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“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. ”  – Stephen Hawking

Most of my life I’ve faced one challenge or another.  Nothing special, plenty of people have faced darker roads. A host of them came from making bad choices in the midst of the challenges I faced which lead me not so elegantly to another bad situation. As a result of each challenges, I learned to adapt quickly and you can too.

Whether you need to adapt because of the decisions you’ve made or because of the decisions someone else made or a situation that nature caused, the first lesson to learn is that change is inevitable.  There is no way to avoid change and the chaos that comes with it.  Don’t try sticking your head in the sand.  It doesn’t work.

You want to quit your job and do something that makes you happy.  But you live in fear.  You’re tired of what you’ve been doing the past decade and want to try something new.  But you stall on taking the steps to make it happen.  A competitor came up with that innovative new idea faster than you.  But you dismiss the concerns of your smartest employees pointing out the signs until it’s too late.

Instead of ignoring what’s happening or running around in a panic-induced purple haze with flying invisible pink monkeys, here are three ways you become more adaptable so such things don’t throw you entirely off your game.

  • Just make the f—king choice already.  There’s only so much you can debate before you can do before making a choice. Yes, give yourself time to enter the witness state, but then choose a path.
  • Don’t waste time asking “Why?”.  Does it really matter?  What happened, happened.  It’s what you do next that shapes the future.
  • Do not underestimate kind, loyal, and punch-you-in-the-face-with-the-truth friends to keep you straight. They’ll keep you from making foolhardy decisions out of snap judgement.

Don’t make the excuse that you can’t handle what’s happening.  All of the life challenges you’ve experienced up until this moment have conditioned you to be able to handle whatever may come with more grace than you think is possible.

Don’t make the mistake of fighting with reality.  The faster you accept whatever change has happened, the more quickly you can adapt.

Lastly, adaptability also requires an understanding of parts at a granular level.  If you understand all the parts, you can rearrange them much faster and achieve a better outcome in the end.

Even though developing adaptability takes much strength, courage and fearlessness, paradoxically, the more adaptable we are, the stronger, more courageous and fearless we will become.  And when we learn to adapt we gain the ability to face anything, a superhero’s strength that will allow us to fight off the real villains when they come calling.


Michelle (Chel) Wolverton is a productivity hacker, social marketing strategist, WordPress dev, and geeky accomplice to several individuals and businesses as the owner of Chel Consulting.  She deals with the yearly insanity of being lead organizer for Podcamp Boston, an unconference that strives to teach those new to podcasting and social media. She blogs over on chelpixie.com at random and often shares her snarkiness on Twitter as @chelpixie.

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