“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
Charles Darwin’s thoughts in his magnum opus “On the Origin of the Species” regarding the importance of adaptability still ring true today, both in the animal world, and in the world of business.
Modern experts, such as Shirley Tan, in her article “How Well Do You Handle Change? The Benefits of Being Adaptable”, highlights five key benefits of being adaptable:
- You’ll be more valuable to your employer.
- You’ll be a better leader.
- You’ll be happier and more satisfied with life.
- You’ll be better able to handle career transitions.
- You’ll bounce back more quickly from adversity.
While each of this quintet of benefits is highly advantageous, it is the first benefit of adaptability that I want to focus on, that of being more valuable to your employer, which are your clients. Tan refers to this adaptability as the “new competitive advantage”. She adds that being adaptable means being open to new ideas and not simply doing or thinking things simply because that was the previous way of doing things.
This adaptability provides us with numerous chances for continued AND greater future success, while the opposite certainly dooms us in the long-term. Too many of us know the story of Blockbuster’s demise, or that of the old school trainer whose mantra of “No pain, no gain” no longer resonates. We also know the story of Netflix and how their adaptability has led to their tremendous success.
Adopting the mindset of constant evolution/adaptation in our daily lives will help us continue to grow as professionals and create a myriad future employment opportunities. However, and arguably more importantly, it will allow us to better serve our current employers, a.k.a. our clients. Additionally, we will be better equipped to serve future clients as our knowledge and skill levels exponentially increase. There is no longer any question of whether we should adapt, but how do we put ourselves in a better position to do so.
The answer to this question, like many, is to expand our knowledge base. However, this expansion does not happen by chance, but more along the lines of Deliberate Practice, popularized by Anders Ericsson. Some helpful keys are the following:
- Schedule time daily for learning and improvement. Don’t simply leave it on a never to be completed to do list. Actually put time in your schedule to do so. Find times that work for you and actually schedule it on a recurring basis. See below for an example.
- Have reputable go to sources of information. This will streamline the process of your information gathering. When it comes to online fitness and nutrition information, www.ptonthenet.com and www.precisionnutrition.com are tremendous sources of varied information. I also recommend these websites: www.mayooshin.com and www.psychologytoday.com to further round your skills and knowledge. One recently posted article was “How to Commit to an Exercise Routine”, which has tremendously beneficial information that we can share with our clients.
- Keep meticulous records of what you are reading. This will help you better ensure that you are reading the proper material to improve your knowledge, and subsequent adaptability. As entertaining as ESPN’s coverage of Antonio Brown, it won’t move the needle in terms of expanding your skill set and growing your business.
Do these three things every day, and watch your skill set and knowledge base grow. You’ll be the Milo of Croton, in your offices and gyms.
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