Set new goals, reinvent yourself every time you fail

A life devoted to the pursuit of self-overcoming is more satisfactory than a life devoted to the pursuit of pleasure.

By Shahram Heshmat (Pep Talk)

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Published: Wed 16 Jan 2019, 8:46 PM

Last updated: Wed 16 Jan 2019, 10:48 PM

Resilience is defined as the psychological capacity to adapt to stressful circumstances and to bounce back from adverse events. Resilient individuals find a calling and dedicate themselves to what gives life purpose. The following describes some insights from Friedrich Nietzsche on the best way to develop resilience. Nietzsche was one of the most interesting thinkers of all time. In addition to being a philosopher, he was also a psychologist.
Goal pursuit: Whether to maintain physical health or to perform well on an exam, goals form an integral part of daily life. Behaviour is basically guided by goals.
Nietzsche remarked that "set for yourself goals, high and noble goals, and perish in pursuit of them! I know of no better life purpose than to perish in pursuing the great and impossible." To stay committed, the 'why' of goal striving matters. As Nietzsche remarked, "He who has a why to live can bear almost any how." 'Why' questions encourage long-term thinking or desirability of pursuing an action. An important reason for the failure in goal pursuit is attributed to poorly defined and ambiguous goals. Poorly defined goals may lead to the formation of weak intentions to realise the goal and to subsequent procrastination.
Challenge assumption: The key to problem-solving is to search for hidden assumptions rather than a search for solutions. These hidden assumptions provide a clue to the mental make-up of the decision maker. Truthfulness is a core value for Nietzsche. Convictions are prisons. Great leaders are skeptics. This is perhaps a true definition of self-confidence: the ability to look at the world without the need to look for instances that pleases one's ego.
The will to power: The will to power is the foundation of Nietzsche's philosophy. Power means as the will to overcome oneself (the development of self-control strength). It is the overcoming of weakness or dependence. Thus, power is a state of mind, not wealth and military power, or the domination of others. The achievement of independence is the source of pleasure. Someone who conquers himself, he uses his power to achieve his own potential. Weakness is dangerous for human character. A weak person tends to find scapegoats or to find somebody upon whom they can look down in order to feel superior. Self-mastery is the highest degree of power.
The power of human reason. Nietzsche challenges us to have the courage to be different and independent. The powerful is the rational person who subjects even his most cherished beliefs to the rigors of rationality and revises those beliefs in the light of new evidence. Reason is the highest indicator of the will to power. It helps to develop foresight and to give consideration to all the impulses.
Growth through suffering. Nietzsche famously said, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." For instance, post-traumatic growth is a phenomenon by which people suffered from past events surpass themselves. In the aftermath of major life struggles, where fundamental assumptions are seriously confronted, can lead to positive psychological change or post-traumatic growth. This explains why overprotective parents trying to help their children are often hurting them the most.
-Psychology Today
Shahram Heshmat is an associate professor emeritus of health economics of addiction at the University of Illinois at Springfield


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