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Adaptability: The Essential Ingredient to Successfully Manage Change

2013 February 22

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. ~Charles Darwin

adaptabilityAdaptability is not a word we see very often, but all it really means is having the capability of adjusting to new conditions, aka “change.”

Most of us are already pretty adaptable when it comes to the small stuff … the restaurant is out of the item we order on the menu, so we pick something else; there’s a street crew working on the road we normally take to work, so we take a detour, etc.

It’s the big things in life that often throw us for a loop, such as loss of a job, relationship issues, financial or health problems. Sometimes, no matter how well we plan, we find ourselves back at square one … and when that happens, we need to adapt – and fast.

Adaptability does not mean giving up hope, or accepting adversity as your fate.

Adaptability is important because when you fight and resist the circumstances of your life, you create a state of fear and upset that almost always makes your situation worse. You close down inside and lose your ability to see clearly. You develop tunnel vision, and you interact in a way that destroys love and creates opposition and resistance against yourself.

When you are able to let go of resisting, you will be able to restore your peace of mind and see your situation more clearly and what needs to be done. The moment you let go, everything seems to change. With the fear and upset gone, you become calm, creative and able to discover solutions that you could never have seen before.

To see this in another way, let’s look at the nature of fear.

Fear is created by avoiding and resisting some future possible event. For example, let’s say that you are resisting the possible loss of your relationship.  The greater your fear, the more you become threatened, and the tighter you hang on. Sadly, this almost always ends up pushing the person further and further away. By avoiding and resisting this future possible event, you create a state of fear and upset that inadvertently ends up contributing to the very event that you are so desperately trying to avoid.

For fear to lose its power you need to do the opposite of resisting. You need to be willing for the event you fear to happen. You don’t have to like it, just be willing. Keep in mind that letting go is a state of mind and is totally separate from your actions. Letting go is what removes the fear and upset so that you can more clearly see what actions to take.

Guidelines to Help You Learn to Become More Adaptable

  • Accept that you can’t control everything. I believe we all know this on some level, but at times we try hard to overcome this basic truth. You can’t even control everything within your own little sphere of influence … you can influence things, but many things are simply out of your control. There are things that we cannot control that will affect every aspect of our lives, and we must accept that, or we will be constantly frustrated.
  • Learn to compromise to create more win/win opportunities – even if it means situations won’t always end up exactly as you’ve planned. In marriage this is often referred to as “choose your battles!”
  • Become aware. You can’t change things in your head if you’re not aware of them. You have to become an observer of your thoughts, a self-examiner. Be aware that you’re becoming upset, so that you can do something about it. Identify actions you can take that will flip your switch to a better, more positive frame of mind.
  • Accept change as a part of life. When we finally get things just the way we like them, we usually don’t want them to change. But if the winds blow and twist your sail, and the path of life conspires to direct you to a different trail, let go and don’t resist. Believe that ultimately the universe knows what is meant for you – and what’s not. Don’t let an uncertain future prevent you from giving life your best shot.
  • Keep a journal. Anyone who follows my blog knows I am a big believer in the benefits of journaling, and this particular exercise is one of the best uses of a journal. Once a day, try to recall if anything in particular set you off. Why did you get upset? What did you try to do? Did it work, and if not, why not? What can you do next time? This kind of recollection and examination, after the fact, will help you learn from the process.
  • Realize that you can’t control others. Ah, one of our biggest challenges. We get frustrated with other people because they don’t act the way we want them to act. Maybe it’s our kids, our spouse or significant other, or it’s our coworker or boss. Regardless of who it is, we have to realize that they are simply acting in accordance with their personality,  based on their priorities and what they feel is right. We have to accept that others are not always going conform to the actions and behaviors we want.

You can’t change the fact that from time to time stressful events will happen, but you can control how you interpret and respond to these events and learn to successfully manage change by becoming more adaptable in your day-to-day life.

thankyouI hope you’ll consider contributing to the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing this post with your friends! In fact I’d love to connect with YOU! To follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc., just click here.

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Mahalo!

35 Responses
  1. September 3, 2013

    every change starts with thinking and how much we believe in our self..good article btw

  2. Lei Broch from app empire
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    April 2, 2013

    Being a flexible individual is a great advantage in enduring any obstacles that might come in your way to success. Being adaptable means you accept the reality that you cannot control all the things around you and make you fully aware that change is a constant element in life.
    Lei Broch recently posted..Price Wars: What app prices really work?My Profile

  3. February 28, 2013

    Hi Marquita. This is such an inspiring post. Sometimes I think there are only 2 kinds of old people – the happy ones and the bitter ones. Everyone has hardships, trials, run-ins, and just stuff that makes you mad or scared. Your own attitude determines how you live your life, and being adaptable is a great part of it. We call it flexibility at our house. My husband used to complain about how inflexible I was, but I haven’t heard him say that in a long time. I guess I must have gotten better at being flexible. Great article!

    All the best,
    Leslie Denning
    Leslie Denning recently posted..Getting Traffic to Your Blog: What is Tribe Syndication?My Profile

  4. February 26, 2013

    It’s really important that we learn to adapt to whatever is around us. After all, change is the only thing constant in our lives without the ability to adapt expect to roll downhill.

  5. February 26, 2013

    Truly a great article. Adaptabilty is one of the qualities that people should not neglect because it is the one which will aid us throughout life. People who cannot adapt to change will remain stagnant and will not be able to enjoy life the way that it is meant to.
    Stacey recently posted..New Years Eve Cruise in Sydney 2012 Harbour Fireworks Cruise!My Profile

  6. February 25, 2013

    You never fail at hitting that last nail on my coffin. I just love the way you write. I really relate to each and every word. Thanks for the great share!

    • February 26, 2013

      Love your kind comment, though the analogy is a bit of a worry :-) So very glad you’re enjoying what you read here Veronica :-)

  7. February 25, 2013

    Your article was very inspiring. Due to my recent loss of employment and the dues I have to pay soon, I was feeling a bit depressed. Reading your article made me feel that I can adapt to these changes and look forward to a brighter day.

    • February 26, 2013

      Sorry to hear about your job situation Joy, but so very glad if what you’ve read here has helped you feel more confident. I wish you nothing but the best!

  8. February 25, 2013

    A great article.

    We sometimes get STUCK, and there is always a way to rise above this dead end that we all encounter sometimes in our lives, some more often than others.

    All that ever matters in my viewpoint is to be a compassionate person…

    The rest takes care of itself.

  9. February 25, 2013

    It is the ability to change and adapt that marks our individual success as persons. Even if we are not Skinnerians, its hard to ignore the idea that if we do the same thing over and over again in the same way, we will wind up getting the same results.

    To find what we really want, to achieve the goals we know we are capable of achieving, we must adapt. This is the perfect post to bring that point home in a completely understandable and believable way. Thank you for sharing it with us. :-)
    Michael Shook recently posted..Positive Thinking Made SimpleMy Profile

    • February 25, 2013

      Welcome back Michael, and thanks for taking the time to contribute to the conversation – so glad you enjoyed the article :-)

  10. February 24, 2013

    Hi Marquita,

    Your articles are always so inspiring. When I think of adaptability, I think of resilience. It feels good to be adaptable. I love it when I “go with the flow.” Sometimes it isn’t easy, but as you noted, awareness has to happen first. I’ve gone through a lot of transitions in my life and I’ve learned to adapt…very grateful for the sense of peace I have…most of the time.

    The more I learn about personal development, I’ve become a happier person. The idea is to learn, observe, and apply. I really like journaling because I can read my notes when I am in a different state of emotion or at peace. Then I can learn how and why I behave in a particular way and do better the next time around.

    Your guidelines to become more adaptable are worth noting:

    Accept that you can’t control everything.
    Learn to compromise to create more win/win opportunities.
    Become aware.
    Accept change as a part of life.
    Keep a journal.
    Realize that you can’t control others.

    All of them are important…but the last one, realize that you can’t control others is huge. Once I learned that one, I was able to find peace.

    Raena Lynn
    Raena Lynn recently posted..The Prosperity Game Journal Part 3My Profile

    • February 25, 2013

      Welcome back Raena, I’m so glad you enjoyed the article and thanks so much for sharing your valuable insight – always appreciated!

  11. February 24, 2013

    Marty, you can control your choices and that is a gift to remember. You can not control if it is day or night.

    You have this reader thinking and I have been here for such a long time just thinking and you started me on this journey for searching those things I do have control of. Not a heck of allot of things we do control. Thank goodness we only need to have unyielding imaginations and learn how to visualize to the point of belief. Then manifesting things into being. That you can control!!!

    Thanks Marty for helping me have fun today on my day of rest! I feel so much better upon each visit no matter that I can not control much. The little things such as choice/free will has this lifetime journey of mine so much more exciting.

    Your one of our greatest visionaries and mentors in this industry. I appreciate your serious research and share.
    William Amis recently posted..Getting It Done Right The First TImeMy Profile

    • February 25, 2013

      Welcome back William! So glad you liked the article, and thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and contribute to the conversation.

  12. Steve Borgman
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    February 24, 2013

    Marty, thanks for the insights on coping with change. Accepting change while not thinking of adversity as being forever is a great idea. Also, reframing change as opportunity rather than an ordeal can be helpful. I’ve struggled with dealing with change when it arises very suddenly, like when my basement flooded while I was at work one weekend :( I strive to have bedrock character in the face of sudden adversity. I can’t do this on my own, but with the help of a Higher Power and others, I hope to get there.

    • February 25, 2013

      Welcome back Steve, glad you liked the article. Sorry to hear about your basement flooding … I’ve never lived anywhere that had a basement … hum. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to contribute to the conversation. :-)

  13. February 23, 2013

    I spent years being controled by my emotions. Now I control them and make them work for me. Occasionally I do love a good rant or shout though.. It clears the cobwebs and I usually thank the person who was prepared to shout at me whilst being so shocked that I responded and we laugh!
    Once you are aware and more in control you need to increase your exercise levels, as you will not burn so many calories and put on weight.. Maybe not, but that was my excuse.. I put on weight because I was calmer.. tee hee..
    Great post as usual. x
    lynneinpborough recently posted..Valentines mushMy Profile

    • February 25, 2013

      Welcome Lynn and thanks for taking time to share your thoughts – and you know what – I think the occasional rant is healthy!

  14. February 23, 2013

    Definitely right. As they say in the East the only certainty in life is that everything changes, not just Google algorithm, so better be flexible and adaptable.

    Very interesting site Marquita, now I must subscribe. :)

    Happy weekend!
    Andrea H. recently posted..Better Health with HypnosisMy Profile

    • February 25, 2013

      Welcome Andrea, I’m so glad you enjoyed the article! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts :-)

  15. February 23, 2013

    Marquita,
    as usual, I must say.. you sure know how to write and love it…. thanks.

    So far, I do not know how you manage to write such great articles and being a thought-provoking and adding so many GREAT guidelines to assist all of us to make the best out of our planned or an-planned change or as you put it somewhere in your article “willing to compromise”.. you sure add to make this a better place to live.. and I am glad that I am able to read most of your articles here.. and learn more of what is important in life… thanks so much.
    nickc
    Nick Catricala recently posted..Everything Happens For a ReasonMy Profile

    • February 25, 2013

      Welcome back Nick, so glad you liked the article. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts – always appreciated!

  16. February 23, 2013

    Marty,

    I think the most important piece of the post (although I loved the article as a whole) is being willing to compromise. Having a fixed way of being and thinking that we’re right all the time is not going to win friends and influence people. Allowing other to contribute to your life give the flexibility and the adaptability necessary to get along with most everyone.

    I know there are going to be times that we’ll need to be unbending and stand our ground and I’m all for that. But, being that way 100% of the time makes Jack a very lonely guy.

    Appreciate you!

    RICK
    Rick Lelchuk recently posted..The Selfless Act of Enduring Love – ForgivenessMy Profile

    • February 25, 2013

      Thanks so much for sharing your insight Rick – always valued and I appreciate you to :-)

  17. February 23, 2013

    Hi Marty, You are full of such Great Wisdom! I am starting my journal today! Great advice and I am all over it… Thanks for sharing Marty… Chery :)
    Chery Schmidt recently posted..Time To Change ME As An Online EntrepreneurMy Profile

  18. February 23, 2013

    Some days its much easier than others to be adaptable! Journaling is something I do off and on again, so I will say that is one of my goals to adapting a consistency to journal. Not being able to control others and being aware are two very important points in adaptability I find.. so many of us do happen to be a little blind when it comes to that!! Great post, Marty!
    Holly recently posted..Energy Is Never Lost!!My Profile

    • February 25, 2013

      You are so right about Holly about how some days can be easier than others. What works best for me is to walk away from a problem or situation for a little while – even if it’s only a couple of hours. I find that I bounce back very quickly no matter what the situation, but sometimes I need to just give myself a little space to regroup. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!

  19. February 23, 2013

    Another thought-provoking post Marty, I love how you breakdown that resisting change means you turn it into something to be feared. I wonder how many of us do that without even realising? And the same when it comes to controlling others – I wonder how much of our attempts to control others is to do with our own fear of change?
    Sarah Arrow recently posted..Video: What to use when you don’t “do” video.My Profile

    • February 25, 2013

      Hey Sarah, great questions and you are so right about how fear influences our ability to adapt to new situations! Fear has a way of digging into our thinking in all sorts of ways that can hang us up. The good news is fear can be overcome, the tough part is identifying the little bugger :-)

  20. February 22, 2013

    A wonderful topic Marquita!

    I do consider myself adaptable because I’ve moved around to different places with no fear, only enthusiasm. All through my life as a entrepreneur, I became financially adaptable too. Anyone who runs their own business knows that there are good times where the money flows in and other times where it trickles. So those times I use to relax or catch up on other things I neglected to do. So it all works out!

    Your article reminds me of one of my clients who 5 years ago wanted to put her house up for sale. Because of inner fears, it has never made the market, she hasn’t moved forward with her job or her relationships. She is paralyzed with fear and not a happy camper! She is an avid follower of self help books and videos, but never puts anything into action. SMH

    Donna
    Donna Merrill recently posted..Guest Posting – Tried And Tested Brand Boosters!My Profile

    • February 25, 2013

      Welcome back Donna – your story about your client sounds all too familiar I’m afraid. I think one of the toughest lessons anyone who’s spent any time coaching has to learn is when to let go and bless someone on their way. We simply can’t help someone who isn’t willing or able to help themselves. Thanks for taking the time to contribute to the conversation.

  21. February 22, 2013

    Hi Marty,

    thank you so much for sharing your wisdom.
    You are making some great suggestions for managing change.

    My life has been full of change since conception and then with four sets of foster parents until the age of seven with my parents in between. So adapting is something I had to do from a young age.
    As an adult I had to learn how to adapt without losing myself (and to find myself in the process).

    Journalling is one of my favorites ways to take care of myself which helps me to be more aware too.

    I appreciate that you took the time to share your valuable knowledge.
    Love and Light
    Yorinda
    Yorinda recently posted..Loving Kindness PrayerMy Profile

    • February 25, 2013

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share Yorinda, I always appreciate your thoughtful insight on any personal development topics!

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