Eric Gerson, is almost the perfect embodiment of flexibility and adaptability. His rock-solid faith in himself, complete refusal to dwell on the past or the future, and strong awareness of what his heart was telling him, allowed him to embrace a lifestyle that many would consider foolhardy.
Eric’s story in The Top 10 Traits of Highly Resilient People is a prime example of having the wisdom to know when to accept things we can’t change and when to change the things we can.
His life has been no bed of roses, but as he puts it, he never saw challenges as things to be overcome or mountains to be climbed — they were cones to be navigated around.
Dr. Andrea – I love how you have the mind-body-spirit connection working for you. And I was so struck by the story that you shared in our book, The Top 10 Traits of Highly Resilient People.
You really talk about how like can just throw curveball after curveball – yet you’ve managed to maneuver around them every time. So I wonder, is that your brain or is that spirit, or maybe intuition? Tell us what it is.
Eric – Well my brain is always on, it never stops. And when I’m looking at life, I don’t look back with regret. You know, it actually took me a long time in my life to understand that not everybody is like that!
It’s just that I look at life a lot differently. To me there is no starting point and no ending point. Every individual thing that happens to you is just a step along the journey. The reason I never have regrets is something I think about as reverse engineering your life.
You could look at a decision you made and that might have seemed like a bad decision at the time, but ultimately it lead you to where you are in your life now. Therefore there is no regret for any of those decisions.
Dr. Andrea – Well that’s a very mature perspective. And I think I’m there-ish now, but it definitely has taken time and the gift of hindsight, to be able to look back on my life and say, there was a guiding force or presence with me all along. Even though I may have thought that I screwed up, or wondered why life was ‘doing this too me’, there really was a divine plan unfolding.
So tell us about this proofreader story you’ve mentioned before – because I do want to understand how your brain works!
Eric – Well, it’s a little mischievous as it’s about my father, and he doesn’t like this story. When I was a young kid in my teens and then my twenties, we had a print shop. This was long before computers, so it was standard issue printing presses, where the ink went on the plate.
So if you ran four colors a word, you ran one color at a time. My job was to be the proofreader and check the type, and sometimes I’d proof read the other proofreaders and because the way my brain scans, I’d find all the typos.
My father was the one you’d bring the job to if you were running colored work, as he had to check if the colors lined up. So long story short, this dynamic kept happening between the printers and my father. The pressroom would bring in a print out that they knew was as close to perfect as they could get it.
My father would look at it with his magnifying glass, and tell them, “No, move the red,” or “Move the cyan.”
They’d argue back and forth. So one day, Ramon from the press room comes back from one of these arguments with me father, slams the press room door in frustration, and he and I have an 8 minute conversation about how he was going to get my father to change.
I said, “Bring him the same sheet of paper.”
So the pressmen go back in with the same sheet of paper that my father had just said the yellow had to be moved on. My father looks at it again, and he says, “Good, that’s perfect.”
When I told him the story he wasn’t too pleased! But for me it’s about looking at a situation that isn’t changing, and asking how you can get around it to get to where I need to be. So that’s kind of how my brain works.
Dr. Andrea – You definitely have that trait of adaptability, which is so important for resilience. If we get too locked on and rigidly stuck in having our way, then we will break at some point. But having that flexibility and adaptability like you do, which I read in the telling of your eBay story.
I won’t give away all that you share in the book! But it’s amazing that you’ve been able to cultivate that, and then even enhance your intuition for trends in the market, and for spirit.
Eric – So it’s got something to do with being able to look back, without regret, where a lot of people don’t want to look back at all…
Watch Eric’s full interview here on YouTube, and of course, get a copy of The Top 10 Traits of Highly Resilient People here.