If you looked at the life of someone who was born in the beginning of the 20th century and lived 100 years, which some have Don Dirren notes, they would give us a lesson on personal resilience and tough times.
Don Dirren starts off with a child born at the turn of the century only to become a teenager while World War I is raging all across Europe. If, as a male, the person was lucky enough to make it through unscathed, he would then have had to face at least three or four rounds of annual Spanish Flu waves that came right after. By this point, statistically this child now a young adult has already beat the odds versus more than 100 million others, but we’ve only now made it to the 1930s and the Great Depression.
Don Dirren then continues with the fact that the person then ends up spending the next 25 years with two major wars that cause more upheaval in the form of World War II and the Korean War. By now, if compared to Las Vegas odds, our 20th-century adventurer has been through 50 years of absolutely insane societal changes and is still moving forward in his 40s or 50s, probably with a full family and trying to hold onto a career in the midst of it all or being relocated and starting all over again just to survive, and that’s assuming the person isn’t in the military and surviving two major tours of duty back to back.
Now, moving into the second half of the 20th century, the person is finally reaping the benefits of a lot of hard work, perseverance, and experience, only to see in some cases that effort being eroded by inflation and economic turmoil that came with the 1970s. If he can hang on long enough, reaching the 1980s, the person then restores his savings and retirement and moves through the 1990s in later years to see Europe changed dramatically again with the fall of the Warsaw Pact and Communism, and the world reshaping itself again.
From Don Dirren‘s perspective such a life, is a classic textbook lesson for us in the 2020s on how resilience carries through tough times. The above story, per Don Dirren, is not unique. It is one that has been lived and played by hundreds of thousands of centenarians who were able to make to live to 2000 and a few years afterward. Yes, times right now have definitely been challenging, disruptive, and testing our nerves. But, Don Dirren points out the experience many of us just had in 2020 is both a building phase as well as part of resilience-building, that mental weathering that can help us in the future get through tougher times that still may come. This kind of personal “stress-testing” Don Dirren notes tends to be positive and long-lasting, allowing a person to bounce back far more rapidly when subsequent changes or challenges appear again.
Resilience doesn’t come with an over-the-counter magic pill. It is a learned, experience-based skill and attribute that is essential for long-term success. Resilience is often the difference between people who have everything going for them but fail to put it all together versus those constantly faced with challenges but who achieve great things that change everyone around them. There is no perfect formula; everyone’s resilience-building is case by case. However, Don Dirren points out that we can all learn from those who came before us on what mistakes not to make, adding to our personal portfolios. With the current pandemic winding down finally, it’s a good time to take stock from what each of us has been through and consider how we all can use that experience to build our own resilience forward. There will be challenges again, that much is guaranteed, especially in a world that is moving much faster now than it did 100 years ago in 1920. Our being ready for it and the next event is what will, in Don Dirren’s opinion, make the difference for us and our children in their time.