Eunice De CampiArticles

There can be times when we wish we were not set in our ways and that we could be more adaptable. When we’re faced with a new way of doing things and must abandon our old ways, tried and tested habits it can sometimes seem like an annoyance. For instance, I remember the introduction of digital or non-cash parking machines. A disaster for those who don’t own a mobile phone or are challenged by technology.  That is a tricky one, but in general, it helps if you can be more adaptable, especially in today’s fast-paced world.

There are all sorts of things that require us to be adaptable in life. It may be that you’ve arranged an outing by train just ahead of an announcement that there’s going to be a rail strike on that day. Plans have to be rearranged and costings adjusted, we have to adapt.  Losing a partner is a traumatic event and will certainly be heart-breaking but there is an argument that says adapting to being on your own afterwards can be just as tough a challenge and I have first-hand experience of this.

So how do we ensure that we can meet these crises in our lives, big or small and adapt to them successfully?  To be truly able to adapt you will first have to accept, and then change your thinking and how you react to these situations so that our thought processes and actions are useful in dealing with the situations we find ourselves in.

If you continue to think rigidly, despite changing circumstances, you will make adapting to the new situation even more difficult for yourself because you’re not bringing any flexibility to your approach.  That’s not to say that everything that happens to you needs to be adapted to without question, but if there is no question and you need to adapt, then it’s helpful to be able to do so.

Adaptability is acknowledging and embracing the change. You can be flexible in your behaviour and thinking when your circumstances change. Being able to adapt to situations offers you the advantages:

  • the ability to think and to look at things in a different way
  • the ability to adjust your perspective
  • and the ability to adjust and adapt when environments are constantly changing

So how adaptable are you?  Answer these questions – honestly!

  1. Do you take advice from others well? 
  2. Do you find it easy to adapt to a new situation? 
  3. Do you take criticism well? 
  4. Would people describe you as a ’bad loser? 
  5. Do you always have to be the one to have the last word? 
  6. Does it annoy you when people contradict you? 
  7. When other people propose things are you likely to shut them down? 

Award yourself a point for each ‘no’ to questions one to three, and then a point for a ‘yes’ answer for questions four to seven.  The higher the number you score the more rigid and less adaptable you are.

How you can  become more able to adapt

At some point in our lives, we have to deal with change almost constantly, we need to develop the skill to adapt, to help us survive and thrive. We are all different, and some people find it easier to adapt than others.  But there are ways we can help ourselves.

Work on making yourself more self-confident

When people don’t believe in themselves or their abilities it can be difficult for them to adapt because they think they won’t be able to do it. Building self-confidence will help you have faith in your abilities to make the changes and adaptations that you need.

Look at things differently

Looking at things from a different perspective might help you understand that there is more than one way of tackling a problem or change in circumstances.  Take yourself out of the situation and imagine the problem being tackled by someone else, how would they accomplish it?  This might help you see things differently and point the way forward.

Don’t beat yourself up if at first you fail 

It may be that your first attempts at adapting are not successful.  If at first, you don’t succeed don’t give up, keep going, trying different things and adaptations until you get to the right solution.  Even failure can be a positive learning experience.

Being adaptable is something that we all need to learn because the world that we live in often forces us to think on our feet and change the way we do or think about things. If you can learn to adapt it can save you a lot of heartache and make your life far less stressful in the future.