If you’re like me, things don’t always proceed as I planned. Sometimes, my plans turn out better. Sometimes, worse. If I want to make them better in the moment, I need to be more adaptable. That means I need to practice my adaptability.
Here’s an example. I have many immutable truths in my life. (You might call these rules.) One of these “truths” is that I must finish everything I read.
I’ve changed that truth to: “I can start to read a book. I don’t need to finish it. If it’s fiction, put it in the “Don’t buy more from author” collection. If it’s non-fiction, I can skim it and search for the phrases I expect to see. I can note those and be done with the book.”
That small change in my rule allows me to adapt my reading. I can read more books because I’m not slogging through a book I don’t like. I don’t have to finish what I started. I declare victory.
I build adaptability in these ways:
- What piques my curiosity? (This might be as simple as asking why I have this rule.)
- What experiment can I consider? Can I consider several alternative experiments?
- Do I have constraints on this system? Did I place those constraints there?
- What’s part of this system? I read for work and pleasure. Because I’m learning to write fiction, some of the fiction reading is part of my homework to learn how to become a better fiction writer. The non-fiction is often because I’m curious or as reference material for a book.
- Am I whining? If so, that situation is a possibility for met to practice my adaptability.
Notice the questions about constraints. I often discover I have created constraints (sometimes with rules, sometimes with processes) that prevent me from considering other options.
Then, I get to decide what experiment to consider next, or what action to select.
I like to think about alternatives. I also like to act. That’s why I use the Rule of Three to make sure I create enough options to consider.
You might build your adaptability in other ways. For me, adaptability is about asking this question:
Even though I’ve always done it this way, is it worth considering another option?
You might have a different question that helps you.
That is the question this week: How do you build your adaptability?
- What New Information Surprised You?
- What’s the Worst Thing You Could Do?