“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” — Stephen Hawking
When you find yourself in a situation that isn’t working for you, analyze it.
You can use a simple frame for analysis: adapt, adjust or avoid.
This frame can help you improve your effectiveness for any situation. For any situation that isn’t working, determine whether to adapt, adjust or avoid that situation.
When you analyze, also look for the patterns. Chances are, you’ll find that you behave similarly in similar situations. Once you know the pattern and what to look for, you can spot these situations faster and improve your effectiveness.
Adapting to the Situation
Can you change yourself to make the most of the situation you’re in? Adapting to the situation, means changing yourself for the situation. While flexibility is good, you need to be careful. You can trade your less effective behaviors, but don’t adapt to the situation in a way that takes away your strengths. You’d be better off finding a situation where you can play to your strengths.
Adjusting the Situation
Can you change the situation to play to your strengths? Adjusting the situation, means changing the situation to suit you. Sometimes this is the best option, particularly if you can set it up to play to your strength. For example, when you take on a project, can you get the right people on board that compliment your abilities?
Avoiding the Situation
Can you avoid the situation all together? Sometimes avoiding the situation is the best path. Learn to spot the situations where you don’t do well. This is my caution. Because I turn any situation into a learning opportunity or challenge, I need to know when it’s low ROI (return on investment). Life’s too short to spend energy in low ROI situations.
Self-Awareness is the Key
If you know your personal strengths and passions, this is your key to success. You avoid adapting to situations that take away your strengths. You learn to setup situations in a way that you succeed. You learn the situations that you should avoid.