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Being More Adaptive in the Face of Challenge

When faced with challenges, we often default to old habits and solutions, however, what may have worked in the past, isn’t always the right solution to the problem you may be facing now. Instead, it requires being more open-minded and adaptive to new solutions and approaches. In today’s blog, we’ll look at ways to help you be more adaptive to challenges as well as ways to shift your mindset and perspective.


Three Skills to Be More Adaptive

In an article in Harvard Business Review, they recommend these three skills to become more adaptable: learning agility, emotional self-regulation, and dual awareness. They write, “Learning agility is about learning from experience, experimenting with new tactics, approaching new situations with a growth mindset, seeking and learning from feedback, and applying these lessons in real time to new situations.” Learning agility is about being open to understanding and approaching challenging situations with curiosity instead of a fixed solution. For emotional self-regulation, they write that it’s “the ability to recognize, understand, and manage emotions, and to channel those emotions into productive ways of thinking and acting.” For this, they say it can be helpful to keep a journal for a week paying attention to and writing down what triggers and patterns are frequently repeated throughout the week. By tuning and bringing more awareness to our emotional state, they say you can begin “learning not only to process the unhelpful emotions but also to become comfortable with the discomfort they bring.” The last skill they recommend is dual awareness which they say, “is the integration of internal circumstances (experiences, thoughts, emotions, and responses) and external ones (an objective reading of the situation and what it calls for). We are integrating two important things — the awareness of our own emotions, assumptions, and reactive habits, especially under pressure, and the nature of the situation we are facing.” When faced with a challenging situation, it’s important to take a moment to regroup and gather your thoughts before making a knee-jerk reaction. It’s better to take time to assess the situation and then determine what the appropriate response would be.


Reframe a Challenging Situation

It can also be helpful to think about reframing challenges and perceive them as an opportunity for growth and focus on what you can learn from the experience. By doing this, we can shift the challenge from being viewed in a purely negative light to something more positive and productive. In an article on Forbes, they write, “when people have difficulty making a decision or visualizing a solution, it isn’t because they don’t understand the process of problem-solving; it’s because they are stuck in how they perceive the situation. Essentially, they can only see one possibility. Reframing allows you to imagine a variety of options and outcomes.”