Developing resilience depends on increasing your internal resources instead of increasing consumption of external resources.
The problem throughout history has been that our instinct to meet new needs by using more resources is no longer a realistic solution. It’s a difficult situation to navigate.
The global population is growing, and growing populations have growing needs. In our personal lives, we grow from infants to children to adults, and along the way, we need more.
There’s a need for more resources without any assurances that there always will be more available. What is needed is the ability to increase resources without increasing consumption of them. It seems a paradoxical challenge, but one that is achievable.
The journey to developing resilience begins categorizing resources into two types: external and internal.
External resources are the things we use or rely on to do our jobs, meet a challenge, or respond to a need: objects, fuel, materials, technology, tools, mechanical assistance, and so on.
There are many types of external resources, but all share one trait: regardless of their origin or form, they are limited.
Natural resources become depleted, physical materials are consumed, mechanical apparatus require energy and fuel and wear out over time. In addition, acquiring external resources almost always involves an expenditure of sorts, either financial or material.
There is a limit to the supply and longevity of external resources and constraints in terms of access—every thing has to reside somewhere. Employing external resources relies on having access to those things.
Most importantly, moments of vulnerability and risk can increase when there is an over-reliance on external resources to provide solutions. In moments of urgent need, external resources can be unstable and unpredictable, for reasons already noted.
Internal resources are the capabilities we acquire over time: experience, knowledge, technical ability, perception, skills, insight, and so on. They are investments we make in ourselves.
Internal resources are not confined by the same limitations as external resources. There are always more abilities and skills to acquire, more insight and experience to be gained.
Most importantly, the value of these two resources changes with their use. External resources decrease in capability and value as they are used and exhausted—physical resources become depleted with use, mechanical resources exhaust with time.
Internal resources, however, increase over time. As they are used, they grow in ability and value. Internal resources provide freedom and an agility of response—they are always with us and ready for use as needed.
As our internal resources increase, so do the capabilities of our external resources. Honing our ability to see external resources in terms of what they could be and could do beyond their current state increases their abilities to meet our needs.
By increasing our internal resources, external resources increase their capacity without necessitating an increase in their consumption.
An excerpt from the book “This Could…” How Two Words Can Create a Better Future.