When it comes to living a happier life, adaptability is a key ingredient. I see its value all the time – whether it’s with my kids, my coaching clients, or through my own experiences. The messages are all around us: “expand,” “go with the flow,” “detach from outcomes,” “let go of resistance” – all just slightly more esoteric ways of asking us to be more adaptable and accepting of our current situations.
Accepting ‘What Is’
So much of our ability to adapt depends on accepting where we are in our lives. If we can accept the reality of our situation, warts and all, rather than fighting against it, it frees us up to move forward with creative solutions.
To this end, I love reading the bedtime story, You Get What You Get by Julie Gassman, with my kids. One of the lines in the story, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit,” has become a popular family mantra. It’s a great reminder to my children about the importance of accepting ‘what is’ and adapting to the way things are when life takes an unexpected or unwanted turn. We can all take a page from this children’s storybook.
A helpful tip on the road to accepting ‘what is’ is to let go of the dreaded ‘shoulds’. Saying things to yourself like “I should be farther along in my career by now,” “I should have more money in the bank,” or “I shouldn’t be in debt,” just end up keeping you stuck, not to mention, down in the dumps! If the shoulds are bogging you down – well it’s time to kick ‘em to the curb!
Bend With the Wind
When it comes down to it, it’s all about how we deal with change which, there’s no doubt, can be challenging. I like to think of adaptability and accepting change as a kind of dance. We can fight the dance of change – which can cause us to trip and fall – or we can glide in one direction and then twirl in another as the winds of change blow. As the classic Tanzanian proverb says, “The wind does not break the tree that bends.” The more we go with the flow, and the more gracefully we respond to the variable winds as they blow through our lives, the more adaptable we can be – which ultimately helps us maintain a healthier body, mind and spirit.
When faced with an unexpected change in the moment, I’ve been using “the 17-second” method with great success. Studies have found that it takes 17 seconds to shift our emotion from negative to positive. The next time you’re faced with something that throws you off course, try hitting the pause button for 17 seconds. My coaching clients, and even my kids, can attest to the fact that it does wonders to bring them back to center.
Being adaptable and accepting doesn’t mean we have to stay in a bad situation. What it does mean is that we’re no longer in denial about where we stand in the moment, or when it comes to life’s bigger picture. That acknowledgment frees us up to set new intentions, follow our guts, and find the courage to move forward and align with our true paths. The more adaptable we are, the more in sync with life we can be!
...on all things life, wellness, love, transformation and spirituality...
PLUS! Get your FREE Guide: 12 Mindfulness Practices to a Peaceful Mind