Survival of the… Most Adaptable: Why Being Adaptable is the Best Way to Thrive

Many people consider themselves to be adaptable. We like to believe we can manifest the best outcome of any circumstance based on our intuition; always thinking on our feet and going with the flow, like self-taught pseudo ninjas, deflecting and barrel-rolling under all of life’s obstacles.

But is that really the case?

Even though we have more than enough access to resources, information and professional help, people don’t often stay the course these days. The truth is, many of us are caught in our paradise of comfort and hesitate to stray. Everyone considers themselves to be flexible, but only a few are true contortionists.

Think about it. We’re only a swipe or click away from avoiding choices we can choose to not make. A lot of people surprisingly don’t accommodate themselves to confronting relationships, complicated business decisions or even travel inconveniences. We are constantly met with challenges we can just simply opt out of, and there’s a sickness in that.

Adaptable people not only lend themselves to such problems, they thrive. But hey, that’s really a great thing, right? Being adaptable simply means you’re trying something different almost all of the time. Pretty ninja-like, if you ask us.

When was a time you found yourself stuck or miserable? Chances are you weren’t being adaptable. Trust us, we get it. It’s not super easy to achieve. But once you do, you’ll find that it’s an incredibly useful tool that you can use in all aspects of life.

Think of the most adaptable people in your life. What qualities do they possess? How do they affect others? More importantly, how do their emotions and actions contribute to their choices? Ask yourself, “Am I welcoming unforeseen situations at all times?”

When it comes to thriving, here’s what we found makes adaptable people the best.

They focus on solutions, not the problem.

Language barriers. Natural disasters. Job loss. Rather than accepting defeat, adaptable individuals often change the game. And that means being open to change itself. So, if plan A doesn’t work, they try plan B without hesitation. Often, they had plan B in their back pocket all along. They work with what they have, instead of dwelling on what they simply wish they had.

They balance realism and optimism.

Adaptable people refuse to buy in to the bipartisan idea of the glass being half full or half empty. They realise that negative thoughts have no place in progress. Instead, they weight their desires with realistic expectations, and they charge with full force toward the best outcome.

They ask lots of questions.

Curiosity is what landed us on the moon, helped invent the television and brought the foodie out of all of us thanks to cronuts. Even in academia, having a curious mind proves to be highly relevant in both social and work environments. A study conducted by the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University found that workplaces benefited from curiosity for solving problems and stimulating adult learning. Bottom line: adaptable people adapt well because they never stop learning.

They tend to be less competitive.

That is because they know exactly what they want. While they are helpful to others, they don’t obsess over scarcity mentality. Don’t get us wrong, competition is not a bad thing. The difference is that adaptive people know themselves, and what others do becomes a bit irrelevant to the adaptable. They always look ahead.

The more you see the world around you, the more you will find your place in it. By working on your intuition and accepting signals from your environment, you can claim adaptability for yourself.

What characteristics do you see in adaptable people? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Sarah Arrazola

Sarah Arrazola is a communications professional in Miami, Fla. Her passions focus on Latin American issues, fine art and the digital age. In her spare time she enjoys aerial silks and traveling. As a young professional with experience in the PR industry, she's excited to share her thoughts with you on Your Coffee Break. Follow her on Twitter @sarah_arrazola