Five Steps to Becoming More Adaptable

Few things in life can be considered 100% certain. This means that learning to be adaptable is crucial.

But resistance is easy. All you have to do is feel… without even thinking about the situation. It’s natural to react. It’s unnatural (read: hard as heck!) to respond appropriately instead. But life is so much more productive and enjoyable if we can roll with the punches.

Here is a simple, five step process to becoming more adaptable in work, relationships, and life in general.

  1. Accept that you are not ALWAYS right.

Let’s be honest. People aren’t short on arrogance. Many of us feel like we are the end all be all problem solvers of the world. What we think is the ultimate answer. But this doesn’t work because you aren’t the only one who feels that way! You have to ditch that thought process. There is a fine line between respecting yourself and thinking you are the best thing since gluten-free sliced bread (<—it’s not that great actually.)

2. Don’t take offense.

It’s okay if your spouse or business partner doesn’t agree with everything you say. That is normal. You are not the same person. It’s the differences that make the best relationships work. When two or more people  can come together with their individual insights, and everyone involved can logically analyze the options, magic happens. Eyes are opened to things they didn’t see before on their own. If you always take offense when someone doesn’t like your idea or suggestion, forget it. You will never grow with an attitude like that.

3. Detach emotionally from the issue at hand.

Everything in life stirs emotions, whether it’s marriage, business, death, or anything else. It is extremely difficult to make logical decisions as such emotional creatures. But it can be done with lots of practice. So much stress is avoided if you step back, assess the situation, and then go from there. Many circumstances require an emotional outpouring- this is healthy. But knowing your boundaries is also important. Feeling is not a bad thing. It’s just when you let feelings negatively influence your life to a great degree that things go wrong. Make an effort to understand how your emotions influence your behavior.

4. Decide that you are part of a team. Always.

We are never alone. We must force that fact into our psyches. We are all on this planet working together, even though we often feel separate from each other. The sooner we accept that we are all teammates, the quicker we can learn to consider others on the same level that we consider ourselves. Once this is understood (and it’s an ongoing process), we can see the world through others’ eyes when we need to. If you are hurting, you know that others are out there hurting just as much or more than you are. You also know that others are happy and full of joy, and that you can get there too. It’s much easier to move on when you don’t feel alone.

5. Show honest respect for the opinions of others.

A desire to be respected runs deep into the core of us. When we feel acknowledged by others, it creates a sense of calm in us (IF we are in the right frame of mind- arrogance isn’t calmness!). It makes us feel worthy and free to show ourselves as we are. Also, when we are respectful of others’ accomplishments, opinions, intelligence, and emotions, we are able to make decisions that aren’t solely based on selfish motives. When a problem or question arises between you and another, you don’t automatically assume your way is the best way. Why? Because you respect the other as an equally valid contributor to the solution. Marriage is no fun when one or both people always shut the other down. Business partnerships crumble all the time due to the lack of respect for the time, dedication, or ideas of one another. We MUST respect each other. If you don’t, you will throw a fit every time something doesn’t go YOUR way. That is the opposite of adaptability.

When you are adaptable, you take time to think about the circumstance; you accept that you are not automatically right, and that your first judgement is likely fueled by emotions; you don’t get ticked off when someone else in your life disagrees with you; you consider their alternative position or thoughts; and you accept that they are equally as important as your own, because we are all in this together.

So, just go with the flow, bro’. Keep it easy breezy. And don’t forget to smile. A lot. :)

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