“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it.” -Bruce Lee
After years of being persuaded about the benefits of schedules, goal trackers and to-do lists, businesses and individuals are now shifting their focus to another key aspect of lifestyle success: adaptability.
The year is 2020, and the times are both delightful and daunting. One could argue that a person’s ability to adapt is more relevant today than it ever was given the world’s fast-shifting landscape.
A key contributing factor to this state of affairs is the global proliferation of internet access, especially in developing countries in Asia and Africa (mid-year 2019 estimates placed them as 1st and 3rd in terms of internet users per geographic area). Others are turbulent socio-political/socio-economic situations around the world (Brexit and the upcoming U.S. elections spring to mind), and rapid technological advancements.
As a result, communication needs, consumer demands, and consumer expectations have peaked. Add onto that the ever-present pressure to maintain a normal social life, adaptability, in particular, that of a holistic nature, is necessary.
Here are a few simple and practical reasons explaining why adaptability is essential, and some tips on how you can get started on holistically implementing it today.
1. Adaptability makes it easier to survive changes at work
Change in the workplace has never been easy, but given today’s conditions, it’s downright excruciating. This is because as fast as a particular set of skills trend as most needed, they can just as quickly become obsolete. And what’s worse, these fluctuations affect people across all age groups, from college graduates to pre-retirees.
Whether it’s dealing with stresses in your place of employment, or dealing with the anxiety of running your own business, making yourself adaptable to the transformations that both people and processes are prone to is essential if you want to survive the long run.
Great examples of how to go about doing this can be gleaned from how long-standing luxury fashion labels such as Gucci, Chanel and Calvin Klein have dealt with the encroachment of social media commerce on their traditionally exclusive world. By implementing compromises to their marketing models and making their labels more available to the masses, they have managed to successfully capitalize on new generation leanings while still maintaining their distinctive flair.
Adaptability in your job doesn’t have to be a dramatic undertaking. Like all other things, start small. Open yourself up to learning, or inversely, open yourself up to being taught. Ask questions until you get the answers that you need to move ahead (after all, it’s not a crime to want to know more).
Being adaptable at work also means avoiding flat-out Nos or Impossibles, and being open to exploring alternative solutions to a problem.
When it comes down to it, a flexible person in business and career is one who seeks phenomenal growth in both skills and profit while always remaining aware of the bigger picture.
2. Adaptability equips you to bounce back after failure
We’ve all been there: a workout session missed or a meditation hour spent elsewhere, and we fall into a mire of self-hatred and guilt. Before we know it, we’ve given up on our goals altogether, and we’re right back where we started at square one. How do you adjust yourself to cope in such a situation?
By giving yourself the breathing room to fail.
This could also happen in our jobs, but for some reason, our failures outside of work in ‘real life’ tend to hit us harder and on more intimate levels.
Giving yourself room to fail means acknowledging that at some point, you’re going to fall off the path. It also means preparing for this eventuality in advance by shoring up your resilience levels; doing this will enable you to readjust quickly when the time comes.
Often, the best way for us to get past our little misses is by getting back on the groove as soon as is absolutely possible. Set aside an hour in the evening for your aborted run, 30 minutes at lunchtime for a quick catch-up with your support group, or 10 minutes at dawn the following morning to update your diary. Before you know it, you’ll be back on the regular schedule like you’d never missed a beat.
3. Adaptability is crucial for financial freedom
Like mental health and wellness goals, financial freedom is a huge talking point at the start of this new decade.
According to a survey conducted in late 2019 by YouGov, 49% of Americans said that they would like to save more this year. No doubt this is a sentiment shared around the world, particularly by working youth just getting started on personal financial management.
Financial freedom is usually associated with attaining a comfort level in which one’s income is more than sufficient to cover expenses. However, it can also apply to reaching a similar level of assurance when the situation is in reverse. This is where adaptability comes in.
For instance, how do you deal when you’ve set a tight budget for your small income only for an unexpected expense, or a forgotten debt, to arise?
Answer: you work with your budget.
Budgets shouldn’t be rigid, unchanging documents. Instead, they should be malleable, able to be modified to fit current needs.
A living budget makes it easier to move funds around as needed whenever an unforeseen bill comes up; keeping track of your cash, cards, expenditures and savings will greatly improve your flexibility on this score.
Of course, the best thing would be to consult a financial expert, but this isn’t always a practical solution. By taking little steps like this, you can avoid getting flustered and frustrated whenever money problems arise.
In conclusion, we should all strive for an adaptable lifestyle starting this year.
That way, we can get rid of rigid work routines that rotate around unrealistic expectations, focus on our mental and emotional well-being, and manage the essential resources of time and money without feeling like we’re losing out in different areas of our lives.
Remember that a good lifestyle is also an adaptable lifestyle, "like water, making its way through cracks.”
Be like water, friends.