When was the last time you looked at someone and thought, “Wow. That person is sexy”? Can you remember why you thought that? There are a variety of physical reasons, of course, that one person finds another desirable. But for me, truly sexy people are those who demonstrate certain attributes: confidence, an open mind, a sense of humor, a curiosity in the world. The one characteristic that I find most sexy, however, is resiliency.
James Cascio, who was named as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers, said that “Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected… The goal of resilience is to thrive.” What I love about his quote is the idea that despite the unexpected things life throws at us, we have the capacity to thrive. Sure, we can focus just on surviving. But Cascio reminds us that we are capable of much, much more. It is the people who are able to take the unexpected, embrace the challenge, and truly thrive that I find the most exciting kind of people.
Everyone knows the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I’m not a big fan of that saying. Reason is that to make lemonade means taking those lemons, watering them down to nothing, and covering their tartness with batches of sugar. I’m not one to sugarcoat anything. I’m also not one to pretend that a situation always has a silver lining or that there’s always an easy fix. Some things just suck. But I am an optimist most of the time. And instead of covering the true taste of the lemon, I believe there is value in learning to be comfortable with the bitterness. Without the sting of lemons, could we truly appreciate the kiss of something sweet? Sexy people don’t make lemonade.
This reflection does not ignore the fact that sometimes life is really, really hard. Sometimes, right out of the blue we are smacked with a situation we never even saw coming. Sometimes, we are left feeling not like ourselves at all and we get tired. It is easy at these times to become a victim. But it is those people who can take these times to learn something about themselves – and who become better people as a result – those are the sexy people. Those are the people I want to be around.
I looked up the word resilient in the dictionary and found three definitions:
1. springing back;
2. returning to the original form or position after being bent, compressed, or stretched; and
3. recovering readily from adversity, or the like; buoyant.
The last definition is my favorite. I never thought about being resilient as being buoyant. But the idea of being able to float on top of the adversity in our lives is a really beautiful image to me. Floating on it does not deny its existence. Instead, challenges become like an ocean under the boat of our lives. We can learn to navigate them, to maneuver them strategically, and to appreciate the swells that constantly move us forward. We may not always move in the direction we intended and sometimes we get splashed right in the face with a mouth full of brine, but we keep floating. It is when we can savor the smell of salt air, appreciate the wind through our sails, and continue to chart great explorations, then we are living … thriving … I’d get on that boat any day. (If there happens to be a sexy first mate on board, even better!)