a story a couple of days ago titled, Rangers Resiliency Being Tested at World Series.

ARLINGTON, Texas – Michael Young insists the Texas Rangers don’t even talk about resiliency.

“You just have it or you don’t,” Young said Friday. “We have it.”

Now they have to show how resilient they can really be. Or the first World Series in the franchise’s 50 seasons could be over in a hurry….

Now the first thing we ought to note here is that I am NOT a TV sports fan. One colleague I used to travel with a lot joked that he had to teach me how to respond with the phrase, “What a game,” so he could carry on sports conversations with me, no matter the season.
The misunderstanding of resiliency conveyed in the above snippet from the AP story is that, “You either have it or you don’t.” Begging to differ, I suggest we are all born with it; and we can choose to cultivate a relationship with Life that nurtures a vital and vigorous resilience.
Are the Rangers consciously cultivating their resilience? That might be another story, and probably not as much as they might if they “don’t even talk about it.”
The story continues however and demonstrates some positive resiliency characteristics:

“What’s made us so resilient is these guys have been good at dealing with what is presented to them day to day,” manager Ron Washington said. “The key is to make sure that you stay in the moment and just continue to try to do what you’re capable of doing.”…

“We’re resilient because we’ve been through so much,” C.J. Wilson said…. [emphasis mine]

Research confirms that facing life challenges and adversity creates more resilient people, than those ‘who have it easy.’ And learning to ‘stay in the moment’ is certainly a life skill. As the Native American saying goes, “It’s the hard times that grow strong trees.” At least the hard times give us the opportunity to ‘grow strong.’

“We’ve bounced back a lot of times during the season,” Kinsler said. “We’ve had a lot of injuries. We’ve had guys constantly pick each other up. We’ve had different people play well at different times during the season and basically not carry the team, but be a force in the lineup. Right now, we need to do that.”…

Unfortunately, “bouncing back” is not the same thing as learning. Rubber balls bounce; people can change their trajectory with choice and mindfulness. A conscious approach to one’s resilience can move us beyond the ‘bounce back’ variety of resilience.

…”That’s the key to focus on in Game 3 – to play our best baseball and see what happens. If we win or lose playing our best baseball, I think we can stomach that a lot better.”

And yes, playing Life to one’s best is the key to so much in living.
One thing, among several, the Ranger might do to cultivate their resilience is to train for emotional intelligence. Managing the individual and collective emotional environment is critical to tonight’s performance. Positive emotional management is a skill set that we can all learn.
A second strategy to strengthen any individual or team’s resilience is Mindfulness training. As Dr. Daniel Siegel writes in Mindsight, research finds that:

“…people with mindful awareness training have a shift in their brains toward an “approach state” that allows them to move toward rather than away from challenging situations. This is the brain signature of resilience.”

Two simple and yet profound strategies to increase the resiliency of any team or person. It’s not too late for the Rangers, me, or you. What challenge might you require courage to move toward, to approach? Where might you find the meaning that would give you that courage.

1 Comment

  1. Judith Simpson

    11/02/2010 at 1:46 pm

    Thanks for the plug! For the first time in my long life, I’m doing something that is becoming “in vogue!” (Teaching MBSR

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