Some people break in times of crisis, while others somehow manage to keep thriving.
These people are masters at adapting to change.
What makes them so flexible and resilient?
Well, here are 15 traits of people who are great at adapting to change.
1) They expect change
It’s worth remembering that no matter how stable our lives may get, anything and everything can and will change at the drop of a hat.
The reason why some people can somehow adapt to change better is because they don’t forget this.
If anything, they expect change to come knocking at their doorstep—it’s just a matter of when.
So they live their lives around the idea of always being ready for something new, and never letting themselves be too complacent.
Because of this, they’re ready for when something happens to change the status quo.
Rather than fight the wind and the tides, they’re perfectly fine going with the flow.
2) They have a healthy view on “failure”
Most people dread failure. That dread is perfectly reasonable too, especially when it involves important things like one’s marriage or career.
But adaptable people don’t exactly feel that same dread.
Sure, they’d rather not fail if they could, but sometimes it just happens and there’s nothing they can do about it.
And sometimes, they see it as something necessary so they can be in a much better place.
They don’t see “failure” as the end, but just another step to their journey.
3) They actually enjoy finding solutions
You can see this mindset a lot in gamers. Rather than giving up at their first “game over” and seeing it as a sign to stop playing, they take it as a challenge to keep figuring out other ways to beat the game.
As far as adaptable people are concerned, finding solutions to their problems isn’t a chore they need to trudge through.
Instead they actually take pleasure in figuring out ways to “crack the code.”
It’s a mental exercise to them, and they’re more likely to find unusual solutions than everyone else because of that.
And if they later realize that it’s just impossible, they’ll just shrug it off and move on to other endeavors.
4) They don’t take things personally
They might get annoyed when someone cancels a date at the last minute, but they’re not going to curl up in bed asking themselves “what’s wrong with me? Am I not good enough?!”
Instead they’ll just accept it and then wonder why the other person did what they did. Was there an emergency of some kind? Did they chicken out somehow?
And then they’d then shrug and move on to other more important things.
Things happen, after all.
And chances are that it has nothing to do with them.
5) They always have a plan
Most of us think of creating plans for our immediate future, and then making maybe a Plan B in case things go wrong.
But if things go especially bad, one contingency plan might not be enough.
That’s the reason why adaptable people go above and beyond. They not only make backup plans like the rest of us, they also try to understand what they’re facing in the first place.
That way, when things go horribly wrong and they’ve burnt through their plans, they can still improvise with a calm head on their shoulders.
6) They find it easy to let go
Adaptable people know how dangerous it can be to dwell in the past.
It’s worth it to learn from one’s mistakes, but after a certain point it’s nothing but dead weight holding them down.
And the last thing they want is to get held down by the sunk cost fallacy.
They might have spent thousands investing on something, if they can see it’s got nowhere to go but down, they’d move on rather than lose any more money.
They might have been in a relationship for a decade, but if it’s clear that things simply aren’t working out, then they’d just move on rather than waste any more of their time.
And they won’t look back—well, except on those times that they reflect on it to figure out life lessons.
7) They are open-minded
Most people are taught about the one “right” way to do things, maybe two, and then follow those instructions like gospel.
Adaptable people, on the other hand, keep their minds open to the possibility that there might be other ways to get things done.
And not only that, they try to understand why the “right” way is considered, well… right. Is it because of safety, or is it entirely because people said so?
There’s always more than one way to crack an egg, and this freedom of mind does wonders in keeping them adaptable.
8) They’re resourceful
Being adaptive and resourceful go hand in hand.
An adaptable person will find a way to open a bottle of beer even if they don’t have a bottle opener, or to write a letter even if they don’t have a pen.
They will get creative if they have to, and would rather try “stupid” solutions than just sit back and do nothing.
Sure, a spoon and a piece of charcoal might not be perfect replacements for a bottle opener and a pen, but they get the job done.
9) They see setbacks as opportunities to grow
There are two ways to see setbacks.
One is to see it as an obstacle on the way to success, and the other is to see it as a stepping stone on the way to success.
And the reality with setbacks is that it’s often a little bit of both at once.
But while most people choose to see it as an obstacle, adaptable people instead look the other way and ask themselves “what can I learn from this?”
Whether it’s that they need to do something a little differently or if they should just give up on their current course and do something else instead, there’s always something to learn from having setbacks.
10) They plot revenge—in a healthy way
If their husband has been cheating on them and they have no choice but to divorce, they won’t take things lightly.
They’ll think “Well, I will be the happiest divorcé in the world. I will show everyone how I can turn my life around at 40.”
While some would argue that it’s unhealthy, sometimes, we need to hold on to something to be motivated to become our best selves.
And some adaptable people use their “failures” as a way to come back better.
11) They don’t catastrophize
People who immediately start obsessing over the worst case scenario have a hard time adapting when bad times come rolling.
They’ll be frozen in fear, even depressed, and too caught up in their emotions to even consider figuring out solutions to their problems.
Adaptable people know how to shut down their negative thoughts and instead focus on the actual problem at hand.
They have a way separating their thoughts and feelings from what’s actually happening, and this gives them a clarity of mind that makes it easier for them to find solutions.
12) They get inspiration from resilient people
Who and what we surround ourselves with affects the way we think.
And adaptable people would really rather be influenced by strong, resilient people than simpering cowards.
They’d read up on the lives of people like George Lucas, Oprah Winfrey, and Colonel Sanders—people who kept being dealt a bad hand in life, but never gave up until they finally found success.
13) They frequently zoom out to see the bigger picture
When we’re too close to our problems, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed. It just seems so big up close!
That’s why adaptable people always zoom out. While at it, they’d try to examine what’s really worth worrying about and what isn’t.
They’d also try to check how they can still stay true to who they are and their values…and move in that direction when they decide to change course.
14) They don’t get too sentimental—they move forward
They won’t wallow in self-pity and just wait for people to rescue them from their misery. Instead, they’ll lick their wounds, roll their sleeves, and get going.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that they shun emotions completely. If anything, they embrace their emotions.
But what they don’t embrace are feelings of wasted sentimentality—feelings like “what if I was better then…” or “I would have been happier if…”
They embrace their emotions, sure, but they don’t let those emotions paralyze them.
15) They believe in themselves
Adaptable people are confident. They have a strong sense of self-worth and they believe they can achieve anything.
That is why, when life throws them lemons, they don’t give up.
They know they’re meant for bigger things so when there are setbacks, to them that just means their fight is not yet over.
Someone with low self-esteem would think they deserve their bad fate, but someone who believes in themselves knows that it just means that their journey will take much longer.
Being adaptable isn’t entirely something you’re born with.
Some people might have a harder time than others, but all of us can learn to adapt to change if we want to.
And if you want to become more adaptable, then you can start by trying to take the traits I’ve described in this article and making them part of your daily life.
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