Navigating times of change to thrive and not simply survive.

Many believe Darwin’s theory to state that it is the strongest and the fittest that survive their changing environment, however, Darwin taught that it was the species that was the most adaptable that would survive times of change and transformation. It’s the quality of adaptability, and not only strength, that enables us to navigate successfully and survive times of change.

We all go through times of change and especially now in 2017, we are experiencing change like never before in the history of mankind. But it is not just global and political change we are experiencing. So many people I talk to are experiencing times of personal change. With the rapid expansion of airline travel there are opportunities to move to different countries, work in different occupations and many are taking these opportunities. But with the excitement and privilege of doing so, comes great personal growth… and we all know what that means. Personal growth does not come without adversity.

This quality of “adaptability” is what enables us to thrive, and not simply survive, our new environments, and the speed with which we can adapt and evolve within these new and ever-changing environments, is the speed with which we will grow and develop and flourish within them.

Within each new environment there is always much to learn. We never stop learning no matter what age, or stage of life we are at. And we can learn by trial and error, or we can learn from others. Learning by trial takes time and energy and can be costly, and learning by error can often be fatal. The quickest route to success is learning from others. During times of change it is vital to have a handful of mentors. Those who have gone before us; those that we admire and have the kind of successes we want in our lives. There is a great saying: Things go faster when you study with a master. If we train with a great chef, we will make a great cake. However, remember… there is no one person that will give us all the answers, so have the ability to know who to listen to. Find the right people, at the right time, for the right outcome. Abraham Lincoln said, “I learned from everyone I met, and sometimes I learned what not to do.”

During the learning process we all make what we often call mistakes and our society has taught us to believe that these are “failures.” However, mistakes are not failures. This is how we were created to learn life’s lessons. A better way to view life is to see a ‘mistake’ as an experiment that didn’t work out so well. As Tai Lopez says, “The difference between a mistake and an experiment is that a mistake is an experiment we ran for too long.” Simply know when to stop the experiment. Have realistic time frames. A fence that you build fast, falls down fast. Allow yourself time to test your experiments and see which ones work and which ones don’t. And when you realise something is not working, simply adapt… and try something new.

To quote the words of The Gambler sung by Kenny Rogers, we’ve got to “know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” It takes courage to know when you need to hold onto something and give it more time to develop, especially when it comes to your own personal battles. It takes courage to know what to lay something down perhaps for another time, and it takes courage to walk away from something and let it go.

Adapting to our new and changing environments is not always easy. But the Armish have a saying: When you have something hard to do, just jump right into it and the next thing you know it’s almost done.

Adapting requires skill and ability, especially in the area of communication. It is not always easy to communicate in order to be understood. To be able to say the right thing, at the right time. To be angry is easy. But to be angry at the right person, at the right time, with the right intensity, is hard. And that is why it is good to have a group of friends around you. The reality is, we were never created to live alone. This is even seen in nature. In a forest, if one tree is struggling, those around it will release what it needs and nourish that struggling tree through the root system. It is vital that we always have a group of people around us who are able to nourish us through difficult times.

And finally, when going through times of change and transformation, realise that nothing in life is final. No trial, no difficulty, no problem is ever “the end.” When we give ourselves time to adapt we come to realise that through each trial we have grown to become a different person. We have grown and developed in some area of our character. And if we are patient, life will always give us the opportunity to make another choice. A different choice. As we get older, we realize the sun doesn’t ever go down. It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round. And the spinning never stops, but we eventually learn to adapt to its rhythm and find our balance within our ever changing environments.

We understand that the purpose of change is to help us grow and develop and flourish. Change is a basic law of nature. When a seed is planted, it changes and transforms to become something that is strong enough to push up through the dirt and matures into all that it was created to be. Within that tiny seed is all the potential for it to become something great, yet it first has to be planted and go through a process of change and transformation, in order for that potential to be released.

Our lives are like seeds. We will all go through difficult times; times when we feel like we are surrounded by dirt and the effort to escape seems almost unbearable. These times of change and transformation in our lives are designed so that our true potential can be released and unless we recognise this process as a powerful opportunity for us to grow and mature and adapt to become all that we were created to be, we will allow our circumstances to control us and cause us to become bitter, discouraged and depressed.

Adaptability. That is how we will survive. This requires change in our thinking and in our actions. When we understand what is happening to us during times of transformation, then we can understand how to adapt to them. Thinking positive thoughts about our lives and our futures. Knowing that we are all in the process of ”becoming” and we will survive and thrive our changing circumstances.

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