'Adapt or die' is an enduring adage applied to everything from biological imperative to business innovation. In this week’s blog post, I’m taking the more aspirational view: Adapt and fly!
One of the definitions of adaptation goes as follows: adaptation is the evolutionary process whereby an organism becomes better able to live in its habitat or habitats.
Animal Planet has a lovely description of adaptation in our furred and feathered friends: "Animals have evolved a number of ways of navigating the Earth, including walking, swimming, climbing and hopping. But the evolution of flight takes maneuvering on this planet to a higher level. Flying not only delivers an animal from one place to another much faster than lumbering along with a pair of legs, it also allows creatures to escape predation, explore new territories and look for resources that might otherwise be out of reach. And although we rely on machines rather than our own anatomical abilities in the air, being able to fly has certainly transformed human society."
Adaptation is crucial to our transformation. As we embrace our becoming --- our own personal evolution --- we are forced to adapt in order for change to take flight. Whether it is adopting new habits, taking a new perspective, or learning a new skill, a new way of being will be required in order to thrive in the new place we hope to find ourselves. This is especially true as we take on new personal territory, expanding the scope of who we are and what we have to offer each other.
There is a very wise saying that goes: you can only attract the future you are capable of living. What in you needs to change, or evolve, in order to live your imagined future?
The Buddhists believe in the temporary nature of all things. This includes our attachment to personality and ego. Who we are today, is gone tomorrow. True transformation is the act of letting go and then adapting to the circumstances that present themselves. Tom Hanks, reflecting on the messages in the movie Forrest Gump had this to say: “Our destiny is only defined by how we deal with the chance elements in our lives.”
If we cultivate openness and non-attachment, the world we live in - our habitat - will constantly surprise us. Like Gump’s famous box of chocolates, “You never know what you’re gonna get”. Being willing to adapt and respond means our wings will sprout, just when we need most to fly.
Would love to hear how adopting the skill of adaptation could be useful to you in achieving what you desire in your life or work. What is your ‘imagined future’?