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Adaptability – key to thrive in the present

It is rightly said – the only constant in life is ‘CHANGE.’

We experience change in the form of crisis, setbacks, challenges, loss, new relations, change of job, promotions, etc. Some situations cause us to pause, examine our lives, and gain perspective. During change, one often looks at the past, the reality before the change, and at times, feel helpless looking at what is different now.

Adapting to the changes is considered to be a natural step for our personal growth, our survival. As Charles Darwin put it – it is not the strongest of species that survive but the most adaptable.

Meaning, adaptability is our ability to acclimatize our behavior and approach in response to changing circumstances. It is one of the behavioral strategies that we can deploy when facing challenges and setbacks. According to the Resilience Questionnaire, adaptability involves flexing our behavior and actions to the situation in demand, finding different ways to achieve objectives, and in turn, becoming resilient to the obstacles in the way.

In everyday parlance, resilience and adaptability are used almost interchangeably. However, resilience is a personal resource, which can be enhanced by using adaptability as a tool.

When we are resilient, we find ways to persevere. One of those ways is adapting to the situation, recognizing that the reality has changed, and striving through it to reach the desired end.

When we use adaptability as a mechanism to become resilient, we:

  • Perceive changes as positive as opposed to negative or threatening
  • Readily realign to new situations and changes at work
  • Adjust thought patterns basis the new information and reality
  • Are better able to modify existing behavioral approaches
  • Quickly, without getting disheartened, change plans and priorities as needed

Though adaptability seems like an instinctual response, for many of us, it is a reality that changing plans or approaches causes significant frustration and anxiety. However, like many of the psychological resources at our disposal, we can develop our adaptability. To develop it, we can consider:

  • Anticipating change and building contingencies.
  • Viewing change in the larger context and therefore understanding why change is crucial.
  • Accepting the reality and consciously reframing negative thoughts about the change being unreasonable or unfair.
  • Staying focused on the goal, the end objective.

While having a positive attitude towards change and adapting approaches and plans accordingly is desirable, it is equally important to evaluate the change in terms of what is and what is not within our control. We experience change, however small or big, every day. Hence, our choice to respond to the change and adapt to it must not be a passive exercise, and we must evaluate whether it makes sense considering the larger picture.

When something goes wrong in your life, just yell ‘Plot Twist’ and move on.”

Anonymous

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