Few men during their lifetime come anywhere near exhausting the resources dwelling within them. There are deep wells of strength that are never used. – Richard Byrd
What it Means to be More Resourceful
As we all well know, problems are an inevitable part of life. There’s just always something to deal with and there are of course many more problems waiting for us around the corner.
Certain problems we are of course able to manage quite effectively. However, once in a while we experience problems that we might not be too familiar with; that cause us a little anguish and uncertainty. In order to overcome these types of problems we need to dig a little deeper, and of course, digging deeper means becoming more resourceful.
Being resourceful doesn’t mean that you suddenly need to grow another brain in order to upgrade your intelligence to effectively deal with the problem at hand. This is definitely not what resourcefulness is all about. In fact, being resourceful has absolutely nothing to do with intelligence, and rather everything to do with your ability to get the most from yourself in every situation. Moreover, it comes down to your ability to make the most of the situation you find yourself in.
This however probably isn’t enough to give you a comprehensive understanding of what resourcefulness is all about. Therefore, let’s break this down in detail in several more ways.
Being resourceful means achieving your goals by doing more with less. It means going beyond your natural skills and making the most of the resources you currently have at your disposal. In other words, it’s your ability to make use of novel and creative methods of thinking to make the most of the resources you have in order to solve the problem at hand.
It is, however, possible that you won’t always have access to the resources you need to solve a problem. In such instances, being resourceful means acquiring the relevant tools and knowledge to help you solve the problem successfully. However, to do this you will need to be open to seeing things from a different perspective, while also being willing to try new approaches that might help you get the results you are after.
Being resourceful also means reaching out to others by leveraging your network of contacts (friends, colleagues, and associates) to help you enhance your ingenuity and make the most of your circumstances. This is, of course, a critical area that all resourceful individuals make full use of. They understand that other people have strengths, abilities, knowledge, tools, and resources at their disposal that they simply do not have access to. As such, they make full use of these connections to help them achieve their goals and/or solve their personal/professional problems.
Reaching out to other people for help, of course, involves some social skill and understanding of human behavior. It essentially requires having the ability to communicate your ideas persuasively in order to convince people to help you out. And this of course means building fruitful relationships that can help you gain the most value from each interaction. That is essentially what resourcefulness is all about at a social level.
Now, of course, being resourceful does require some creativity. You need to be able to look at your situation from a variety of angles and perspectives and then make use of what you have at your disposal to help resolve your problem. However, in order to resolve your problem you need to be able to see things through to the end, and for that, you will need to allocate your time most effectively by focusing on the right things in the right way and at the right time. But this is not just about the allocation of time. Seeing things through to the end means taking deliberate action while following through with the necessary risks to help you make the most of the opportunities you essentially created for yourself — resulting from your resourcefulness.
Being resourceful does, of course, require some courage, passion, commitment, persistence, determination, tenaciousness and versatility to effectively solve your life’s problems. You need passion to keep your motivation levels high; courage to take necessary risks; persistence, determination, and tenaciousness to keep going when others would typically quit; versatility to make course adjustments when needed; and of course commitment to stick at it for the long-haul without losing focus.
Solving your life’s problems takes work and effort. In fact, it can become somewhat of a marathon of sorts where you need to endure discomfort for long periods at a time while facing potential failure, criticism, embarrassment, rejection, and uncertainty. Furthermore, you are likely to make mistakes along the way. As a result, you will need to learn how to handle disappointment without getting discouraged.
Given all this, it’s clear to see the tremendous value that being resourceful can bring to your life. However, knowing and doing are not the same thing.
In order to become more resourceful when dealing with your problems, you will need to get into the habit of thinking and doing things a certain way. In fact, you will probably need to shift how you think about your life’s problems altogether. And this is essentially what the remainder of this article is about. It will show you how to solve your life problems in an optimal way. However, before we even get into that, it’s critical that we first take a look at the actual resources you have at your disposal that you can use to effectively solve these problems.
Breaking Down Your Indispensable Resources
Becoming more resourceful requires getting the most from yourself and from the resources you have at your disposal. These resources can, of course, be internal, coming from within yourself, or external, coming from your surrounding environment.
Within this section let’s break down these two sets of resources and discuss which set you should give more attention to if you seek to improve your resourcefulness when faced with problems.
The first set of resources are known as External Resources. These resources may include technology, tools, possessions, people, money, agreements and your reputation.
Having access to certain external resources can be quite valuable for solving specific problems. For instance, technology can help you accomplish tasks far more easily than you would using an old-school paper and pen method. Likewise, people can be of tremendous value with the potential support they can provide you with when it comes to solving certain problems.
All these resources are of course wonderful to have at our disposal, however, the problem is that they are only as valuable for as long as we have access to them. And these kinds of resources are fickle because they can easily be taken away, lost, or can suddenly become scarce. In fact, some of these kinds of resources if left unused can very quickly diminish over time. Therefore relying on these resources to help you overcome a problem is like putting all your eggs in the one basket that you have absolutely no control over.
I’m of course by no means saying that these external resources are worthless. That couldn’t be further from the truth. They can actually be quite valuable. However, their value lies more in how they can potentially help support your internal resources rather than working independently from them.
Your Internal Resources include your attributes, qualities, traits, strengths, skills and the knowledge you have at your disposal. These resources are your greatest indispensable assets because they are under your direct control and they cannot be taken away from you.
Now, of course, these resources can also diminish over time as external resources tend to do. For instance, your knowledge or skills can become obsolete if you don’t keep updating them. However, updating your knowledge and/or skills is always under your direct control. It’s therefore always in your best interest to keep upgrading your internal resources over time so that you can use them in optimal ways.
One of the major difference between external and internal resources is that we often spend money on acquiring external resources and spend time acquiring internal resources. In other words, external resources are often purchased, while internal resources are akin to investments that we make in ourselves. Moreover, when internal resources are exercised and put into action they are often strengthened. This isn’t always the case with external resources.
You will often acquire internal resources while taking proactive action to achieve a goal or solve a problem. In fact, the experience of failure and going through setbacks can become a tremendous opportunity to acquire a plethora of internal resources that can help you handle problems far more effectively.
For instance, when we experience failure we typically develop mental strength and stamina to keep persisting despite adversity. Moreover, this forces us to seek out new knowledge and skills that can help us overcome this problem the next time around. It’s therefore of tremendous value to see failure and setbacks as an opportunity that can help you upgrade your internal reservoir of resources.
Given all this, it’s no doubt clear how valuable internal resources can be, however, these resources become even more valuable when you consider the fact that they can be used to help you acquire external resources. For instance, you can use your knowledge and skills to earn more money, or you can use your charm to win a person’s support, or you can use a combination of internal resources to help build your reputation.
With all this in mind, it’s clear to see that your internal resources give you far more flexibility and freedom. In fact, it could be said that you will become far more resourceful if you purely focus on developing your internal resources over external resources. And of course, when it comes to solving life’s problems, you will always draw more value from tapping into internal resources than you would trying to access external resources.
This is, of course, all well and good, but how do we use all this to overcome life’s biggest challenges?
When Facing Life’s Toughest Problems
Within this section let’s take a look at what it takes to become more resourceful when facing life’s biggest problems. This, of course, means making the most of the situation given the external resources that you currently have at your disposal and the internal resources you can bring to the surface. In combination, these two sets of resources will help you become more resourceful.
Let’s break this process down into three distinct parts. We’ll look at what to do before a problem arises; what to do in the midst of a problem; and what to do after a problem has been resolved.
Before the Problem
Before you ever face a problem it’s critical that you spend time developing your skills, knowledge base and your support network. These are all key elements that will allow you to become more resourceful when facing a problem. You essentially need to build up a toolkit of resources that you can effectively turn to and use when you need them most.
In addition to growing your resource list, it’s helpful to practice anticipating the likely problems you might face in advance. That way you will be more than prepared to deal with these problems when they arise. Ask yourself:
What goals am I working toward?
What could potentially go wrong as I work toward these goals?
How would I solve all these problems?
What resources might be of most value?
Do I have these resources at my disposal? If not, then how will I acquire them?
The greater clarity you have about the types of problems you might potentially face along with the resources that might be of value to help you solve each problem, the more resourceful you will become when facing the potential setbacks that may arise along your journey.
During the Problem
Now of course reflecting on how you might deal with a problem and then actually solving it when it arises might not always match-up. In fact, how you thought things would be might not reflect how things are in real life, and this is what can cause a little uneasiness and tension. As such, you will often still need to tap into your resourcefulness, and this, of course, begins with maintaining a resourceful attitude that we explored earlier in this article.
Once you are in the right frame-of-mind, it’s time to assess the situation. Ask yourself:
Why did it happen?
Who is involved? How are they involved?
What was the cause of this problem?
What can potentially be done to solve this problem?
Have I solved a similar problem like this before?
Has anyone else solved a similar problem like this before?
Who could potentially help me?
What valuable resources could these people have that I could use to help me solve this problem?
One of the keys to your resourcefulness in any situation is having the ability to leverage what other people can bring into this situation to help you solve your problem. However, at times other people may not be in a position to assist you. In fact, often the only person you can truly depend on is yourself. Therefore in such instances, you will need to dig deep into your own reservoir of resources in order to solve the problem.
If the only person you can rely upon is yourself, then it’s time to take full responsibility for your predicament and work on finding an adequate solution to the problem you face. Yes, it’s time to tap into a resourceful state-of-mind that will allow you to work through this problem successfully. To do this, ask yourself:
What are some viable solutions I could try that could help me solve this problem?
How could I potentially make the most of these options?
How could I potentially use…?
Spend a little time now perusing your environment to see what you might be able to make use of in order to solve your problem. There will always be something within your environment that can be useful to help you in your current predicament. However, you need to take the time to familiarize yourself with what specifically is going on around you; there could very well be opportunities that you are not seeing.
Once you have found something interesting, put on your experimental cap and ask yourself:
How could I use this?
How specifically could I apply it to this problem?
How could it be of value?
How could I use it in a way that could help me take advantage of this situation?
This, of course, might not be the right answer that you are looking for, or the right answer may just not be immediately evident. They key is to simply break some ground. One thing will lead to something else, and then that one key insight could potentially lead to a breakthrough.
It is, of course, important throughout this process that you look at creative solutions to help you maximize what you currently have at your disposal. And to do this you might very well need to break the rules of what typically is done in this particular situation. As such you need to ask yourself:
If I apply this idea, what could be possible?
What potential insights can be gained from taking this course of action?
What new paths could that lead me down?
What then could be possible moving down this new path?
Also, keep in mind that at times it will be helpful to see the problem you face from an alternate perspective. In fact, a problem doesn’t need to be problematic, and can instead become an opportunity to take a new course of action that you hadn’t considered before. However, you must be open to these possibilities in order to take full advantage of the circumstances.
All-in-all it’s important to always keep an open mind and to maintain a resourceful attitude. There will always be more that you’re potentially not seeing, and there will always be more that you could be doing. As such, you must always be open to the possibilities that more can be done. Just stay curious and keep asking questions. Eventually, they will lead you down an optimal path.
After the Problem
Whether you successfully dealt with the problem or failed miserably, it’s always helpful to spend a little time reflecting on your experience. This time of self-reflection will provide you with the necessary insights you need to tweak your approach the next time around when you are facing the same or a similar problem. Ask yourself:
How effectively did I solve this problem?
Did I make full use of the resources I had at my disposal?
How would I rate my level of resourcefulness out of 10?
Where could I have potentially been more resourceful?
How could I be more resourceful the next time around?
The more you can take away from your experience, the more prepared you will be the next time around when facing a similar predicament.
How to Live a Resourceful Life
In order to live a resourceful life, you must begin seeing every problem as an opportunity that you can take advantage of. However, in order to see things this way you must make an effort to invest heavily in educating yourself. I, of course, don’t necessarily mean the traditional forms of education. Traditional education is important, but it will in most instances not be enough to help you work through your life’s problems successfully. What you need is the education that comes from real-world experience. That is what will help you become more resourceful when dealing with problems.
The key to real-world experience is to continuously educate yourself while you’re in the field working through your problems.
There will always be something to learn that can help you make the most of your situation. And of course, most of these lessons will help you strengthen your internal resources and drive to get your desired outcome. In fact, you should only really be focused on building your internal resources; at least to the extent that you are not pursuing external resources at the expense of internal ones. After all, internal resources will often allow you to acquire external resources that you can then use to your advantage.
In order to understand what kinds of internal resources you should be focusing on building comes down to the kind of person you seek to become. Ask yourself:
What kind of person do I seek to become?
What internal resources do I need?
What goals will help me become this person?
Given this, it’s quite clear to see the formula at play here. We need to first define what kind of person we are striving to become, then we need to acquire the necessary internal resources to grow and develop into this person, and finally we can then use those resources to help us accomplish the goals that lay down the foundations of the legacy we would like to leave behind.
The accomplishment of these goals typically becomes the physical manifestations of our resourcefulness, which is essentially what it takes to live a resourceful life.
Above all else, remember that there are only unresourceful attitudes, not unresourceful people. Therefore no matter what your disadvantage, circumstances or position in life, there are absolutely no excuses for not making the most of every situation you find yourself in. There is no problem too big that can’t be solved and no opportunity too small for a resourceful mind to take advantage of.
Time to Assimilate these Concepts
Did you gain value from this article? Is it important that you know and understand this topic? Would you like to optimize how you think about this topic? Would you like a method for applying these ideas to your life?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then I’m confident you will gain tremendous value from using the accompanying IQ Matrix for coaching or self-coaching purposes. This mind map provides you with a quick visual overview of the article you just read. The branches, interlinking ideas, and images model how the brain thinks and processes information. It’s kind of like implanting a thought into your brain – an upgrade of sorts that optimizes how you think about these concepts and ideas. 🙂
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Gain More Knowledge…
Here are some additional links and resources that will help you learn more about this topic:
- 5 Simple Ways to Become the Most Resourceful Person @ Jonathan Milligan
- 7 Things Really Resourceful People Do @ Inc.
- 11 Characteristics of Resourceful Business Leaders @ Inc.
- Demonstrating Resourcefulness in the Face of Career Challenges @ The New York Times
- How to be More Resourceful @ Paid to Exist
- How to be Relentlessly Resourceful @ The Art of Ass-Kicking
- How to be Resourceful @ WikiHow
- How to Promote Resourcefulness in Yourself and Others @ Lifehack
- Resourcefulness: A Perennial Characteristic of Success @ Huffington Post
- Resourcefulness: The Ability to Find a Way @ The Sales Blog
- Resources vs. Resourcefulness: A Key to Greatness @ Huffington Post
- The Art of Resourcefulness @ Steve Pavlina
- The Importance of Resourcefulness @ Harvard Business Review
- Stop Bitching and Start Being Resourceful @ Elite Daily