How Great is Your Bouncebackability?

Christchurch bouncebackability

My fellow Reinvention Man, Larry, is a rabid supporter of Arsenal football team. As a New Zealander, I am far less passionate about football (indeed we Kiwis are far more enamoured by the oval ball, rather than the round one). However, I am going to upset Larry in this post be referencing one of his opposition English Premier League Football teams.

Have you heard of bouncebackability? It is actually a word. I am not making it up.

Unusually for a word, we can date its first use and user. In November 2004, Iain Dowie, manager of Crystal Palace football club gave a post-match interview. His team had managed to claw their way back from defeat by Larry’s beloved Arsenal, to score an equalizing goal. In his interview, Dowie stated, “Crystal Palace have shown great bouncebackability against their opponents to really be back in this game.”

With that statement, a new word was born that entered the English language, and has even now been included in the Oxford English Dictionary, which defines bouncebackability as being “the capacity to recover quickly from a setback”.

Why Bouncebackability is Important

I have always considered bouncebackability to be one of my greatest strengths. Considering that my life has been, at times, something of a rollercoaster, that is a skill I am very pleased to have.

We all face setbacks and challenges through life. Everyone will face their darkest days at some point. Indeed, many of us suffer from depression at some stage in our life, too. I certainly have.

The important thing, though, is that you claw your way up from your lowest ebb. Never give up. It may be extremely hard to imagine how life can improve, but in virtually every case it can.

I was once a high school teacher. We had this Deputy Principal, who liked to espouse the latest trends and push professional development onto all staff members. She seemed to have some new fad that she would preach as gospel each term.

One word she regularly used was ‘resilience’. She repeated the phrase so often that I came to hate the sound of it. We constantly heard about the need to be ‘resilient teachers’ creating ‘resilient learners’ in a ‘resilient environment’ – without ever learning what those terms really meant.

The cynicism this generated in me hid the fact that resilience is actually very important to our wellbeing. Resilience acts like fuel. Resilience is what drives our bouncebackability. Resilient people learn to cope with difficult life situations. Resilient people look at these situations as challenges to work at overcoming, rather than insurmountable problems.

So, as much as I hated hearing about resilient teachers trying to create resilient students, I have to admit she did have a point.

Do not wallow in the past, no matter how bad it has been. Always look forward.

At times, my life has had the makings of a second-rate soap opera. However, with a combination of some innate resilience, along with help from others keeping me in a positive frame of mind, I have been able to bounce back to a much better position in life. I have been able to reinvent myself.

I know that you may feel that life has passed you by. You may feel pain or anguish at your situation. However, at some point, you are going to have to say to yourself, “No I am better than this. I can succeed. I will achieve my dreams”.

Once you convince yourself of this, you are on the road to recovery, and your bouncebackability has begun.

Oh, and if you are wondering about the relevance of the photo on this post. My hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand, was shattered by a series of horrific earthquakes in 2010-2011. While the landmark Christchurch Cathedral remains a ruin, stuck in a bureaucratic stupor, the people of Christchurch have shown tremendous bouncebackability and city is now making a tremendous recovery.

photo credit: CHCH Before After Cathedral Front 2 via photopin (license)

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