Adaptability in Life
By Judith Coche
Tamara and Len sought help for a comfortable 38 year marriage that needed an infusion of passion and fun. Part of the “fix” was an exotic vacation, different from their customary weekend in museum-filled London. The biking adventure was a stretch for them: Len had been worried about safety, but Tamara cajoled him into going by extolling the virtues of new activities. “I have to give Len credit: he has not even insinuated that this is my own d— fault, though I bet he thinks just that.”
“How have you adapted to this”, I asked, knowing she depended on her considerable income to support Len’s unexpected retirement from corporate executive status.
“Adaptability is my middle name. You know that. I can’t afford to let details get me down. I’d never be where I am if Len and I hadn’t bounced with a ton of punches.” I recalled aloud that they had rebuilt their center city town home after a surprise fire spread the smell of smoke throughout the 120 year old building. And how they had helped their rebellious adolescent daughter cope with scoliosis. And I commended Tamara again for her creativity in handling Len’s prostate cancer, which left impairment in their love life. Tamara had good naturedly learned a special technique which enabled them to spice up this lifelong marriage despite his illness. “It is a nuisance but he is so relieved to feel normal that it is worth it.
“Tamara, do you know that adaptability is one of the key factors in people who show resilience and strength during their lives?” I wanted her to hear well-deserved acknowledgement of their coping skills. ”You and Len have clearly achieved your place of honor in the adaptability Hall of Fame. “
“Thanks.” She smiled. “It is actually fun for me to figure out things that seem to stump other people. I just don’t know why they let this stuff get them down.”
I caught her eye, and smiled. “Your adaptive problem solving has insured you optimal life resilience. You deserve the fruits of your labors.” And I meant it.
This is the final in a series on key factors creating resilience, one of the secrets to optimal life development. Tamara illustrates what we, at The Coche Center, refer to as The Adaptability Tool Box. Some individuals and couples have personalities with a built-in, at-the-ready tool box to adapt to what life inevitably dishes out. The Adaptability Tool Box includes motivation, humor, cognitive flexibility and creativity. When things do not go well, some people use their imagination and courage to do something different, creating a solution where none existed. They manage to laugh at what life brings rather than giving in, finding humor and strength especially during hardship. They are actually proud of their ability to outwit challenges. This confidence about their own capacity allows them to muster creativity where others give up. Their resilience and problem solving ability is one of their greatest gifts.
To consider: In recent months, what has stumped you in your life? Might there be a more adaptable way to handle this? How might that be an advantage?
When things do not go well, some people use their imagination and courage to do something different, creating a solution where none existed before.
Brian Scudamore started his company, which he describes as “the FedEx of junk removal,” with $700 in start-up capital and his own beat-up truck. He dropped out of college with only a year left to run the business full time. 1-800-GOT-JUNK now has nearly 100 franchised locations across North America and an annual revenue of over 100 million dollars.
In Another’s Words
“Individuals, too, who cultivate a variety of skills seem brighter, more energetic and more adaptable than those who know how to do one thing only.”
– Robert Shea (Author)