In any moment, life can change before your eyes. Your car may break down, you might lose your notes to an upcoming presentation, or you could lose one of your best customers. No matter the changes that you experience, developing adaptability will help you get through them. 

To achieve growth and progress in any part of life, you must develop your ability to adapt. If you can’t change with the times, you’ll be left behind. Increasing your adaptability allows you to flex and bend, without breaking under the pressure of change. Since change can come in many forms, it’s best to ensure that you’re flexible in any area that requires speedy shifts in actions and responses.

Flexibility Equals Adaptability

According to this article, there are three different types of flexibility that aid in your capacity to change.

  • Cognitive/mental flexibility (use of different thinking strategies) 
  • Emotional flexibility (control of your emotions and response to other people’s) 
  • Personality/mindset flexibility (remaining optimistic, realistic, and open) 

Combined, these three types of flexibility equal the well-rounded ability to adapt. Improving your flexibility in these areas will allow you to become more resilient and more open to the opportunities of change.

Stretching Your Mind Muscles

A person stretches a rubber band by pulling it backward, against the tension of their forefinger.

There are a number of awesome ways to increase your cognitive flexibility but one of the best ways is to practice problem solving. Everyone solves problems in different ways, but it almost always starts with identifying the problem. Once the issue has been identified, contemplate all the different possible fixes. Then, shrink your focus to the best solution and begin putting it into action.

In addition to problem solving, another great stretch for your mental malleability is channeling new perspectives into your life. Step out of your own point of view and allow yourself to think, “How might someone else view this situation,” or “how would someone else respond?” If you find that you struggle to look at things from another perspective, it may be time to step out of your comfort zone. Consider making connections with people who have different views than you. Do you live in a place where it’s not easy to meet new people all the time? Reading is also known to expand your perspective!

Your brain’s elasticity can also benefit from changing your regular thought processes. Too often we focus on asking or wondering “where” and “when” and forget to ask “how” and “why.” Asking questions about the bigger picture allows you to think on a broader scale.

Interacting With Emotions

Someone cuts a piece of paper in half, using scissors. The paper has a list of words that include “jealousy,” “hatred,” “indifference,” and “envy.”

If everyone reacted solely based on their emotions and feelings, the world would be a much more chaotic place. Thankfully, we have control of our emotions and our response to other people’s emotions. Even though it can be challenging to exercise that control, there are strategies to help you increase your aptitude to regulate your reactions.

The following methods will help you practice controlling your emotions:

  • Analyze the effects of your emotions (on you, the people around you, and the things you do). 
  • Accept the way you feel, even if you don’t want to feel that way. 
  • Keep track of your emotions, what causes them, and how strongly you’re feeling those feelings. 
  • Find a place to calm down, reflect, and decide your next actions. 

For more methods that will help you gain control of your feelings, check out this article

Managing Your Mentality

A fluffy white cloud looms over the silhouette of a tree line, with sun rays bursting out from behind it.

Finally, to boost your adaptability, you must maintain a positive mindset. To create a mentality that is both hopeful, logical, and receptive, follow these steps

  • Start looking for the bright side of every situation. Even if it doesn’t outshine the dark side, the glimpse of hope is what matters. 
  • Stop thinking about probabilities and imagine possibilities instead. 
  • Be open to learning new things, including things that you thought you already knew. 
  • Choose the path that leads to growth, even though it might be harder. For example, instead of scrolling on your phone, pick up a book and start reading more.

These four tips will help you become more optimistic and more likely to set your ego aside and listen to the people around you. When you make choices like the ones above, you open yourself up to more meaningful connections and effective communication.

Seeking Adaptability

It’s easy to find routines in life that work for you and don’t go against your flow. However, don’t make a routine out of everything, otherwise you won’t continue growing. Try challenging yourself regularly to step out of your comfort zone, talk to new people, and find joy in mundane processes. Regularly spend time thinking outwardly and inwardly about your place in the world. You can make a profound difference in the world, especially if you’re constantly working on your adaptability. Every day the world is changing, so don’t be afraid to try and keep up!

Oh wait … another crucial aspect of becoming more adaptable is changing the way you look at stress. Check out our blog “Stress: You’re Looking at it the Wrong Way” for more information.