Bounce Back from Adversity

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As an educator, what is your advice for bouncing back from difficult situations?
Difficult moments are part of everyone’s life. But the most important question that should be asked in any difficult situation is not “Why but How?” How can one overcome this? Those situations are usually very beneficial since they force us to challenge ourselves and to move out of our comfort zone.

There are six very important points which I always stress:

1/ Think Different
Don’t be afraid to think differently, make a difference. Invent a new solution for the puzzles that you are given.

2/ Embrace Mistakes
No target can be achieved without making mistakes. How can we improve without asking, making mistakes and trying?

3/ Act Quickly
To be quick in our decisions and actions is a matter of training. This can be achieved only when we are focused and target oriented in what we do.

4/ Have Fun
Whatever choices we make we must be aware and enjoy them. When we enjoy we give more than 100% consciously or subconsciously. If we are not sure we must recreate the situation.

5/ Be Passionate
This is a driving force that helps people to realise their targets, to be awake and to feel energised. People with passion have this sparkle in their eyes and search for new opportunities, are open to new situations and challenges.

6/ Don’t Give Up!!!
Always work with self-discipline to become the best version of yourself.

From your experience of living in Germany for many years, what do you think Bruneians can do during these challenging times to “adapt” and emerge stronger in the future?
Germany is a country which has survived a long history of wars and turbulence, starting let’s say from the Middle Ages, then Bismarck, the First and Second World War, economic crisis, the reunion of East and West Germany and the list goes on. But in spite of all this, the country continues to progress and thrive. I believe that this has been possible because the German people understand that in order for the country to be successful for the benefit of everyone – each citizen must give and engage together with everyone. The Germans are brought up to not expect anything from anyone for free – but to work for what they want to have. They also know that they must put their country first and work towards whatever benefits the entire society regardless of their personal likes and dislikes. This is the key to success.

A simple example of this is when it was decided that German people should make an effort to save the environment – everyone in Germany had to separate their garbage. There were different bins for plastics, compost, tins, paper etc. Of course at the beginning this was very annoying for every household to buy those bins, and then even the kids had to learn to separate the packaging, but within a very short time everyone was doing it for a cleaner country. People mobilised themselves and started to educate themselves in order to keep the environment clean and sustainable for the next generations. This is an example of how the population without being controlled by the government were able to take positive action. The people were able to achieve this goal because of their conviction and discipline. Together, in their small micro-cosmos they were able to make a bigger change in the country for the benefit of society and the future.

We can’t copy and paste foreign models, this will not be useful. First we must change, see what possibilities and resources that are available to us to create new solutions and work with 101% determination for it.

This article was published in the Jul-Sept 2016 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!


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Dr. Jana Heilmaier was leading the International Group at the Ministry of Germany; is a member of the Luxury Society; and is also a founder of two organisations for political, cultural and economic collaboration. Jana works with the German Chamber of Commerce and teaches at the UBD. She is a noted art and antiques collector and an expert in contemporary arts.