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Adapting to Change

BY: kishore thampi | Category: Self-Improvement | Submitted: 2010-03-18 05:11:47
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Article Summary: "While adaptation is more physical for the animal kingdom, it is more of a mental phenomenon for the 'Homo Sapiens'. The one thing that differentiates us from the brutes is that we are gifted with cognitive abilities..."


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It is said that nature is in a constant flux. It is perpetually trying to evolve and rebuild itself to accommodate the myriad species which populate its canvass. As we look around we observe a million species, each adorned with a uniqueness which bemuses us. The porcupine has got protective needle sharp spine on its body. The chameleon can disguise its appearance and blend with the nature. The tortoise has got a protective hood to slide into oblivion in case of an impending danger. Likewise every species prevailing in the vast camouflage of dense jungles have been endowed with wonderful defence mechanisms. Every single one of them plays a significant role in maintaining nature's poise. Every species is a survivor. How did they do it? How did they surpass the vagaries of nature? The answer is simple. Adaptation. They have all adapted themselves to the changing environment by making considerable changes in their physical and mental stratum.

While adaptation is more physical for the animal kingdom, it is more of a mental phenomenon for the "Homo Sapiens". The one thing that differentiates us from the brutes is that we are gifted with cognitive abilities. We possess a mind and an intellect which propitiates our thinking prowess. The ability to change with the change is a huge challenge and it lies in our mind. The ability to adapt is a fundamental property of life and constitutes the basic difference between success and failure.

We play different roles in our lives - of a father/mother, son/daughter, sister/brother, employee, friend etc. The success in each role depends on how best we can adapt effectively to the respective roles. Charles Darwin has once rightly said that "The survival of the fittest is the ageless law of the nature, but the fittest are rarely the strongest. The fittest are those endowed with the qualities of adaptation, the ability to accept the inevitable and conform to the unavoidable, to harmonize with the existing or changing conditions".

The ethics of adaptation can be applied any where. Organizational success depends on a firm's ability to navigate environmental complexities and adapt to conditions around it. Success is often elusive and to survive one must adapt to the demands put forth by a constantly changing milieu. The "One size fits all" rule does not apply here. Strategies need to be consistently reworked and reconceptualised to be in congruity with the changing scenario. Likewise the human assets of the organisation should adapt with the changing and learning organisations. Greatness is often measured in terms of one's composure shown at times of distress and unforeseen eventualities. In an ideal situation success is irrelevant. But when we cross the threshold of complacency and reinvent ourselves in challenging assignments, success gets a meaning.

Adaptability is not imitation. It means the power of resistance and assimilation. Like the water which takes the shape of the container which holds it, we need to adapt to our immediate work environment.

Martin Luther King Jr once rightly said "Our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change"

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