Photo by Axel Holen on Unsplash

Survival Skill: Adaptation

Adapt /uh-dapt/:

  1. to make suitable to requirements or conditions; adjust or modify fittingly
  2. to adjust oneself to different conditions, environment, etc.

You know, our existence at this moment is a result of our ability to adapt to change. Literally, human beings (homo sapiens) would not be here if not for our ability to develop innovations that kept us alive. And this is true not only for humans but for all life; animals and plants alike. Adaption generally come with three characteristics that are imporant and provide survival for many situations.

Photo from: Th Adjustment Bureau Movie (2011)

Flexibility

By definition adaption is one ability to adjust in different conditions and environments. You’ll be surprised how many people lack this ability and therfore stuggle at navigating through things. Life will cause you to learn the nuances of survival. Things wont always be easy or even consistent. There will be moments that your couldn’t prepare for and problems that gave no warning. In those cases, you learn to simply roll with the “punches”. Being flexible doesn’t mean you necessarily change, it means you adjust. This is important to understand.

For example, I’m a pretty loud talker. Given my background in public speaking I tend to just pontificate louder than others. That, coupled with my deep voice — makes it appear that the siphonic sound of my voice travels even when im trying to be quiet. You can image that I always struggled in those university “quiet” areas. Not only do I like conversation but I can’t whisper. Now, as common as that is, whats not common in all of this is I can’t study in loud places. So I had to learn quick, how to whisper and keep low tone. This may sound trival but it was an adjustment i had to learn in order to utilize the resources I needed to be success.

KEY POINT: Being quiet for me was an adjustment and not an innovation. I had to learn the time and place to be quiet — as opposed learning how to be “not loud”. Loud is a part of me. “Quiet” in that case was a tool of adjustment. Learn the difference between the two.

Some things in life will simply require you to make temporal accomodations and not lasting changes.

Photo from Inspector Gadet Movie (1999)

Innovation

As much as I would like to think that there will never be moments that require innovation; that simply isn’t true! Being flexible is important however sometimes you have make lasting change. This is innovation. And you control this. You control your own narrative therefore don’t be afraid to reinvente yourself into whatever “self” you feel is needed. Now, let me be clear. I’m not talking about authenticity, the “true” self, or anything along those line. This is about innovation both of yourself and your environment. What do you contribute to the world? What do you feel you can change? what do you feel needs to improve?

In nature, plants and animals not only adjust they make changes that have lasting impact. They improve themselves in order to survive and even avoid future deadly entanglement. There will be a time where innovation is necessary and key. If life isn’t working, think about why. Then, create a plan to change it and innovate. To do the same thing expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Sometimes, you simply have to change the entire script and that’s ok!

Photo from Hercules Movie (1997)

Preparedness

You know — survival at times isnt always adjusting or innovating. Sometimes, its about preparation. For many people, they’re limited in their ability to adjust or innovate because they don’t have the right resources. Think about a cactus. The plant lives in the desert. Due to this, the cactus had to adjust in order to get water — to sustain it’s life. However, this water doesn't come from a river or some large body. The water comes from reserves on the inside of the plant. This was an innovation that render the plant prepared to handle periods of no rain. This gives the cactus an ability to adjust when needed.

Follow this model: Innovation → Prepardness → An ability to adjust

This is not always the case. Why? You won’t always need to innovate nor will you always be prepared. But, if you have the mindset of “flexibility”. You will learn to adjust in all sistuations.