Every invention or tool ever created by mankind to attain our current stage of development is possible due to one single outlying factor – Evolution.

According to Biology, humans evolved at a rapid rate largely due to their overwhelming need to adapt and survive while dominating other species.

Without adaptation, we’d still be living in caves with our trusty wooden clubs to hammer down prey.

Today, adaptability continues to be a powerful driving force in creating inspiring leaders and successful organizations.

At Cleverism, we’d like to demonstrate the importance of acquiring this valuable skillset – both personal and professional

WHY IS ADAPTABILITY SO IMPORTANT TO US?

Life is a series of events that happen unexpectedly around us. Unlike a feature film, we aren’t informed of the circumstances that we end up in and each experience affects us either – positively or negatively.

An adaptable mindset allows us to tackle uncertain life events and embrace the change that comes with it.

When we’re adaptable, we create a barrier of resilience to control our emotions in an optimistic manner.

For example – Imagine you’re out for a walk at night around your neighborhood. As you walk a few paces, the streetlights begin to flicker and completely blacken out, leaving you in pitch darkness.

This situation can be spine-chilling and leave you open to physical assault or a fatal accident from an incoming vehicle. With the right presence of mind, you can adapt to save yourself with the following options –

  • Use your smartphone to call and alert a nearby neighbor or family member to bring a flashlight
  • Using your smartphone’s inbuilt flashlight feature, navigate yourself out of the darkness
  • If you’re near the highway, grab the attention of an oncoming car by waving your hands or calling out to them in hopes of receiving a lift.

In this situation, you realize that your survival depended on navigating out of the darkness. Your clear-headedness to deal with the situation without panic is considered adaptability.

Adaptability lets you tackle challenges that seem impossible at first. Finding a solution to work things out in an unprepared scenario is a serious life skill that every human must arm themselves with.

Adaptability can be the difference between life and death.

3 FAMOUS PERSONALITIES THAT DEMONSTRATE THE POWER OF ADAPTABILITY

Success is synonymous with adaptation. It’s no wonder many celebrities are so flexible with their schedules and are often found at various venues throughout the globe at any given time.

Successful people understand that to enjoy a life of fulfillment they must sacrifice their static lifestyle to shift themselves to a more dynamic approach.

Here are 3 such prosperous individuals that have completely changed their careers and mindsets to enjoy a rewarding life.

1. Ken Jeong (Actor, Physician, Comedian)

Ken Jeong is a well-known name in the movie business, famed for ‘The Hangover’ franchise. But before he was known as the funny Asian man in modern sitcoms and movies, Ken Jeong was a practicing physician.

That’s right – who’d ever think that your family doctor could become one of the leading men in prime-time comedy.

Ken Jeong never had any ambitions for acting. According to his own words, he states – “I never performed theater in high school. I never wanted to be an actor.”

What changed?

Ken Jeong performed comedy skits to his colleagues over at Ochsner Medical Center as a hobby. With the positive response, Ken Jeong decided to evolve his craft and performed standup comedy at popular clubs. He discovered he had a natural ability to make people laugh and decided to try his gig in Hollywood.

The rest is history.

The transformation from a career in medicine to that of an award-winning comedian was possible due to Ken Jeong’s effortless adaptability.

2. Arnold Schwarzenegger (Actor, Politician, Bodybuilder, Businessman)

Undoubtedly, the most famous action hero for over 3 decades. Arnold Schwarzenegger is arguably the world’s most adaptable celebrity.

From a young age, Arnold had to deal with a tough life growing up in a war-stricken environment in Austria, during the 2nd world war.

Arnold’s parents wanted him to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a police officer. But he had other long-term plans and decided to become a bodybuilder by sneaking out of the military camp that he was enlisted in.

He’d travel long distances to participate in bodybuilding events and make it back without any of his superior officers finding out about his tryst for fitness.

He eventually went on to become Mr. Olympia and dominated the international bodybuilding podium 7 more times.

But Arnold wasn’t done yet. He decided to give acting a shot. During his initial auditions, many directors felt his last name was long and tough to pronounce. His accent was snubbed for being heavy and didn’t fit the ‘Hollywood’s leading man’ image.

However, Arnold continued to audition until he got his big break as the famous ‘T-850’ – The futuristic cyborg in the ‘Terminator’ franchise. The heavy Austrian accent complimented his voice acting so much that he had become an overnight superstar.

Arnold adapted and made his weaknesses his strengths and began an unforgettable journey to stardom. His long name became an instant hit in the households and his accent was emulated by many young actors for years to come.

Arnold made his foray into politics and became the governor of California in 2003.

Today, at the age of 72, he continues to juggle between his many roles and credits ‘Adaptability’ as his sole reason for success in various professions.

3. Jared Leto (Actor, Musician, Angel Investor, Fashion Model)

Jared Leto is a leading man in Hollywood that is known for his eccentric and quirky choices in Hollywood unlike traditional roles like his contemporaries.

Because of his extremely versatile nature in acting and his ability to adapt to each role, he won himself an Oscar for the movie ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ for depicting transgender suffering from HIV.

Apart from his adaptability in his acting roles, Jared invests his time as a musician. He’s the frontman and founder of the band – ‘Thirty Seconds to Mars’ along with his brother Shannon Leto. The band has won numerous music awards from MTV and other international music circuits.

Jared Leto is known for his exquisite fashion sense and carved himself a niche as a popular fashion model walking the ramps for leading brands like Gucci.

More recently, Jared Leto has utilized his inner creativity and entered the business world. Leto has invested in several startups such as Zenefits, The Hive, VyRT, and others.

At the age of 42, where most people are still struggling to cope with a single career option, Jared Leto seems to conquer every profession that he infiltrates.

His mantra to success in his own words is “I hate wasting time and I’m obsessed with efficiency”. Leto believes in creativity and continuous change as an actor to avoid being typecast into the same role.

BENEFITS OF ADAPTABILITY IN THE WORKPLACE

When we refuse to embrace adaptability, we remain in the “Caterpillar” stage for the rest of our lives. We are slow, open to being squished by a giant boot, and we remain in the one shade of black forever.

The world has metamorphosized and to survive we need to build our own cocoons and let our colorful wings fly us to new heights that were previously unattainable.

Survival in the workplace uses the same philosophy – Adaptability.

Gone are days where work environments remained constant for decades. With the dawn of the information age, a new aspect called ‘Workplace Culture’ emerges.

Workplace culture requires employees to work together to come to a solution or brainstorm new ideas with inner creativity to evoke the personality that your company will be known for.

With workplace culture, adapting to change is no longer optional but a necessity.

Job interviewers highlight the importance of flexibility over-specialization when recruiting. Organizations are open to hiring individuals that are good at several roles over someone who’s efficient in just one area.

Let’s breakdown the various adaptable factors that top companies look for in their candidates in the current professional world.

1. Handling Workload Pressure

Are you able to perform overtime duties?

Can you stay back late to finish your ongoing project?

Are you prepared to forgo your weekend plans to ensure the company has a smooth launch?

If your answer is No to the above questions, you’ll have a difficult time adjusting to the modern requirements of elite corporations.

The ability to handle work pressure is a critical skill for organizations when recruiting. If you’re someone who’ll crash under pressure, consider yourself being laid off in the next downsizing period.

However, if you pull together your disciplinary skills and make it past the storm, you’re rewarded with a host of benefits. Some of which are.

  • Being among the established batch of employees with a high payroll
  • Enjoying a comfortable work-life balance
  • Opportunities for grand promotions
  • Gateway to high-quality projects
  • Access to high profile clientele

2. Acceptance to Trends

Let’s face it, the world around us is changing with every passing minute.

From the time you purchase your latest smartphone, the next upgrade to your device has already rolled out.

This creates an increasingly fast-paced professional world with ever-increasing trends.

If you or your organization have a difficult time accepting the new direction to evolve your products, you’ll be left behind.

Customers are smarter and more decisive than before. Unless you’re on top of the food chain with the latest quality of life changes, expect to have a rat race at the bottom.

There’s a reason successful companies like Apple and Microsoft continue to dominate their market for decades.

Take Apple for example – Every latest version of the iPhone comes with a new feature such as – bezel-less screen, wireless ear pods, slimmer devices, non-heating pads, high-quality camera, etc.

And Microsoft provided ‘Windows 10’ –  their latest operating system for free during launch. In the past, an operating system would cost a bomb, today, with rising trends and the need for adaptability, companies such as Microsoft have provided their product for free.

Organizations aren’t afraid to experiment and risk more today than they did in the past.

As an employee, it’s necessary to leave yourself open to new trends and take in the change without emotions altering your decision. New age employees are trained to accept change by the hour and are quick to respond to these challenges.

The benefits for such employees include –

  • Ability to quickly solve problems due to open-mindedness
  • An adaptive mind keeps you alert with the rapid changes to your company
  • Highly trained and responsive behavior
  • Extremely sought after by elite organizations
  • Changing trends equals expansive knowledge in the long-term

3. Prioritize Important Events

When you’re adaptable, you’re naturally more decisive when it comes to the critical aspects of your professional life. Adaptive people are always looking to solve active problems instead of delving around the mistakes of the past.

Adaptive people always take time to identify a “worst-case scenario” to any task they perform to avoid troubleshooting.

Identifying with your priorities is key to a successful career.

Let’s take a sample worksheet to demonstrate how to prioritize your daily events in a responsible and adaptive manner.

The following worksheet lists 9 daily tasks that need to be completed in the order of high-to-low priority. The tasks are divided into 3 sections – Critical, Important, and Useful.

Critical

  1. Ensure board members and senior faculty are notified of the presentation via email (9 a.m.)
  2. Prepare video presentation for Japanese business delegates (11 a.m.)
  3. Send out the advertising campaign idea to your marketing team (4 p.m.)

Critical events must come with a time frame and should always be your main priority.

Important

  1. Escalate all outstanding customer complaints to senior management
  2. Create a checklist on Excel of all milestones achieved in this month (requested by John Mason, Senior Manager)
  3. Schedule meetings via phone calls towards recent business prospects (Heimdall Enterprises, Skyridge Inc.)

Important tasks have no time frame but are crucial. These tasks should strictly be completed only after the Critical section is taken care of.

Useful

  1. Negotiate salary raise with your boss or manager
  2. Discuss recent survey feedback with your colleagues and come up with a solution to solve ongoing customer crisis
  3. Notify management to refill ink cartridges for printer #4

Useful tasks are the last stage of the priority list. These tasks should be given the least attention. Complete these at your convenience but before your workday ends.

Since your daily tasks change every day, your ability allows you to prioritize at a high rate without compromising any loss of time. An efficient employee is always noticed and rewarded.

4. Efficient Leadership

Even if you’re an employee today. Being adaptable, allows you to become a better leader should you decide to wear the mantle.

A demanding quality for leadership is being open-minded. And one can only be open-minded if they are ready to tackle change and accept opinions that aren’t favorable to their own. In short, adaptiveness.

An adaptive leader sets the example for their coworkers and guides them as a role model.

According to an article by ToolsHero, adaptive leadership is broken down into 4 categories.

  • Leading with Empathy
    Leaders share knowledge and ideas in a group and in turn the group shares their own resources with the team. This allows everyone to communicate with empathy. The leaders reward their employees with incentives and the employees provide their best work in return to the organization.
  • Win-win situations

Revenue growth is the last thing on an adaptive leader’s mindset. This type of leader is more focused on creating a winning environment for everyone – the stakeholders, clients, employees, and their own.

  • New Approaches
    As we’ve discussed throughout this article, new directions are something an adaptive leader possesses. The leader infuses their team with a range of opportunities and isn’t afraid of changing their traditional procedures to match.
  • Experimentation
    It’s no surprise that with adaptation, comes unfamiliar turf. An adaptive leader must navigate their way through the swamp of uncertainty to achieve success. Most times an experimental strategy ends with disappointment but when the strategy proves to be a winner, the leader enjoys unparalleled success.

Natalie Fratto demonstrates how to measure and improve your inner adaptability.

HOW ADAPTABLE ARE YOU? TAKE THIS QUIZ TO FIND OUT

If there was a way to measure your adaptive rating, you’re probably left wondering – Just how adaptable you are compared to your coworkers?

Fret not, we’ve prepared a quiz that gives you a basic understanding of how flexible you are.

Answer the following questions to the best of your knowledge and truthfully to receive an accurate analysis at the end.

1. ‘People are evil, and I hate socializing’.

How true is this statement?

  1. Very True
  2. Sometimes but not always
  3. False. I think people are important to talk to

2. Your company has recently rolled out a new training program for its employees.

Your thoughts?

  1. What a pain in the….
  2. I guess at some point someone had to do something
  3. Finally! Just when I was getting bored with coming to work

3. ‘I am not afraid to jump ship if my company decides to change its work culture’.

Does this statement ring a bell to your beliefs?

  1. Nah. I don’t care about work culture; I just hate the whole process of shifting to a new job.
  2. It depends on the new work culture. If I like it, I’ll stay or it’s the highway.
  3. Work culture defines the company’s personality. Changing it complicates everything and I won’t stand for such companies.

4. A recruit just joined your workplace. He comes to you with the following statement. ‘Hello, my name is Carl, I’m new in sales. Can you take the time to show me the basics?’.

Your response to this would be?

  1. “Hey Carl. No hard feelings but I am not the right guy to help you out. Claire Sasha in Networking is more than happy to show you around.”
  2. “Nice to meet you, Carl. I am currently under a lot of work pressure to help. Maybe next week?”
  3. “Glad to have you here, Carl. It’s my pleasure to show you the ropes. Let’s start with the office tour first.”

5. ‘On your way to work, you discover that your daily route is diverted due to construction.’

How do you express your feelings?

  1. Hurl the juiciest expletives at the construction workers and give them a piece of your mind. After all, they are the reason you are late to work!
  2. “What if I lose my way and end up being kidnapped by a hostile tribe by taking a new unfamiliar route?”
  3. “Wow! The new route is so much better than the old one. I’m glad I got a chance to try it with the road being closed and all.”

That wraps up the questionnaire. Wasn’t so bad now, was it?

Now let’s see how you fared.

Mostly A’s. – Life isn’t appealing to you, not with the constant changes happening around you. You’re not open to adaptability and while being old-fashioned has its nostalgic joys, you’ll have a tough time adjusting to modern work ethics and their requirements. Adaptability is strictly recommended.

Mostly B’s. – You do your best to survive. You’re open to the concept of adaptability but don’t fully embrace it either. You enjoy the same routine while other times, the decade-old wall paint in your workplace begins to annoy you.

Mostly C’s. – If you were a color, you’d be the rainbow. You are extremely adaptable and take in every change with a smile on your face. You don’t just accept change, you desire it. You’re a welcome breath of fresh air for every company that is lucky to have you. Great job!

CONCLUSION

An anxious hunter always misses his mark due to the presence of doubt, while an adaptable hunter takes home the prized hunt of the day.

Which one would you prefer to be today?

Adaptability is the vaccination against a repetitive lifestyle. And change is here to stay.

Was there a challenging decision that you took that changed your life for the better? Do share it with us in the comments below.

The Benefits of Being Adaptable

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