How to flex and adapt
We often do this as a matter of course in life, but we often don’t recognise the steps we take to do it. Lockdown, business crashes, redundancies, losses and change all require this of us and yet have you really focussed your mind on what you do to find success that comes at some point?
Nothing stays the same. Once you embrace that idea, life seems easier. Why? Because you don’t expect the fairy tale easy life that children might believe. (Sadly not all children have this built into early life but that alone means they see others expected it so believe they too should have had it).
As adults, we start to realise at some point life is much harder out there on your own. Even with family and friends support, you have to go it alone to some extent and build your own life and lifestyle!
Humans are adaptable creatures. We were once nomadic, often enjoying exploring and finding new places and new experiences. It's only fearful reflections and other's comments that hold us back from this and those things we are told are dangerous by others or sometimes, experiences we hold on to as a protective mechanism.
Flexibility - flexing - is like tacking the sails of a yacht with the winds at that moment. We can plan as much as we want but obstacles arise, unexpected events or situations (e.g. lockdown, virus pandemic, technological reliance) bring us up short and we have to adapt quickly.
Darwin's theory of origin of species relays that it is those individual animals that adapt fastest that survive and live to procreate, taking forward positive, useful genes that develop into even more useful skills and talents we learn as a group (tribe, culture, society, world).
Try this exercise:
Think of your life and things you didn’t expect and adapted to.
How did you flex from the first moment to the last or to date?
How did this change your outlook or behaviours?
What have you learned that will help you in future too?
Jot down notes, memories, realisations and reflect a little more on them.
Try to recognise what actions or behaviours you used to help you flex in the moment and then adapt your life overall. This is normal, natural and necessary behaviour for growth and development; people naturally strive to keep growing and learning, being better than yesterday.
You may feel you've stagnated now and again, but you may just either need a rest and regroup or find this works better for you and adopt it as a new way for you, embedding it in your life and personality or behaviour and strategies.
Each life event - birth, death, marriage, divorce, moving job or home, changing career, changing your outlook, spirituality and knowledge from education and experience - changes your beliefs and expectations, developing new and often better ways to manage your life and opportunities.
Nothing stays the same. Good and bad events and situations will eventually change and you can be ready to adapt and flex again, each time learning more about your and your needs, your options and opportunities so you can be ready to jump when the chance comes along.
Take steps to flex and adapt
1. Step back and assess what is changing and why, how.
2. Make informed decisions to help you in future by taking a short time to reflect on your situation and options going forward, rather than just reacting to it without thought.
3. Listen to your instincts, your gut feelings, head and heart balance. Your body is made to take care of your personal needs from experiences to date, learning and defence mechanisms that you can harness and use or modify and control.
4. Listen to others - read, ask, discuss, consider. Advice should be listened to but not necessarily heeded; adopt what works for you in your already developing repertoire of skills and tools, techniques you use to manage your lifestyle and situations.
5. Make sure your 'strategies' are actually effective and helpful, not just from the past where they worked then but might need to change a little with tweaking now.
6. Keep assessing your life, your options, opportunities, skills and talents, know your tendencies and preferences so you can fill the gaps, learn new ways and find the balance you need in your life.