Wether you trying to gain success in business, health or happiness you are going to come up against obstacles. In nature you find specialists and generalists: specialists are only adapted to one environment, they thrive and outcompete anyone else in that environment, but as soon as the environment changes in any way the generalists take over and become the dominant species. Generalists are adaptable, they can survive is a vast amount of habitats and can outlive any specialist in a changing environment.
Humans are inherently generalist, you can find us living in the hottest and the coldest, the wettest and the driest places on Earth. Being generalists has allowed us to become the dominant species in any part if the world. But, modern society is making many people unable to adapt.
Why Humans Are Losing Their Ability To Adapt
1. Strict education paths. You find people so focused on educating themselves on one aspect of life, they spend years and years studying a single subject. This is great if the job or life you find yourself in as a result is one that you enjoy and one that lasts you the rest of your life, but otherwise it’s not so great. You could spend years studying one aspect of science and become a world-famous expert in it, but one day new innovations may make that field of science obsolete. Some people spend 10 years studying to become doctors and then find they don’t like being a doctor, their strict narrow education may leave them with no other useful skills.
I am not saying don’t spend years specialising in particular fields because for many people this is a great option, the world needs specialists in technology and science. But what I am saying is don’t forget the other aspects of your life. Educate yourself on other aspects of life other than your specialism, get in shape and develop your mind, build good relationships with people as well as make money. It would be no good becoming a rich, smart person if your too fat to move and no one likes you. Become an expert in multiple fields of life, become adaptable.
2. A lack of self-education. Education is now so readily available to everyone for free that people rely on that as their only source for knowledge, they see no need to go out and educate themselves. This results in too much uniformity, everyone is going to end up knowing the same things. The world doesn’t need everyone to know the same thing. Everyone should know something that no-one else does, that is when a species becomes really adaptable, when our collective knowledge is greater than our individual knowledge. So don’t rely solely on formal education, you will only end up knowing what most of the world also knows. Learn things for yourself and develop new theories.
3. We have too much faith in our leaders. Many people blindly follow what their parents, their bosses or the government tell us to do. We assume what they say is correct and so we do it without question. The problem with that is: what happens when a new obstacle arises and your leader isn’t their? We cannot allow ourselves to become solely dependant on other people’s orders because the end result is a species that cannot think for themselves o solve issues. Challenge what people tell you to do, go out on your own and make your own judgements, learn from your own experiences. If you believe what people tell you all the time then you will be limited to their knowledge, you will never advance.
Imagine if someone had managed to persuade Christopher Columbus that their was no undiscovered land out at sea, people may not have settled in america for hundreds of years. Adaptability comes from having the ability to challenge misconceptions and formulate new theories, when new challenges arrive people need to be able to come up with new solutions.
A Break Down Of How You Can Become More Adaptable
– Resist the temptation to become a specialist with no other knowledge
– Learn about all the major aspects of life, what Thai Lopez calls health, wealth, love and happiness.
– Strike out on your own path, don’t conform to the lives of others or you will be the same as everyone else
– Read books about topics you wouldn’t naturally go for, it will be those books that you find the most knowledge
– Challenge the orders given to you from others, adapt them to suit your own situation
– Make your own experiences and mistakes, learn form them and create your own formula for success
– Prepare for the unexpected, there will always be something so you better be ready when it comes