The One Skill You Need For Survival: Adaptability

Apr 27, 2020 · 4 min read

I can’t control it if it rains, but I can bring an umbrella to help protect against the storm.

Change is the only consistency in life. Everyone has a path but not everyone can easily adapt when it changes, especially when the change is sudden or uncontrollable.

Adaptability can be practiced, all that is needed is the motivation to improve.

Here are three actionable insights to consider:


The goal is to be ambidextrous in how we think. Unlearning and then relearning forces people to challenge what they already know by creating an alternative mental model or paradigm. It is not forgetting what we know but letting it go in order to think with an open mind. Mental models are usually based on learned decisions made unconsciously.

(Photo Courtesy of Ed Welter)
  1. Identifying the new knowledge
  2. Practicing it to make it a habit


This is about taking control of change by seeking it out. Typically, it’s only when things go wrong is when change is addressed; to take control of change, we must continuously reevaluate to look for improvements. A different approach is a lot less threatening and difficult when we are more prepared.

(Gif Courtesy of Brand New)
  1. Know your values
  2. Look for ways to modify


Life is unpredictable, which is why it’s so important to be resourceful and see opportunities where others see failure. This means focusing on ways to proactively solve problems and learn from failed attempts.

“This is really hard.” → “What can I do to make it easier?”

“I can’t do this.” → “What could I do differently?”

“That didn’t work.” → “What if I tried this?”

Natalie Fratto of Goldman Sachs, suggests asking “what if…” because it’s a future-focused question, rather than dwelling on what is wrong in the present or past. This question also frames multiple outcomes.

(Photo Courtesy of The Space Center)

Change is constant. Growth is optional.

The hope is that through improving your personal adaptability your relationship with uncontrollable change is well… changed.

I & CO

A collection of articles by the I & CO crew on the future of business