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The Breakdown: Base - Progress - Thrive

The cornerstones of Resilience.

Have you ever wondered what the Fundamental Elements of Resilience are? 

What qualities make one person more Resilient than another? Are there a set of daily measures that can be used to reliably track our path towards Resilience?

Well, it turns out that we had the very same questions! 

In late 2022, after instructing thousands of students in watermanship practice, we turned our focus inwards to investigate what was at the true core of our teaching. This led us deep into a rabbit hole, at the other end of which lay the concepts of Resilience and the ability to remain functional in the face of adversity. (If you’d like to hear more about this process, CLICK HERE).

Of course, once we’d entered that realm of discovery, there was no turning back! So, we started working closely with our Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Romney Noonan, from Southwest Clinical Psychology.

Over the ensuing 18 months, “Rom” helped us gradually peel away the layers of our programs and instruction to identify a bomb-proof framework that underpins everything we teach and excellently prepares people for their interactions with us.

Therefore, in the very first edition of “The Breakdown”, we would like to introduce the Base - Progress - Thrive Model. 

In its simplest form, this framework provides a simple structure to live our lives in a balanced way. However, the deeper you investigate this model (and the more you use it as a template for everyday), the more powerful it becomes.

The Base - Progress - Thrive Model (B-P-T) is something created by Rom, in response to a common set of data he could see developing in his patients. 

“I put this model together as a simplified version of a more complex model that I was working on,” he said, “The main focus in B-P-T was to highlight the need to take care of the physiological vulnerabilities that underpin positive mental and physical health”.

“Beyond this it is an attempt to create a structure or ‘priority order’ for what to look after, and when – a sort of a ‘personal mental health’ triage system”.  

“We all know the “good stuff” that we “should” be doing, but sometimes trying to fit it all in can be overwhelming. Hopefully the BPT model simplifies and objectifies this process a little bit!”.

The first layer of this model is the BASE, which consists of five key elements that allow us to connect with and look after our physical body. These elements are:

  • Sleep

  • Nutrition

  • Exercise

  • Relaxation

  • Time in Nature

The Base is both the place to start from and also the place to return to when life gets wobbly. In the context of building Resilience, these are the components that must be squared away before any serious, deep work can be attempted.

“The simple fact is that the Base part of the B-P-T Model leads our Nervous System to a place where it is able to learn and be tested,” says Joe Knight, The Resilience Lab Co-Director.

“If the base of your ‘pyramid’ is out of whack, there is no way you can reasonably expect any kind of Nervous System training to be effective. Just think about it: if - for example - you’ve slept poorly, or have been living on a diet of poor food and too much work, how can you reasonably expect yourself to be open to growth and progression?”, he says. 

“You simply can’t! Or at the very least, it’s going to be super-hard work for you to get to a functional starting point. That’s why we really encourage all our new clients to use this model before commencement of training with us”.

In the coming weeks we will completely ‘unpack’ each of these five key BASE elements, focussing on the exact “how” and “why” each is so important.

The second PROGRESS layer consists of three elements that progress logically from the BASE. These are:

  • Connection (or looking after our relationships)

  • Mental State (which is something that directly springboards off a well-established BASE)

  • Positive Experiences (or what may be referred to as trying to max out our “Fun-O-Meter”!)

With these key elements squared-away, you can then move onto the ‘tip of the pyramid’, which is a focus on GROWTH. This layer is all about learning and improving and is the place where you can truly begin to embed new habits, learnings, ways of thinking and genuine, well… growth!! (More on this in coming weeks!!)

“I use this model in clinical work at the front-end of therapy,” says Rom. 

“In my view, there is not much use doing complex psychological work on issues like personality traits if a client simply hasn’t got the basics at an OK level. I consider this to be the base level of providing therapy and then progressing from there”.


As part of “The Breakdown”, we’d like to leave you every week with a simple way to integrate what we’ve investigated into your life.

This week, the task is really simple: Focus on your BASE!

  • Over the next 7 days, take a small break (usually before bed), to objectively and honestly assess your BASE. (This should only take you about 3-5 minutes!)

  • Write down your findings, using a 1-5 Scale for each Base Element (Sleep, Nutrition, Exercise, Relaxation, Time in Nature). For example, if you slept really well, and woke up energised, give yourself a 5/5 for “Sleep”. If your Nutrition was less than optimal for the day, give yourself a 3/5 for “Nutrition”...and so on!

  • Use these findings to show areas where you can make simple improvements and to guide any areas of effort.

  • By the end of the week, you will have a simple map of what you BASE looks like and how you can improve it!

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