• John Panepinto

Becoming More Adaptable - How To Conquer Anything That Comes Your Way

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

bruce lee adaptability

As you set out on your path to achieving your goals, one thing is inevitable – your environment and circumstances will change.

If you aren’t able to adapt accordingly, you will fall off track when these unexpected changes occur and it may just set you off your path entirely.

You might have a destination, a roadmap, and a strategy to get there – but when your environment/circumstances change, so must your game-plan.

You must change, with the change.

It is this skill of being adaptable, that separates the top 1% of achievers, from the other 99% of people who fall off their path.

Today, I am going to teach you the powerful tool of adaptability (the 4 Step Adaptation Process) to keep you on your path to achieving your goals, and also how you can build up this ‘mental muscle’ with some tips and actionable methods you can employ.

This way the next time change hits, and when everyone else gets put off their path – you will be ready, and you will be using it to your advantage to actually get ahead.

Bruce Lee's Philosophy on Adaptability:

“Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot.”

— Bruce Lee

This is one of my favourite Bruce Lee quotes, and it is by far one of the most powerful quotes of all time on the importance of adaptability.

Change is inevitable.

The world is constantly shifting, evolving, and changing - so is your environment.

This change occurs on micro-levels like a highway/road you usually take to get to work being closed down on a particular day.

This change also occurs on macro-levels like the Coronavirus (a world-wide pandemic), where your entire lifestyle is flipped on its head; where you must now do everything from within your house.

Obstacles like this will always arise, and you can’t always prepare or predict them. You either sink with them, or you can grab your surfboard and swim.

Will you let it stop you from achieving your goals and accomplishing what you set out to do?

That depends on you, your mindset, and your willingness to adapt.

When an event like the Coronavirus hits - will you be someone who goes from waking up every day at 6 am and owning your day and owning your goals, to someone who starts sleeping in till 1 pm and let your day own you and your goals slip away?

Or will you gather yourself, adjust to the circumstances, and keep owning your day and conquering your goals?

This is the difference between being adaptable and not being adaptable – your goals rest upon this mental muscle of yours.

Adaptability will either make or break you during times of change, and it will also give you an opportunity to separate yourself from the pack.

The Mindset Required:

gladiator relentless

A changing environment can be super stressful. In times like this, it is easy to let your emotions and temptations get the best of your logic.

In order to truly conquer anything that comes your way through adaptability – it requires a particular mindset.

Having a no-excuses mindset is absolutely crucial to being able to adapt effectively.

Knowing that whatever is thrown at you, and whatever obstacles arise – you will get the job done, and find a way to make it happen. Becoming laser-focused on the objective at hand.

Instead of making excuses, blaming your environment, blaming other people or circumstances - you say F That, you are still going to find a way and make things happen.

If you want it that bad, and you must let this ‘no-excuses’ mindset conquer your ‘excuse-making’ mindset.

An Illustration:

Rain or shine, snow or storm - you must be laser-focused on your desired outcome (goal/objective) and let your roadmap, strategy, routines, and ways of doing things be like ‘water’ – flexible, free-flowing, and adaptable to the circumstances.

So let’s say you have a goal of losing 10 lbs within the next month. You’ve been going to the gym regularly and progressing well – then all of a sudden, a worldwide pandemic like the Coronavirus hits; you can’t leave your house anymore and all gyms are closed.

Your original roadmap and ‘means’ to your goal are no longer there – you can’t go to the gym anymore, and you can’t eat at your favourite restaurant anymore.

Well – your goal of losing 10 lbs within the next month is still absolutely possible and it should NOT be sacrificed.

Hit that no-excuses mindset, and simply adjust your ‘means’ to the new circumstances you are in. This will mean – home workouts, eating home-cooked meals, and staying healthy and active.

No matter how tempting it may be – do not let the changing circumstances let you sacrifice your goals and your discipline towards reaching them.

The last thing you want is to let one bad habit turn into a handful.

Stay mentally strong – let your means be free-flowing like water.

This is the same for really any other type of goal you may have – whether it be self-development, work-related, relationship-related, or business, money-related.

Let your ‘means’ be free-flowing like water.

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going:

michael jordan detroit pistons

When the going gets tough, the tough get going! Here's an example from the sports world.

(1) Michael Jordan and The Bad Boy Pistons

During the late 1980s, Michael Jordan was terrorizing the league with his greatness. The only place he had yet to prove himself was in the playoffs – where he would often run into the famous ‘Bad Boy’ Detroit Pistons.

The Detroit Pistons created the ‘Jordan Rules’ an aggressive style of play designed to quite literally bump, attack, and physically hurt Michael Jordan as a way of slowing him down.

These bumps and bruises could be quite taxing on the skinny frame that Jordan had at the time (190 lbs).

Though with his sheer desire to win a championship, he knew he had to adjust to what was getting thrown at him – so he adapted.

He brought on a strength and conditioning coach to help him bulk up to 220 lbs – where he could better take the bumps, and be a force of strength on the court.

This adaptation made it much harder for the Pistons to slow Jordan down.

6 Championships later – this adjustment by MJ was one of the most important of his career.

He very easily could have succumbed to what was getting thrown at him and folded – but instead, he adopted a no-excuses mindset, adapted, and came back even stronger to achieve the goal he desired.

This adaptability skill is truly what separates the top 1% of achievers from the other 99% of people.

The Four Step Adaptation Process:

So when change occurs – what exactly do you do? How do you adapt?

The adaptation process has four steps:

1. Gather Yourself & Recognize You Still Have a Mission

2. Identify the New Opportunities & Obstacles at Hand

3. Make the Adjustments

4. Carry on & Keep Executing

1. Gather Yourself & Recognize You Still Have a Mission

When change occurs it can be quite shocking and it is easy for you to lose touch with your mission. That’s why it is important to always begin by gathering yourself. Get yourself together and mentally prepared to tackle this problem.

Circumstances may have changed – but you still have a mission to achieve. You must recognize this and employ that ‘no-excuses’ mindset right off the bat.

2. Identify the New Opportunities & Obstacles

The recession of 2008 is also the same period of time where some of the most successful tech companies of today (including Uber) were born.

With every change, comes new obstacles (to conquer) and new opportunities (to seize). Start by identifying each of those. What obstacles/limitations must you work around? What new opportunities have arisen from the situation?

Keep your eyes peeled – because each change has both of these; no matter big the change of circumstances may be.

3. Make Adjustments

Now that you’ve gathered yourself, identified the opportunities to seize and obstacles to work around – make the correct adjustments.

If you can’t go to the gym – create a workout routine you can do at home.

If you can’t see your friends and family in person – Facetime them.

No excuses. Get after your goals, regardless of what is thrown at you. Embrace and implement the adjustments!

4. Carry On & Keep Executing on Your Game-Plan

Your goal/objective remains – and you now have a new and revised means of getting to it.

The final step is to execute your game plan and stay disciplined to it.

The opportunities and obstacles are accounted for, the adjustments have been made – now it is on you to execute.

You still have goals to achieve – you are just taking a different path to get there!

The Bottom Line:

dana white adaptability

Adaptability truly is a mental muscle.

Being able to gather yourself, adjust, and change with the change takes practice.

But once you master it – there is no stopping you. You will become a freight train towards your goals.

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A final actionable tip I’d like to leave you on is to actively practice putting yourself into new and uncomfortable situations where you are forced to adapt and adjust quickly.

Put yourself in new environments. Take a new way to work. Have lunch with a new group of people. Pick up a new skill. Practice being in this state of discomfort and having to adapt.

Your instincts want you to win – and they want you to survive. I promise in doing this regularly - you will get better and better at adapting to new situations and making the most of them.

So the next time that big change hits – you will be ready and there will be no stopping you.

Hope that you guys enjoyed this blog, and as always, I’ll see you next time.

My Challenge To You:

  • The next time change occurs in your life relating to your goals, utilize the 4 step adaptation process!

  • Practice putting yourself in new/uncomfortable situations, and adapting to them.