7 Signs You Can Adapt Easily
It's not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change
“The only constant in life is change”
What would you choose if you could get yourself a superpower?
I hope you chose adaptability.
If you did, you are now equipped with the most powerful tool in the world. You have the foundation to build the life you want, on a personal, emotional and professional level.
The world changes every day, every minute. And so do our lives. Sometimes we force change but, most times, it simply happens. We can not control what happens to us. But we can control how we react to it. And the way we react is based on our ability to deal with change, on our adaptability.
Below are seven signs that show you can adapt easily. If you can see yourself in them, you have a superpower. If you do not, now is the time to start working on it.
We all heard the phrase “Winners never quit, and quitters never win”. But is it true?
Not everything in life is worth pursuing. There are bad ideas, bad choices, bad paths. If they exist, you might as well be tangled up in some of them. If you are, indeed, in the wrong path, should you continue just because you learned that quitting is wrong?
This is not to say you should jump out of a situation when you face the first hardship. No, right there you should persist, analyze the context, and assess the possible outcomes. But if you realize you took a wrong turn in life, you should amend your mistake.
People who adapt easily are not afraid to give up. Even when they put hours, months, years of work into something. Even when they are emotionally invested. Even when quitting turns them into a “failure”.
You are not a loser because you quit. In fact, when you quit, you stop losing your time and energy. That sounds like a winner’s attitude to me.
You Are Able to Unlearn
In a world so focused on learning, we often forget that unlearning is equally important.
Unlearning: to make an effort to forget your usual way of doing something so that you can learn a new and sometimes better way. (Cambridge Dictionary)
We are conditioned to believe certain things from a very young age. We follow codes of conduct, we build habits. We fill our minds with information daily. Often, we build knowledge on top of the knowledge we already have, taking us on a consistent path, ignoring the alternatives.
But people who adapt easily are able to take a step back and deconstruct their actions and beliefs. By doing so, they realize the fallacies they had been following and they create space to develop new ideologies and ways of acting. They unlearn just so they can learn better.
You Are Not Afraid to Have Real Arguments
By definition, arguments oppose two or more people with different views on a certain subject.
You can have a “deaf” argument, when you force your opinion on other people, without really listening. Or you can have a real one, and truly listen to what the other person is saying. Needless to say, the second type is more productive. But it is also more dangerous — you might come to the conclusion that you were wrong, and this new perspective makes more sense. And if it does, you will need to adjust your beliefs.
People who adapt easily are not afraid of this. In fact, they thrive on it and they actively engage in this kind of conversation because it makes them grow intellectually and emotionally.
You Don’t Complain
Humans are creatures of habit. We like to keep the status quo. As Samuelson & Zeckhauser pointed out in their 1988 study, “status quo bias is evident when people prefer things to stay the same by doing nothing or by sticking with a decision made previously.”
But the world changes. And, often, our initial reaction to change is to complain. We do it out of fear for the unknown. We don’t want to adapt. We don’t know how to do it.
However, people who adapt easily don’t complain. They know it doesn’t fix anything nor does it lead anywhere positive. But, most importantly, they don’t complain because they recognize change as something good.
“The joy of life consists in the exercise of one’s energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.”
— Aleister Crowley
You Are Open
“What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size”
— Carl Jung
Closed up people react negatively to change and struggle to adapt to new situations. They are set in their manners, and not open to adapt. They focus on keeping things the way they are and, with that, they spend their time and energy fighting something that is out of their control.
But people who have a more open attitude in life take things more easily, in a more relaxed way, and appreciate life as they go along. They don’t have set rules for how life should be. They go with the flow. And the flow ends up being better just because they are willing to ride it.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
— Albert Einstein
By Einstein's definition, many people in the world would be classified as “insane”. As stated above, we are creatures of habit. We repeat the same actions over and over again, we fall into comfort places, and we lose our curiosity, steering through life without too much critical thinking.
But people who adapt easily have a different approach to the world around them. They keep curiosity alive, they actively seek new ways of doing things, they adjust their actions to meet the needs of a particular situation.
They are able to adapt easily because they don’t wait for situations to change, for them to change their behavior. They anticipate the change because they constantly analyze the world through critical lenses. And because they adapt so often, they develop their adaptability muscles. For them, adapting and living are the same.
You Are an Optimist
Bridget Grenville-Cleave, author of “Achieving Lasting Happiness” states that “optimism is linked to more effective coping — optimistic people tend to deal with problems rather than avoid them and use more acceptance, humor, and positive reframing”.
Optimists feel more in control of their lives and expect things to go well by default. Therefore, they adapt more easily, as they are confident the changes they go through will bring them something good.
The power of optimism is so strong that many studies show that optimists live longer, have healthier immune systems, and recover more easily from serious diseases. Maybe because…
“Those who believe they can and those who believe they can’t are both usually right”
Develop Your Superpower
Like we said, life changes every day. While this might be scary if you can’t adapt easily, it is also the perfect opportunity to practice your adaptability muscle.
Take the points above and try to apply them to your life. You will fail at first, but you will also learn, and through repetition, your brain will be rewired to react in a new way.
You don’t need to wait for a major event to happen to put this into practice. Try some new food, start a conversation with that weird neighbor, finally listen to the friend who has been trying to talk you into going zero-waste, and the next time you miss the train replace your complaint with a smile.
Greatness is just good repeated. A superpower is a strong will power, repeated. Go be a superhero.