‘It is not the strongest of the species, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable.’- Charles Darwin
Two of the things we can be sure about in life are changes and surprises. In psychological coaching we talk a lot about the helpful role of goal setting with determination and flexibility for a happy life, preparing where we want to head and how we can get there. Goal setting and planning are very important. However, there is another key ingredient, which is highly important to a successful and happy life: adaptability. Setting your goals and working consistently are only two ingredients of the feeling fulfilled formula. If we get stuck on our goal and work towards achieving it without looking to the right and left we won’t be able to achieve our goal as wanted. We have to work towards adapting and adjusting to life’s changes.
If we’d only have strength and determination we could be broken when struck by a big change. If we were only flexible we could get twisted when struck by something unexpected. If we are both strong and flexible and are able to adapt we can handle every situation and challenge successfully. Adaptability allows our mind to rethink and restructure, adjusting our decisions according to the current situation. A person who has a lot of adaptability is able to make changes in response to the environment and not get stuck on his original idea.
Learning to cope with change is hard for many of us. We are beings with habits and feel good in our comfort zone, but we can learn to become more adaptable through a willingness, an open mindset and experience. If you would like to work on your adaptability you need to have a willingness to do so. We often say that we want to work on something, but we don’t actually mean it and that is why it isn’t happening. The intellectual will is present, but the emotional will and understanding is lacking. Check in with yourself: ‘Am I willing to let go of certain habits and thinking patterns in order to become more adaptable?’ Letting go and taping into our thinking patterns is not an easy thing to do and requires your full willingness.
Being adaptable is beneficial for all areas in our life: work, relationships, family, friends, and personal goals. The more personal we get the lower our adaptability is at times. Long kept mindsets and habits we practice within our private, more constant world are much harder to reset, but in turn very rewarding. Working on these and improving your adaptability within these areas will highly influence your well-being. Often times we stay stuck on ideas or ways of living because we are scared to let go, we are scared to be in the unknown, and just let life take us. Once we let go of these fears and ideas in our head, life will unfold naturally.
The combination of such an open attitude with clear set goals and motivation will do wonders for you. You’ll be able to achieve your goals with joy and benefit from all the other things life is giving you along the way.
It happened so often that I badly wanted something or was looking for something but couldn’t find it and once I didn’t need it anymore or just let go of eagerly looking for it, it appeared. Have you ever had the same experience? I think most of us did. Today I understand why this happens. Once we set a strong mind without leaving space for adaptability we create stiffness in ourselves and this stiffness keeps us away from looking to the right and left. As soon as we open our mind, get loose, and let go our span of sight opens up.
If you are ready to make changes and developments to live life with openness towards adaptability start working on it now. Be ready to explore and let go. With such an attitude you’ll be able to look inside and find out what is inside of you and might be an obstacle to being adaptable. Going deeper is extremely important in order to make lasting changes from within and not only temporary ones.
One question that is always helpful to ask yourself is ‘What is the worst case that could happen?’ The answer usually is either nothing or nothing bad. Old experiences tend to guide our behavior, thoughts, and actions without us being aware of it. Dissolving these automatic cycles will give you clarity and show you that being adaptable is actually much safer than anything else. Once your willingness is present and you are ready to walk through life with an open mind all you need is experience.
Allow your willingness and openness to guide you and you’ll automatically develop a higher level of adaptability and notice how this positively influences your well- being. This will not only allow you to survive, but be alive and live an exciting, fulfilling life.