How to improve your resourcefulness

“A resourceful person will always makes opportunity fit his or her needs.”

Napoleon Hill

Have you ever been stuck in a problem in your goal-striving for so long that you begin to doubt your ability to solve it for good? There are wide range of characteristics like self-belief, discipline, dedication, hard-work, confidence and so on that are important in your goal-striving endeavours, but when it comes to achieving some of your important professional or personal goals, solving certain problems or in overcoming difficult challenges, your resourcefulness becomes an important resource. When you lack resourceful mindset, you get stuck or lack consistency while pursuing many of your goals thereby creating lot of stress and victimhood. Some people have endless reasons why they haven’t committed to pursuing what they are passionate about doing with their lives and use lack of resources as their excuse for not pursuing their goals. Then again there are many who achieve their goals where they started with little and no resources. The distinction is the difference between resources verses resourcefulness. Resources are what we use to fulfil a task, whereas resourcefulness is about how we adjust ourselves to fulfil a task, be it vision, purpose, or goal and so on.

Having resourceful mindset is especially important when the goals you have set are difficult to achieve. Problems are inevitable while pursuing goals. While certain problems can be managed quite effectively, there are some problems that we are not familiar with and might lead to anguish and uncertainty. In order to find solutions to such problems, you need to become more resourceful and dig deeper into your available resources.

An attitude of resourcefulness inspires out-of-the-box thinking, new possibilities, ideas and the ability to find a solution to achieve what you desire to achieve. Our resourcefulness  is directly proportional to our ability to achieve high quality results within our lives. For this reason, we must understand what it means to be resourceful and implement strategies into our daily routine that will enable us to utilise the power of our resourcefulness.

So, What does it means to be resourceful?

To become resourceful is to have the ability to use creative methods of thinking to make the most of the resources you have in order to solve the problem at hand or to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficult challenges. In other words, it is the ability to get the most from every situation you find yourself in and in achieving your goals. It is taking initiative in difficult situations and involves inventing, creating, imagining, evaIuating, classifying, observing and analysing solutions to overcome problems.

It is however possible that you won’t always have access to all the external resources you need to solve a problem. These can be your external resources like tools, people, possessions, or technology and so on which are valuable as long as you have access to them and diminish over time, because they are scarce or taken away or lost. In such instances, acquiring and tapping into your inner resources like your attributes, traits, strengths, and skills you have at your disposal and knowledge can help you solve the problems successfully. To do this, you will need to develop some problem-solving strategies to see things from a different perspective while also being open to new approaches that might aid you in getting the outcomes you are after.

What determines your resourcefulness?

Resourcefulness is a mindset and is especially relevant when the goals you have set are difficult to achieve and is determined by your ability to reach out to your external and internal resources to effectively deal with difficult problems or situations. It is also determined by your ability to reach out to others or people in your network of contacts like friends, coworkers, and associates to communicate your ideas persuasively or to seek their help or in building fruitful relationships that can help you gain leverage to make most of your circumstances.

We all are constantly looking for ways to problem-solve. However, truly resourceful people look for creative ways that they can leverage their current situation for maximum benefit beyond quick fixes and short-term gains and have the ability to visualise all the possible ways to achieve what they desire. In order to become more resourceful, they limit or eliminate counterproductive habits while enforcing new habits that help them endure discomfort, uncertainty, or challenges to improve their internal resources. 

It is one thing to have a great idea, but it is important to find creative ways to execute. In order to be resourceful in your endeavours, you need to be flexible, creative, effective and should have the ability to plan, organise, to make decisions, and to problem-solve. Here are some internal resources that are important to enhance your resourcefulness.

  • Focus on getting things done through strong network of people and other external resources.
  • Persistence and mental toughness in problem-solving abilities.
  • Creative and driven to take initiative or to be part of creating and finding solution.
  • Open-mindedness to redefine what is possible and what is not. Ability to consider different perspectives, possibilities, people and views to broaden your perspective.
  • Willingness to get out of your comfort-zone and learn form things that are new and different.
  • Self-belief that you are competent and adequate enough to get things done. Being confident that you can problem-solve and find solutions to challenges with your talents, abilities and good attributes.
  • Ability to think outside of the box and come up with innovative solutions to problems.
  • Ability to anticipate, assess, and evaluate when a challenging situation comes your way.
  • Adaptable so that you don’t box yourself into doing things in a particular way.
  • Consistency and discipline to practice productive habits to get things done despite obstacles.
  • Optimistic and positive attitude that the solution is easier to find.

How to improve your Resourcefulness

Resourcefulness is a key leadership skill. Whether you are an entrepreneur running business, or managing a group of people or an employee looking to get ahead, a resourceful mindset can really set you apart. The ability to find solution and use available resources to achieve your goals is a skill and can be learned and practiced by implementing right strategies that enable you to find new approaches, set objectives, create positive momentum and overcome negative challenges. Here are some strategies that can improve your resourcefulness in your problem-solving.

Work on your available resources

Resourcefulness is about being aware of what actions you can take with your current abilities, skills or resources. By taking stock of your available resources like time, effort and productive habits in personal or professional areas, you can identify where you are falling short and make adjustments, so you won’t feel stuck in un-resourceful habits.  Our resourcefulness relies heavily on positive momentum we can build in achieving our goals and one such momentum builder is to identify the resources and habits that are helpful. 

Keeping the needed materials handy and your next action defined and ready to go, you remove certain obstacles to getting started and can see to it that they won’t eat into your focused time and effort. Are you stuck in any of your un-resourceful habits? Do you often pack too many tasks in short amounts of time? Do you have difficulty managing your routines or your important tasks? Do you have adequate skill set to complete your tasks on time? Reflecting on your available resources and productive habits can help you enhance your resourcefulness.

Anticipate Problems

You cannot anticipate everything but you can look for potential problems that might get in the way of your goals. The more you prepare ahead of time, the more resources you will have when faced with a problem. These resources can be your skills, knowledge base and your support network. This way, you can build a toolkit of resources that you can turn to and use when you need them most. Anticipating the likely problems you might face in advance can make you better prepared. Your inner resources like focus, previous experience, attention, expertise from other people or ideas based on your knowledge  can be valuable to rely upon. 

What goals are you working toward? What could potentially go wrong as you work toward these goals? What resources might be of value as you work towards them? Do you have these resources at disposal and if not how will you acquire them? Asking yourself these questions can provide clarity about the types of problems you might potentially face along with the resources and thus can make you more resourceful when the potential setbacks arise.

Assess your situation

Evaluate when challenging situation comes your way. Be clear about what you can achieve by making most of the situation given the external resources that you currently have at your disposal with the support of your internal resources. Reflecting on how you might deal with a problem and then actually solving it when it arises might not always match-up. How you thought things would be might not reflect how things are in real life. Determine the real issue to come up with useful resources.

Assess the situation by asking yourself, What was the cause of this problem? What can potentially be done to solve this problem? Has anyone solved a similar problems like this before? Who could potentially help you to overcome this? What valuable resources could these people have that you could use to solve your problem? Have the ability to leverage to use what others bring into the situation. Look for some viable solutions that you could try to solve when there is no assistance from people. Once you assess the situation, you can find the relevant resources and look specifically how you can apply them to your present situation.

Devise creative solutions 

Being resourceful requires you to tap into your resources more creatively. Know the difference between seeking resources and being really resourceful. Think creatively to utilise the tools and resources that are within your reach. Do you have access to or could you obtain anything that might help with the situation? You should remember that resources aren’t only tools or objects, they also include skills, people or emotional states, knowledge, opportunities as well. Take a stock of your current resources and find creative ways to apply them in problem-solving. Ask yourself, If you apply this idea, what could be possible? What potential insight can be gained from taking this course of action? What new path could this lead you to? See the situation you face from an alternate perspective. Take the situation as an opportunity to take a new course of action that you hadn’t considered before. Develop an open-mindedness to look for creative ways to solve the problem.

Be proactive

If an opportunity presents itself, do not hold yourself back looking for right resources or people to show up. Be more than idle observer. Participate actively and get involved to solve the problem with the available resources and to be part of a solution. Don’t simply react to events, people, challenges and information. Engage and influence people involved so you can make real contribution to the situation. Ask yourself, What the nature of the problem is? What is really needed? Is this truly a crisis or merely an inconvenience or setback? Does it need to be addressed immediately, or can it wait for an appropriate solution? Train yourself to focus on solutions when a challenging situation comes your way.

Shift your perspective

Thinking about the big picture  can shift your perspective to be more open-minded in problem-solving. Decide what you can do in short-term so you can take action and be more productive. Revise specific tasks, roles and responsibilities towards your goals. Seeking information on the work that you are trying to get done or researching and reading will provide necessary insights you need to tweak your approach. Reflect on How effectively did you solve this kind of problem in the past?Is there another way to achieve your goal? What is something very similar to what you need that might also work? What is one more thing you can try to arrive at a solution? to seek new possibilities. Seeing every problem as an opportunity to solve can help you shift your perspective and strengthen your internal resources and drive to get your desired outcome. 

To Conclude,  

How would you rate your level of resourcefulness?

What resources do you already have and how can you use them better?

Where can you potentially be more resourceful? 

How could you be more resourceful the next time in your problem-solving? 

What kind of internal resources should you focus on building to improve your resourcefulness? 

What productive habits will help you in becoming a resourceful person?

Do you often utilise the resources that are within your reach in overcoming difficult situations?

In what ways could you be more innovative and resourceful with the understanding, experiences, skills and resources you already have?

Self-reflecting on above questions will provide necessary insights to improve your resourcefulness.

Accomplishment of your goals is typically the physical manifestation of your resourcefulness. Remember that your resourcefulness is a valuable resource when it comes to getting things done. It is not about having more resources, but it’s about being more resourceful with what you have and it is best attained when you combine the resourceful mindset and skills. Also, there are always certain things that you don’t know and understand, therefore, finding the right people to seek help and ask for advice is important to overcome certain challenges and to solve difficult problems.

Use the above problem-solving strategies to upgrade your internal resources over time so that you can use them in optimal ways. There is no problem too big that cannot be solved and no opportunity too small if you develop a resourceful mindset. Therefore, no matter what your circumstances or position or situation in life, instead of thinking of what you do not have, improve your resourcefulness by making the most of what there is.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”—Theodore Roosevelt

How to deal with insecurities

“What I am is good enough if I could only be it openly.”- Carl rogers

There are many things that shape our self-image and influence our behaviour from negative attitudes directed towards us to attitudes and opinions that come from the environment you live in- parents, teachers, peers and the attitudes they had towards themselves. As we get older, we internalise these points of views as our own and shape our inner critic that constantly scrutinises and criticises our every action based on our so formed beliefs. We all experience and encounter these self-critical thoughts making us insecure either in our personal or professional lives while we pursue our goals.

Insecurity is one of the root cause that impedes our ability to achieve success. We experience it in many forms like self-doubt, fear, distrust, uncertainty, skepticism, cynicism, indecisiveness, avoidance, ambiguity, or complacency. This inner-critic that accompanies our feelings of insecurity makes us compare, evaluate, and judge ourselves. This behaviour also results in over dependence, constant anger, jealously and vulnerability. To be insecure for a short period of time is natural. But when insecurity persists, it takes into a pattern of self-sabotage and/or underachieving or persistent indecisiveness. When you are insecure, you miss out on many opportunities and it can be quite damaging to your self-esteem and self-image. It not only holds you back from achieving your goals but also causes feelings of not being and doing good enough.

So, what it means to be insecure?

Insecurity is a tendency to lack confidence or certainty in oneself causing feelings of helplessness or inadequacy due to false self-perception. It is having negative thoughts about one’s ability to fit in with peers, reach goals, or find acceptance and support. These insecure thought patterns can exaggerate feelings of jealousy or possessiveness or might leave you feeling rejected and unworthy.

Our fears, inhibitions, and low self-confidence thrive when we don’t have clarity. It not only affects the confidence you need to be successful negatively, but also results in over dependence, social anxiety, and creates a self perception of inadequacy. Looking into your insecurity and its causes and what has shaped your feelings of insecurity can help you to deal with them constructively.

How it affects your productivity

We tend to express our deepest self-feelings in an inner voice that is at times heavily influenced with self-critical messages. For many, these pose a major hindrance to their productivity. Some self-critical thoughts can turn into workplace insecurities that can make you think as you are not quite as smart, informed or competent as you ought to be and create a constant concern about being judged. This might leave you dissatisfied, less creative and efficient. Our irrational interpretations about ourselves or our ability to get something done, makes us feel insecure about being judged, rejected or criticised.

Sometimes to compensate for all our inadequacies, we tend to indulge in defensive, selfish, excessively competitive or overly critical behaviours when around others. We might react to our critical inner voice by holding back from personal or professional relationships or project them onto the people around us. Insecurity not only limits your ability to form healthy relationships, but also makes it difficult to share your emotions. This perceived lack of ability creates unhelpful and limited perspectives in work and life. Chronic insecure thought patterns hold you back from living your life in an optimal way or from tapping your full potential.

Why are we insecure?

As human beings we must feel safe for who we are in order to feel secure. But our critical inner voice consciously adopts to and integrates the negative past experiences which we witnessed or experienced towards ourselves and others. And we keep these attitudes alive by believing in our insecurities as we go along in life. These insecurities can stem from childhood experiences, past failures,or genetic predisposition of worrying or fearing. Rejection and failure sometimes leads to seeing others and yourself more negatively at least for some time.

Also the other main reason of many people’s insecurity is because of social anxiety. Fear of being evaluated by others and found to be lacking can make you feel anxious and self-conscious. Past experiences can feed your sense of not belonging, not feeling important or just not being good enough. Growing up with critical people around can also make you sensitive to how others perceive you and create distorted beliefs about your self-worth. Some of us have high standards for everything we do. Such perfectionist attitude sometimes results in disappointment and self-blame for being anything less than perfect thereby making you feel insecure and unworthy. Other common causes include fear of disappointment or being discounted, broken trusts, conflict aversion, or dependency.

How to deal with fear of insecurity?

By understanding where your insecurity stems from and how this view point affects you, you can start to unpack your insecurities and work towards overcoming them. Here are some strategies that will help you to progressively deal with your insecurities.

Identify your insecurities

Evaluate and identify the origins and roots of your insecurities. How do you currently reinforce your negative self-image? Find ways to overcome a fear and be self-aware of how you have come to develop these insecurities. Often the root cause of our insecurities comes from irrational beliefs and unhelpful thoughts or behaviours we had held onto for many years. They may be the result of your interpretation of your past experiences. How effectively you can overcome them will depend on your ability and willingness to grow out of such limiting beliefs, habits and attitudes you had subscribed to. It’s perfectly natural to be afraid of failure or of not being perfect. Everybody has these fears from time to time. It’s unnatural, however, to be plagued with worry that holds you back from achieving your goals.

Identify the unhelpful beliefs, worries and fears that are behind your insecure thought patterns. Write down all of the things that you are insecure about. Ask yourself how many of them are rational, and how many are just a product of negative thinking. Take the time to really think of what’s at the root of your insecurities and what uncertainty exists that makes you feel insecure. whether it’s making a fool of yourself, disappointing someone dear to you, or not having the life you want. Once you have a better sense of where your insecurity comes from, and what your fears are, you can see how many of your fears you can tackle, and can come up with positive solutions.

Overcome failure or rejection based insecurity

Past failure or rejection creates distorted beliefs about your self-worth and can lead to wrong perceptions of how others are evaluating you by making your inner-critic much louder. Instead of focusing on all the times you failed at something, take a long hard look at all the times that you’ve done really well. Think of the success you’ve had in the past. Take into account the strengths that served you and the process you underwent to move through the uncertain moments that otherwise have held you back. Give yourself time to adopt to the new norm and engage more with your values, interests and curiosity.

Insecure thought patterns from past failures can make you conscious and resentful to social events or situations making you socially anxious. It become a driver for chronic efforts to prove yourself or to fit in as it’s linked with your work, ambition or perfectionism. Instead of avoiding social situations, try and engage with others to know more about them like their work, hobbies or skills. Try to evaluate yourself based on how much effort you put in, rather than on the outcome, which is dependent on external factors. Do not resort to all-or nothing thinking, instead look at a more compassionate and understanding way to view a situation. Take your circumstances into account when you evaluate yourself. There is always something to learn from even if the result wasn’t perfect.

Make realistic assessment of your circumstances

Most of our insecurities stem from wanting things in a certain way and we convince that some things are going to be the way we want them be. This makes you incapable of taking proactive action in worst-case scenarios. If you do new things and a few people don’t like it, then it’s unlikely that it is the end of the world. Similarly, if you are a perfectionist, often you have conditional self-esteem that makes you dislike yourself when things don’t go your way. Don’t let these worries stop you from trying something different. Once you realize that the worst isn’t really that bad, you’ll be more likely to be dynamic and to take risks.

Therefore a realistic assessment of your circumstances can help you prepare for a little uncertainty. What is the worst-case that could possibly happen if you take action despite your insecurities? What is the possible outcomes once you move beyond your insecurities? Falling back on your personal attributes and values can make you confident of working through uncertain circumstances if any in optimal ways. Having a realistic assessment of your circumstances can help you deal with your insecurities progressively.

Vocalise your inner-critical voice.

Our subjective experiences and interpretations makes our inner-critic get louder on convincing us in our limited beliefs thereby creating insecurities. In spite of these being just opinions and perspectives on the surface, we forget to look at them more objectively and let our inner-critic takeover. It is especially hard to notice negative self-talk if you have been doing it for a long time. If you’re always telling yourself that you’re a failure, or that you can’t do anything right, then you’re bound to feel victim to your insecurities forever. Instead, work on telling yourself positive things about yourself so you’re more likely to attack new tasks with a positive mindset and a desire to do well.

Voice your thoughts based on insecurity and answer back to your voice attacks expressing your real point of view. You can write down rational and realistic statements to expose the irrational nature of these beliefs. Does you inner-critical voice remind you of anyone or anything from your past? This process can help you uncover the relationship between these voice attacks and early life experiences that helped shape them. This will allow you to reject these insecurities as accurate reflections of who you are.

Shift to an objective perspective

Another effective way to deal with your insecurities is to bring back your objective awareness to the present moment. Paying attention to your present moment can get you out of your excessive unhelpful and limited beliefs and can ease you out of the internal noise so created. Bringing all your attention to your senses can calm your mind and grounds you in the present moment. In this way, little to no room is left in your attention for all that unwanted and unhelpful thoughts that are causing your insecurities. Being mindful of the present moment brings you back from mind wandering when you get lost in your old habits, beliefs, and negative reaction patterns. Through mindfulness, you build your capacity to change the contents of your thoughts to ‘present’ rather than about insecurities from a remembered past or anticipated future.

To conclude,

Do you find yourself feeling filled with insecurities and self-doubt despite your accomplishments?

What do you feel more insecure about?

What worries or fears are behind your insecurities?

Are there any unhelpful beliefs behind your insecurities?

How do they affect your work and personal goals?

What events triggers the insecurity?

In what areas is this insecurity most influential?

Are they based on your negative interpretations?

What is the evidence for and against for your insecurities?

How could things be different to the way you are perceiving?

How else can you interpret the areas you are insecure about?

Are you filtering out the positive and dwelling in more negative?

Are you being shaped by your inability to measure up to unreasonable expectations from outside yourself? 

Answering the above questions can give you a right perspective of changing the insecure thought patterns. When you begin to think objectively, you can question the validity of your experiences and become more positive and realistic in your own abilities.

It is absolutely normal to experience insecurities from time time because as human beings, we have an inherent negativity bias, where our mind is skewed more towards the negative rather than positive. So, despite all the efforts, certain insecurities can continue to rise to the surface. They aren’t likely to vanish overnight. But instead of allowing them to make you anxious and hold you back from achieving your full potential- by practicing the above mentioned strategies, you can be perseverant in your efforts to take the required action-steps to stand up and deal with them constructively. With practice, you can achieve this worthy transition from being controlled to overcoming your fears.

“Don’t let fear or insecurity stop you from trying new things. Believe in yourself. Do what you love. And most importantly, be kind to others, even if you don’t like them.”– Stacy London