Picture Credit: allworship.com
A few years ago I was asked to speak to a group of year 11/12 graduating students who were going into college/university. I prayed about the topic to speak on and the Lord led me to “Resilience”. Prior to that I wasn’t so familiar with the word.
What is resilience
Dictionary.com defines resilience as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”
Psychologytoday.com defines it as “that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back at least as strong as before. Rather than letting difficulties or failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise.”
Further research shows there is a term called psychological resilience. Psychological resilience is the ability to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis or to return to pre-crisis status quickly.
Essentially, resilience is an essential life virtue that is required. Adversity is a fact of life. The world we live in is a fallen world and there would always be challenges no matter what country you are from, what race you are or what social class you belong too. Challenges comes in different forms.
In the world today there is Covid 19. Covid 19 is a leveler. Everyone regardless of their social status is affected by the consequences of Covid. Whether you are in Banana Island or Mushin. While the challenges may differ, for example, Mushin residents may go through challenges related to hunger while Banana Island residents may have mental health issues due to the over load of bad news from media. The point is everyone will be affected.
The difference and the game changer in all of this is those who are able to come out stronger from adversity. As I write this I’m reminded of the Palm Tree.
The Bible in Psalm 92 verse 12 refers to the Palm Tree “the righteous shall flourish like a palm tree”.
I write extensively about the Palm Tree in my book The Richer Woman. It’s a phenomenal tree with the most amazing attributes for example no single part of the tree is wasted and it also grows the largest seed in the plant kingdom. However for the purpose of this article I’ll focus on one important attribute which is its resilience. Excerpts from my book “The Richer Woman” are as follows:
“One major attribute of the palm tree is its ability to withstand the strongest of storms – even hurricanes. It is flexible, and will often bend with the storm. The palm tree can bend parallel to the ground without breaking. Even though it doesn’t have deep roots, it bounces back even stronger after the storm.
How is it that the palm tree is able to with stand such ferocious storms? How is the palm tree able to survive in conditions that have no nutrients, such as sand in the desert or sand on the sea front? How is it able to use its meagre resources to produce the largest seed in the plant kingdom?
It is because of its process.
Its process is the most profound thing I have ever come across in just about any specie in the plant kingdom.
The growth process of the palm tree is not like the grass that can happen overnight or in one season. First, it grows leaves, sending them on tall stalks towards the forest canopy. This juvenile stage may take decades. When it reaches adulthood, the tree starts to grow a trunk.
It has few roots. An abundance of thin roots grow outward from the plant, near the surface. Only a few of the roots penetrate deep into the soil.
Its first fruit usually comes in 5-6 years, and it takes 15- 20 years to reach peak production. Compared to grass and a few other plants, this is a very long process.
The leaves of the palm tree barely have nutrients; they hold only a third of the nutrients of what other plants hold. But where this may seem like a bad thing, this lack of nutrients works in its favour, because its leaves don’t get eaten by insects and nibbling animals.
And the palm tree has no branches. It doesn’t expend its nutrients on diverse branches, but remains contained, having a single-minded focus on its growth. This also allows it to stay flexible in the face of a storm with nothing weighing it down.
One phenomenal thing about the palm tree is how it is able to flourish even though it is located in sand that has no nutrients and not soil. The palm tree’s water-recycling system is amazing. Its unique architecture – the shape of the leaves at the top of the tree – acts as a funnel. During a rainstorm, these leaves collect nutrients and water and funnel them back to the roots. By the time the water gets to the base of the tree, it is no longer just rain water, because it would have collected nutrients from the droppings of lizards, snails and other birds that live on it.
Researchers have found that when it rains, almost all the rainwater ends up less than a meter from its base and it is full of nutrients. This is more than three times the amount of nutrients found in soils around other plants. ” – pages 240-241 The Richer Woman by Omilola Oshikoya
What lessons can we learn from the palm tree
- Like the Palm tree, it is important to take your time to go through your process, no matter how much time it seems to be taking.
- Use what is meant to kill you – storms, insects and birds – to your advantage.
iii. The Palm tree focuses its nutrients on growing the largest seed in the plant kingdom, not the largest leaves in the plant kingdom. This is important because leaves can be attacked and eaten by insects, while seeds remain hidden while they develop.
Invest your resources on your “seed”: your purpose and your vision. Do not invest your resources on unimportant things that other people will see, like money and material things.
- Cut off every unnecessary thing in your life, like the Palm tree that has no branches, and use your meagre resources to flourish.
- Like the Palm tree, do not grow deep roots on this earth where things perish, focus on growing upwards towards Jesus.
While reflecting last week I had an impression of an eagle flapping its wings.
An eagle is another perfect example of resilience. An eagle is one of the most fascinating birds. I actually write about another attribute of the eagle in my book The Richer Woman however for this article I’d like to focus on one attribute. When a storm is coming, typically, other birds fly away and this would seem like the right thing to do, however, this is not the case with the eagle. When an eagle sees a storm coming it flies to the highest point and waits for the storm. When the storm comes it allows the winds of the storm to take it to new heights that it would not have been able to get to ordinarily and it then soars. It basically uses the storm to its advantage by flying above it. Another fascinating attribute is that when it’s in danger it flies towards the sun because it has double eye lids that protects its eyes from the Sun.
What can we learn from the eagle. We should not run away from a storm but allow the winds of storm to take us to new levels, new heights, new territories etc. This way you can fly above the storm.
Covid 19 is a whole storm of storms if there is anything like that. More now than ever we need resilience to be able to bounce back up after this storm and the aftermath of the storm. Not just for Covid 19, because in life there would always be adversity. The peculiar thing about Covid 19 is because it’s a global storm that is affecting the entire earth at the same time.
Anyone who has the ability to come back stronger from difficult circumstances is wealthy. There is no amount of money that can buy the virtue of “Resilience”. You can’t take resilience from anyone. You can’t borrow it. You can only build it. Successful people who work hard and have earned their money in legitimate ways have resilience. They face challenges not just in life but in business, but they come back stronger.
My book The Richer Woman is a story of bouncing back in my life and marriage after going through a series of adversity. The way I was able to do this is like the Eagle, I ran to the Son of righteousness, Jesus for help and He helped me and my husband and I allowed the winds of the storm of adversity take us to new heights with the birth of so many initiatives like The Basis of marriage – a marriage webinar.
Now more than ever is the right time to build on resilience. My prayer is that like the Palm tree we all bounce back stronger after this global storm.
As I was writing this I kept thinking of what inspirational story to tell that confirms the topic of the day “Resilience” and the Lord put Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) in my thoughts. I don’t know too much about her but a friend of mine bought me her first book “Lean in” which I still have in my shelf but I haven’t read. I remember reading a part that I quoted in my book “The Richer Woman” where she talks about the importance of a father figure in raising children –
“Studies from around the world have concluded that children benefit greatly from paternal involvement. Research over the last 40 years has consistently found that in comparison to children with less- involved fathers, children with involved and loving fathers have higher levels of psychological well-being and better cognitive abilities. When fathers provide even just routine childcare, children have higher levels of educational and economic achievement and lower delinquency rates. These children even tend to be more empathetic and socially competent. These findings are true for children from all socio-economic back grounds, whether or not the mother is highly involved.”
-Sheryl Sandberg, From Lean In. 141
(Culled from Page 147-148 of The Richer Woman by Omilola Oshikoya)
In her book she talks about how her husband is a key figure in raising her children and how it enables her to succeed in her career.
Sadly her husband died afterwards. I always wondered how she was going to cope after the death of her husband. I remembering hearing she wrote a book after dealing with the grief but I didn’t know the name of the book. As the Lord placed her name in my heart as I was writing this, I decided to google her and guess what the name of the book is
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy- Sheryl Sandberg written with Adam M. Grant.
I guess it’s a good book to read to build resilience.
Sheryl Sandberg the COO of Facebook faced adversity and has written a book about it. According to Wikipedia she is also recently engaged to be married. She has been able to bounce back from adversity.
Recessions, financial crisis etc provide opportunities to create wealth. Like the Eagle we should let the storms of the adversity take us to new heights. Many of America’s billionaires of old became rich during the Great Depression. One of them is Henry Parsons Crowell the founder of Quaker Oats. He has a remarkable story. He was also a man that went through adversity. His father died of tuberculosis and the same disease almost took his life. After he bought his first farm, there was a violent tornado that ripped the whole area including many nearby farms . Miraculously, his farm was not affected and he was offered more money than the amount he purchased it and through prayer decided to sell and used the profits to buy property . Through financing fr
His uncle he ended up buying horses instead of growing wheat like everyone else.
After he was declared cured from tuberculosis, while he was seeking the Lord for counsel his uncle suggested he buy a Quaker mill. At that time oats were considered horse meal but Henry saw that rolled oats could become a breakfast meal for Americans. In 1881 he bought the mill and focused on creating a market for his rolled oats.
He got married after this and faced another tragedy with the death of his child. After this he plunged himself back to work.
“Despite much hard work the Quaker Mill was struggling. Henry brought his business problems to the Lord, something that was very unusual at that time in Christianity. An idea came to him that was to change breakfast tables forever. Up to that point, oats were presented for sale in big barrels or boxes, set on the floors of grocery or general stores, attracting worms, insects and vermin. He envisioned his oats on grocery store shelves in individual, sanitary, cardboard containers. The idea worked. Demand soared.
During the depression of 1893, Henry Crowell saw American Cereal’s Quaker Oats as affordable, nutritious alternative for housewives to feed their families over beef. While 15,000 other businesses went bankrupt and many others were cutting back, Henry made bold investments in advertising, putting billboards on train box cars promoting, “Quaker Oats, the World’s Breakfast,” and adding display ads to newspapers and magazines. He researched and wrote the ads himself. He pioneered the use of celebrity endorsements. He invented contests with prizes for mailing in the top of the box. Prior to this, businesses advertised and hired sales people in order to sell the grocers on why they should stock the item. Henry by-passed this and went straight to the consumer so that they would request the item to be stocked by the grocer. He turned housewives across America into his sales people. ” Culled from http://www.giantsforgod.com
One hundred and twenty seven years later Quaker Oats is still producing and selling products all over the world including Nigeria.
My question to you is what can we learn from Henry Parson Crowell story. His business soared during the Great Depression when other businesses were shutting down. How can we create wealth in this Global pandemic.
One sector that is critical is food. People have to eat. Many farms and farmers will have shut down as a result of the global pandemic where most countries are in lock down. Those who would not be affected are those who would have foreseen this and stored up enough produce that they can still sell during the period of the pandemic. However, there would be need for more farmers to solve the aftermath of this pandemic. The beautiful thing about agriculture is that you don’t have to be a farmer to go into agriculture. There are so many opportunities across the entire agriculture value chain especially in a country like Nigeria where the sector has been neglected. There are opportunities in processing, transportation, storage etc. Everything grows in Nigeria. We have produce like kale, strawberries etc that we grow in Jos but are typically imported. You can start a transportation business to move all these produce from Josto commercial cities like Lagos. Many people will lose their jobs after this pandemic, these people can look into sectors like Agriculture. You can even buy land in places like Ogun State and sub lease it to small scale farmers. In 2016 the Lord spoke to me clearly about how He was reviving the agricultural sector in Nigeria and this weekend He reminded me about it. In 2016 He led me to host the Do it Afraid agribusiness entrepreneurship workshop where we showcased the opportunities across the agriculture value chain. As a result we had starts ups like Package Plus. A young man called Kehinde watched the recording of the workshop and saw an opportunity to start a packagingcompany to help agribusiness entrepreneurs use world class standard packaging to sell and market their products .Prior to this the problem with made in Nigeria products was the packaging .His packaging was so good that one of the biggest FCMG’s contacted him at some point, but he had to turn them down because he didn’t have the capacity to cater to them.
How can you use this global pandemic to earn global money. What opportunities do you see?