When life is good, we get attached.

We become comfortable with how things are—our job, our surroundings, our daily routine—and we hope for more of the same. I know I do. When life is easy and familiar, we expect it to stay that way.

But it won’t. Not for very long, anyway.

Change is always coming, and some of that change is negative. Catastrophic, even. If you’re quite young and haven’t faced significant hardship yet, don’t be fooled into believing it won’t find your door. It will, and you don’t want to be caught hoping against the inevitable. Much better to be prepared when challenges arrive.

And a good way to be prepared is to stock your emotional toolbox.

What’s in your toolbox?

If you’ve ever tried to fix something with not-quite-the-right-tool, you know that having the right tool for the job makes all the difference.

I like to imagine that each of us has an emotional toolbox in a corner of our mind. It may be dusty and rarely used, but when something goes wrong, we crack it open. If it’s well-stocked, we’re equipped to solve most problems. If all we have is a hammer, we’re in trouble.

There are a few must-have tools for our emotional toolbox, and we’ll cover these strategies in detail on Friday. For now, though, let’s take mental stock of our toolboxes. Personally, emotional resilience is something I have to work on constantly, so believe me when I say I’m asking myself these questions too.

  • How do you deal with unexpected problems?
  • How long does it take you to bounce back after a major disappointment?
  • What situations do you find hardest to cope with?

Let’s not hope for an easy life; instead, let’s expect difficulty and prepare ourselves to deal with it.