“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”
When control fails, being adaptable prevails
The universe is a constant state of flux and Planet Earth is no exception. In modern society we often feel separate from nature. We feel nature is something to fear, an entity we need to control at all cost.We have managed to shut nature out throughout a good portion of the manmade world, however something as simple as a hurricane or a tsunami can show us how futile our attempts to control nature really are.
We attempt to control our environments, our lives and our futures, but what happens when everything doesn’t go according to plan? This is when being adaptable works its magic! It allows us to re-access, to re-adjust, adapt and move forward accordingly. We can plan for the future, but sometimes the best plan to have is the plan to be adaptable.
Being adaptable came naturally to the tribesman
In modern society we aren’t required to be as adaptable as our tribal ancestors were. If we are hot, we are able to cool the room with a turn of a dial. If we are hungry food is around the corner. With that said we still have situations that force us to adapt. They are not regular occurrences for most of us meaning we are quite often unprepared and un-equipped to deal with them.
The tribesman on the other hand thrived in change. He had to, there was no other choice. The different seasons brought different opportunities and different scarcities. Food was never guaranteed, nature is not predictable. The tribesman had to adapt and overcome any challenges put in his path, or die in the pursuit. Our ability to adapt as human beings has ensured our survival.
Adaptability is still a desirable quality in 21st century. It allows us to change our thoughts and our actions in unpredictable situations. It affords us a serenity to know that we can still thrive when our routine breaks, when things change.
How can we be adaptable?
Be open to Change
Sometimes things are beyond our control, it’s nothing to stress about, it’s just the way it is. We move homes, we find new jobs, relationships breakdown. We can either wallow at the inconvenience of our new situation or we can adapt and take the proverbial bull by his horns.
As much as we like to think we can predict the future, the truth is we cannot. There are just too many variables beyond our control. This is nothing to be anxious about, there is excitement in the unknown. By being adaptable we are able to deal with, or even enjoy change.
We can’t always control an outcome but we can learn to control our response to an outcome. We can learn to train ourselves to be open to change and to enjoy the process. Next time you are stressing out over something unexpected, drop a chill pill and remember you can handle it. You got this!
Being adaptable means leaving blame behind
Your car breaks down. Whose fault is it? Maybe it was your mechanics? Or maybe it was your spouse for not checking the oil? Stupid car! You can sit around blaming people (and inanimate objects) or you can adapt to the new situation and fix the problem. There is no point in playing the blame game!
The dynamics of living in nature meant that the tribesmen’s plan (or lifestyle) would alter. There would be missed opportunities. Do you think they would sit around the campfire arguing about whose fault it was? No they would adapt and prevail. That is why human beings are still here.
We can apply this wisdom to our modern lives. We can leave the blame at the door. We don’t have to be slaves to circumstance. We can adjust to the unexpected.
Go with the flow
Go with the flow or “wu-wei” as the Taoist call it is all about being adaptable. It is about not resisting our current state of affairs. It is about going with the current instead of against it. This is not to be confused with inaction. It simply means if we cannot change an event, then we go with it. This is the path of least resistance. This is the art of being adaptable.
It is important we are not afraid to try new things. We don’t need to fear the unknown. By being willing to step out of our comfort zones we become more adaptable. When the unexpected occurs, don’t panic, you are adaptable. Go with flow and enjoy the process. When one door closes another one opens.
Adaptability was once an essential quality for our survival. Today it can bring serenity. We don’t need to sit around blaming others, we can be open to change, we can adapt.