Reality Check: Resources and Resourcefulness

Picture yourself stranded on a desert island (or an island off Nova Scotia.) As you are “stranded,” it’s implied that you didn’t intend to be in this situation and it’s definitely not what you want.
Now what do you do? You have choices, of course.
One choice would be to sit on the shore and cry. Some of us might start with that, even if only for a few minutes.
You could choose to be grateful for the positive aspects that you can find in the situation. Perhaps you’ve landed uninjured. The island doesn’t have poisonous snakes, spiders or other predators. Even in this gloomy situation, there can still be plenty to be grateful for when you look for the positive elements.
Taking that further, you could choose to perceive this as an unexpected vacation! At last, solitude! I imagine most of us would view that response as absurd. However, it is a perception that you could choose if you want to. That perspective may even work well for a while. That is, until you get hungry, thirsty, sunburned, cold, hot, or the mosquitos find you.
Thoughts are just one area where we have choice. We can also choose actions. You could make a little shelter to protect from the weather. You could gather materials and make a signal on the beach so someone will find you. You could salvage what you can from your wrecked craft and use it to improve your situation.
In our thoughts and actions, we can look for resources and use them to help us get closer to where we want to be. And unless you’ve chosen the “solitude vacation” perspective, where you want to be is probably off the island and back to normal.
When we find ourselves with a problem, it’s easy to forget the resources that are available to us. Our resources are not limited to assets, such as possessions and money. There are others.
For example, each of us has specific skills, knowledge and experience. A friend who was having a difficult time with her employer once told me that she had decided to look at her situation as, “At least I have my education. No one can take that away from me.” Education is one of her important resources. We have other resources, too.
We also have people in our lives. Although some perceive the term “human resources” as impersonal, the fact is that our friends, supporters, family, and even some acquaintances are wonderful resources for us.
If you find it helpful to make lists, then you probably have a notepad nearby, don’t you? Now is a good time to start a new list. Call it your Resource List. Think about the resources available to you and start writing them down.
You may want to put your resources into categories: people that you can depend on, skills that help you through life’s challenges, knowledge that you’ve accumulated, tools, objects and possessions that are useful for various situations.
Why bother to write these resources down now?
When we find ourselves in a difficult situation, whether it’s anxiety, grief, despair, chaos, confusion of any kind, it’s easy to forget the resources we have. We may not be thinking clearly, especially if our situation has changed rapidly. We may lose perspective and not realize that no matter the situation, we still have resources in our lives.
It’s helpful to have a list; one that we’ve made when we were thinking clearly; one that reminds us of our resources.
A resourceful person takes stock and uses what they have to make the situation better. That’s easier to do when you know what resources you have.
What does resourcefulness mean to you? Do you consider yourself a resourceful person? How so?

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