I want you to imagine that your physical body is represented by a rental car.
Throughout your life you only have one physical body, so therefore you only get one rental car.
Research shows that between three and five percent of the human race are born with a genetic disorder. Unfortunately, lifestyle choices account for the rest of the health problems experienced so the rental car you have may incur some damage along the journey.
How well you drive and look after that rental car, combined with how much wear and tear your car experiences determines how long it will last.
Imagine that the four wheels on the car represent the four domains of resilience: physical, emotional, mental and existential. Challenges, adversity and stressful situations are viewed as bumps in the road – every time you hit a bump, you knock pressure out of your tyres and maybe cause damage to the car.
Each bump on the road triggers the stress response which in turn depletes your inner battery of energy which represents your capacity to be resilient. The less energy you have the less resilient you will feel.
As you may already have experienced, you do not get far on a flat tyre. In the same way, when you feel drained mentally, physically or emotionally you do not function properly. You are likely to make poor decisions, procrastinate and lose focus.
It is through the emotional domain that we deplete the most energy and usually unnecessarily. This is like forgetting to turn the car headlights off once you are home and then finding that the battery is flat in the morning.
Emotions such as frustration, self-doubt and worry deplete your inner battery of energy far quicker than the other three domains.
Have you experienced a time when you have been worrying about something which led to a sleepless night? You probably woke up feeling tired and weary the next day. If you keep going without recharging your inner battery of energy, eventually this will lead to poor health, chronic stress and breakdown.
When you constantly trigger your stress response and knock your body out of balance, it is like driving your car with one foot on the accelerator and the other foot on the brake. Driving your car in this manner feels jerky and uncomfortable. It burns a huge amount of fuel, creates wear and tear on the parts and puts the engine under a lot of stress.
When you constantly run from one thing to another, juggling your never-ending to-do list and not looking after yourself, this is exactly how you experience life. Car problems are like health problems. Eventually these health problems will slow you down and stop you from living a full and healthy life.
Despite seeing the warning lights on the dashboard of your car, we do not always pay attention to the problem – too busy to get it seen to or hoping that it will go away. We may even try to hide the problem, by touching up the exterior so that it continues to look good on the outside, disguising what is happening on the inside.
Not dealing with the root cause of the problem and trying to fix the symptoms will almost definitely cost you more in the future.
Ignoring the problems and not changing how you drive your rental car will only ensure that the same issues will arise time after time. Eventually, solutions that the garage can provide will become more and more limited. The only option is to focus on the problem – address that problem and learn how to drive the car more effectively.
This is the same as learning to transform stress and build resilience on an ongoing basis, so that when you do hit bumps in the road you are better equipped to deal with them.
If you take care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and existentially then it is more likely that your rental car will serve you more effectively and probably last a lot longer. More importantly, the time spent in your rental car will lead to happier, healthier and more fulfilling experiences.
When it is time to finally hand in the keys, how will you want to remember your ride?