The Habit of Adaptability

a·dapt·a·bil·i·ty

noun
  1. The quality of being able to adjust to new conditions.
  2. The capacity to be modified for a new use or purpose.

How is adaptability a habit? You may be asking yourself that question after reading the definition. Isn’t it just something some people are good at, and some aren’t?

No.

Organization, working out, and eating healthy are all examples of things some people might naturally be better at than others, but that doesn’t mean that everyone couldn’t make them a habit if they applied themselves.

Maybe you can see the benefit of being organized or healthy a lot more than the benefit of being able to adapt, and I get that, but let me explain why getting into the habit of adapting is crucial.

Reason One: A Constantly Advancing Culture.

The thing is, advancements used to be new and exciting, and people would announce them, and everyone would talk about them for weeks. Nowadays, advancements are so common, that they have become a normal part of our everyday lives. People don’t announce them like they used to, or talk about them for weeks. It’s more like a side comment in the car or over dinner, or a single tweet. The thing is, advancements often go unnoticed, and then all of a sudden, everyone knows about this new thing, and look at you like you’re old or stupid when you have no clue what they are talking about. “Get with the times!”

Reason Two: You’ll be Happier.

Have you ever gone on vacation, and checked the weather before you went so you could pack accordingly, then got there only to see that the forecast had changed? That happened to me when I went to London expecting rain, and got sunburn everyday because it had apparently never been that hot in England before, and you couldn’t find sunblock anywhere!

When we become sold out on our ideas of what we think the future is going to look like, and it changes, we are often disappointed, or worse, unprepared. If I had just packed sunscreen “just in case” I would have been thrilled I wasn’t rained out of my whole trip, instead, I was a lobster. I mean who goes to London expecting a sunburn?

Reason Three: People will Start Thinking of you as the Smart one.

In high school my band mates used to jokingly call me mom. The reason was I was almost always prepared for almost anything! When the unexpected cropped up, people always ran to me, because they knew I would have something in my “mom bag”, be it a band aid, tums, a tampon, Tylenol, or even warm fuzzy socks.

I grew up in girl scouts, so I learned there were a few simple steps you could take to be prepared for just about anything. I also learned to be resourceful, so if you didn’t have what you needed, you could figure out a way to make do without it.

Teach yourself to be resourceful, and think about simple ways to be prepared. In Smarter Faster Better, Charles Duhigg talks about how the most skilled fire fighters were the ones who told themselves a story of what to expect, so when things don’t line up with their day dream (for lack of a better word) they knew where to focus their energy.

Okay…. Huh?

I don’t ever check the weather. I realized that today…

I’m not the kind of person who checks the weather at night, plans my outfit for tomorrow, then gets thrown off on the mornings where the forecast changed overnight. I know my resources, or in this case my wardrobe, and I assess as I go, grab what is needed, and go from there.

I wear layers so I can add or take away as necessary.

That was a metaphor.

Train your brain to think about more than just the obvious outcomes. Start coming up with contingency plans. If this doesn’t happen, I can do that…

When you get into the habit of being adaptable, you’ll notice, you become disappointed less often, and you can enjoy the unexpected more when you’re prepared to meet it. It just takes a little bit of practice!

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