It's Time To Learn How To Be Adaptable

Photo by  Maik Fischer  on  Unsplash

You have to learn how to be adaptable. Because life isn’t a straight line. It will take you one way and then abruptly stop and change course altogether. If you aren’t ready for the pivots, you will be left in the same place. While the rest of the world passes you by.

You might think you are adaptable, but most of us really aren’t. It’s not just the ability to adjust to new conditions. It’s actually the continued ability to roll with the punches. Adaptability is about acceptance, adjustment, and action. If you don’t have all three, you aren’t adaptable. And you could be stuck. In your own way.

I’ve been there. In many ways, I’m still there. I used to be very rigid in every way. Over time and through my own personal growth exploration, I’ve learned to accept, adjust, and act. But it’s not easy. It’s never easy because to adapt we have to acknowledge that something we were doing wasn’t working.

Without a healthy sense of self and robust respect for others, we resist the opportunity to adapt and grow. Because we want to stay right. We want to stay rigid. We want to stay stuck in our way. Because honestly, it’s easier that way. We can burrow ourselves deep inside our life and our psyche, but there will be no growth. Because there is no growth without adaptability.

“The hallmark of the human species is great adaptability.” — David Grinspoon

Why Being Adaptable is So Hard

When we adjust to a new condition, it’s often a condition outside of our control. Something that enters our world and then requires us to take action to grow. We hate this because we are all control freaks. And even if it’s not a want to control others, we all want to maintain direct control over our own decisions.

But life doesn’t care about our personal trajectory. Life places things in our way to see what we do with the barricade. Do we adapt and figure out a way around it or do we sit and wait for it to handle itself, while we don’t handle ourselves?

It’s hard because we think that being adaptable means being a doormat in a relationship. We don’t want to be the only one changing. But that’s a control thing too. It’s not like if you adapt to the whim of your partner one day, out of love, that you now must always do what they want. Adaptability goes both ways in a relationship and without it, the relationship won’t grow.

It’s hard in business as well. How many industries have we watched fail to keep up with the technological advancements and the true interests of the world? Instead, they stand pat on what has worked for so many years. And then they are soon irrelevant. All because they refused to pivot. To adapt to the new ways that society interacts with their product or service.

“All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.” - Bruce Lee

What Being Adaptable Brings to Your Life

When you are adaptable, you are open. Open to new experiences. New ways of doing things. And when you lay open to those things, you tell others that you want to do life together and not alone. You want to work together on things that will bring you greater enjoyment, no matter who thought of them first.

Being adaptable brings more confidence to your life. Those who are unwilling to change are scared of it. And that fear can not also bear confidence. You can’t be confident only in your way of doing something because confident people are smart enough to know there are others out there who may know better.

When you allow yourself to adapt and change, you give yourself more confidence that you can handle the next thing that comes around the bend. If you’ve adjusted to moving, a new move isn’t as daunting. If you’ve pivoted the focus of your business before, you can do it again.

If you aren’t adaptable, your life will be harder. You will be more stressed out when things invariably don’t go your way. You will be more upset about something you categorize as a failure. You will remain unchanged. And an unchanged person lacks growth.


5 Ways To Be More Adaptable

  1. Listen more. If your ears are always closed to outside influences, you don’t think anyone knows better than you. But they do. There will always be someone smarter than you. Better than you. Taller than you. More handsome than you. Listen to what the people around you have to say more and you may begin actually hearing them. If you can do that, your process has already begun.

  2. Judge less. If you are always judging whether something is good or bad, smart or dumb, better or worse, you aren’t allowing things to develop in your mind. You aren’t giving yourself the opportunity to learn. The only way to adapt to new situations is to stop judging them before you really take the time to consider them.

  3. Try new things. Don’t just sit around and wait for life to leave you at a crossroads. Get out ahead of the impending peril of change and try something new. Start small. Take a different route to work. Don’t use Google Maps, figure out how to get there on your own. Eat sea urchin. Watch something you think you will hate. All these things are primers for more adaptable behavior.

  4. Ask more questions. If you want to be more adaptable, you need to learn more. And the only way to learn more, outside of cramming your head into books or staring at the Internet, is to ask questions. Challenge yourself to ask tough questions. Because the answers will take you somewhere new. And adaptability is always about a new frontier.

  5. Pay attention. Oblivious people can’t adapt. They can’t because they don’t even understand what is going on right in front of them. They are not current. They are not forward-thinking. They aren’t paying attention. And without paying attention to the vast world around you, your ability to adjust and pivot is severely limited.

The Only Question You Need to Ask Yourself

Do you want to be better than you are right now?

If your answer is yes, then you have to learn how to be adaptable. You have to roll with the punches. You have to take a negative and turn it into a positive. You have to adjust, pivot, and alter as life throws you curveballs. Because your mastery of adaptability will result in exponential growth. And who doesn’t want that?

If your answer is no, why are you reading self-help stories on the Internet?