The Fit Student – A Recipe for Success

Toughen up the fun way: through happy friends, bubble baths, and big dreams. And if these things also make you more productive, then the wind just tugged your sail. Gail Wagnild, in her book True Resilience, reveals how friends, rest, and goals make you a better?more resilient?person.

Find Fulfilling Friends

Friendships strengthen you.

Happy friends lead to a happy you. In Wagnild’s book True Resilience, she cites the following statistic: “[Y]our chance of being happy increases by 15 percent for every happy friend you have. 10 percent for every happy friend of a friend, and even 6 percent for the happy friends of the friends of friends” (p. 166). My boyfriend is the happiest person I have ever known: when someone smiles, his face instantly lights up and he creates an automatic connection. Nothing shakes his happiness, either. He’s always content. Ever since I won the love lotto of having him in my life, everything improved a hundredfold for me. Before him, I went through bouts of depression. Since I fell in love with him, I enjoy daily laughter and ongoing happiness. His happiness is contagious.

Be a good friend. Show loyalty to your friends by never criticizing them behind their backs. When someone speaks poorly about a friend, you can bet they speak poorly about you when you’re not in the room. Don’t be that person. Also, by speaking only positives about the ones you love, people tend to respect you more.

Unconditional giving leads to you building a strong network of close friends. In Wagnild’s book she stresses that when you love someone, you give without expecting anything in return. I learned this lesson personally from studies of Buddhism.

I even helped a fellow colleague apply the principle of unconditional giving to his own relationship. You see, my colleague happily moved to Canada and brought with him a wife and child, yet his wife loathed living in Canada. As a result of his wife’s distress, he underwent serious marital discord.

When he asked me what I would do, I told him, “Love is not about what your wife does for you; love is about what you do for your wife.” I told my colleague that if my boyfriend felt unhappy living in Canada, then I would pack up and relocate in a heartbeat. That advice saved my co-workers marriage. He relocated. Coincidentally, our company closed shop within the following year, so not only did my colleague save his marriage, he also saved himself from pacing the unemployment line alone, and perhaps lonely. When you give without expecting anything in return, your relationships grow and your ability to handle crises improves.

And here’s the paradox: When you give unconditionally, your friends will likely return that unconditional support when you need it the most.

Rest and Recharge

Rest, balance, and goals can straighten out anyone’s spine.

You need to rest, pursue goals, and get balance. Wagnild states that when your life balances work, recreation, and rest, you become more, not less, productive. Take time out for hot baths, pleasurable walks, leisure reading, exercise, and rest. A book on combating anxiety called The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook offered the mantra, “It’s okay for me to take time out for myself.” To avoid feeling guilty, I repeat this mantra whenever I take time-out for fun activities. Balance?and not what kills you?makes you stronger.

Don’t be afraid to say no when your body, spirit, or mind gets taxed. Recently, I took care of a pet while my relatives went on a two-week vacation. The dog, cute-as-a-button, expected not one, but two daily walks. By the end of the two weeks, I felt worn and frazzled. I cried a lot. I gained a few pounds, and I caught a cold. So, when my family members returned, I recalled the mantra in the Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, “It’s okay for me to ask for what I need.” So, I asked them to find someone to help walk the dog the next time they vacate for two weeks. Problem solved.

Map out the things you always wanted to do, and start doing them. Wagnild says to make a list of up to ten things you long to do, pick one item on the list, and make it happen. Don’t worry about whether you have the time or not. If you ever feel doubt about your ability to achieve your goal, Wagnild says to remind yourself that you can do it.

As a matter of fact, a book called Peak by Dr. K. Anders Ericsson shows that research indicates there is no upper limit to human potential. Surely, this applies to your potential. So, whatever your dream or goal, your persistence can make it happen.

So, do enjoyable things like pour a tub of water, call someone who smiles a lot, or map out your bucket list: get balance in life. Your enjoyment of life will soothe you, toughen you up, and boost your productivity?a recipe for student success.