Charles Darwin, scientist, author of "On the Origin of Species" where he outlined his Theory of Evolution in the mid-19th century, famously indicated that it is not the strongest, nor the most intelligent of the species that survives, but the one that is the most adaptable to change.
This year, a significant level of adaptability has been required in order for our human species to survive the pandemic. In this country, we may now be emerging from many of the restrictions previously imposed as a result of the pandemic; however around 500 BC, Heraclitus, an ancient Greek philosopher claimed "change is the only constant in life" so it is fully expected that there will be a need for further adaptation to change.
Students need to adapt to change whenever they move to a new class; a new institution; encounter different teachers; when academic expectations increase as students progress through their educational journey; as goals and circumstances change during life. We all need to learn how to adapt because life keeps changing.
Flexibility is a personality characteristic that has not necessarily been acquired by everyone; however the ability to adapt to changing life circumstances is a useful skill that enables individuals to adjust their perception and modify a behavioural response to whatever is happening in their lives.
Humans are creatures of habit. The establishment of habits set up neural pathways. Once automatized, habits significantly reduce cognitive load associated with having to make a series of decisions. The more a habit is perpetuated; the more likely this behaviour becomes embedded neurologically and behaviourally. Flexible people reinforce inflexible people. If those who are more flexible constantly adapt to accommodate the stated requirements and expectations of the inflexible individual, this person may never need to change or adapt. While some individuals are extremely flexible, it is only when adaptation is an absolute requirement that changes will be undertaken by other, less flexible individuals.
Adaptability enables individuals to change in response to current life experiences – whatever these might be. Unexpected events inevitably occur throughout life. Although there are frequently things that cannot be controlled, individuals who are able to adapt are more likely to thrive. Flexibility is a useful personality characteristic for individuals to develop; adaptability is the related behaviour that enables an appropriate and adaptive response to occur.
© Michele Juratowitch