When you sail, you constantly maneuver to respond to changing wind conditions. That holds true in life. Although it’s great to have a plan, it’s equally important to roll with the punches to respond to an ever-changing world. As Mike Tyson, the former heavyweight boxing champion, said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Are you flexible or set in your ways?
Some folks are as stubborn as a mule. Once they set their mind to something they refuse to back down. They charge full speed ahead regardless of whether things are panning out. You’d think if all signs indicated that a plan wasn’t working, it would be time to regroup and change course. But once they decide to do something, there’s no stopping them — even if they’re heading for a wall.
Those folks refuse to listen to feedback, learn from mistakes, or change — even if actions produce poor outcomes. Instead, they boldly march forward hoping that results will change…even though they won’t. As Benjamin Franklin said, “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”
When you run into a wall, think, or you will do it again.
10 Ways to Adapt to a Changing World
Although we have access to more information than ever before, that doesn’t mean we’re more knowledgeable. Moreover, what use is information if you don’t act on it? Here are 10 ways to remain nimble and flexible in a changing world:
Stay informed. Determine whether the information you receive is accurate, honest, objective, timely, and thorough. If you’re careful about consuming healthy food, shouldn’t you be equally prudent about how you feed your mind?
Learn something new every day. The world is changing at a blistering pace. In fact, the U.S. Patent Office receives six times as many applications as it did in 1980. Unless you learn something new every day, you’re becoming obsolete.
Broaden your horizons. Get your information from multiple sources that offer different perspectives. Otherwise, your information merely reflects and reinforces your existing beliefs.
Keep an open mind. You’ll never know if your ideas are sound until they are challenged.
Encourage the free flow of ideas. Challenge your opinions. You don’t win a debate by suppressing discussion; you win it with a better argument. Additionally, think for yourself. One or many believers don’t determine the truth or untruth.
Ask for feedback. Treat feedback as a gift rather than a slap in the face. Furthermore, the only thing worse than not requesting feedback is not acting on it.
Scrutinize your habits. Practice doesn’t make perfect if you’re doing it wrong.
Discover new ways of doing things. Just because something made sense 10 years ago doesn’t mean it’s valid today. Identify and eliminate outdated rules, policies, and procedures.
Know when to quit. There are times when good intentions don’t work out as planned. If you’re in a bad relationship, made a poor financial investment, or made a bad career move, cut your losses…or lose more.
Learn from your mistakes — and the mistakes of others. Making a mistake is acceptable. Just don’t let it return for an encore.
Pause, Reflect, and Adapt
Times change. So should your behavior. That doesn’t mean that you should listen to every so-called expert, chase every fad, or change for change’s sake. Additionally, don’t change something proven to be successful. Just because it’s new, doesn’t make it better. But if life isn’t going as planned, pause, reflect, and change course before you run into the wall again. You’re not floundering by altering your course; it’s weak to stick to a plan just to save face. As Peter Drucker said, “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic.” Are you flexible or set in your ways? Change is good if it’s in the right direction.
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