Adaptability Is The Most Important Skill

We all have innate talents and abilities, most of us have educations, and we also have our life experiences. All of these things contribute to what type of person we are or will become. All of them combine to form what we know, what we’ve learned, or who we are at any moment in time.

An innate talent is something unique to each person. It might be something silly, like curling your tongue or touching them to the tips of our noses, or maybe we’re good with numbers, or maybe we’re just really tall which helps if we want to be a professional basketball player.

Our education, however, gives us a basic framework of knowledge, and our interests and advanced education give us specialization. Hopefully we continue learning throughout our entire lives.

Among the experiences life hands us might be something like being asked to take on a role at our job that we simply haven’t prepared for in our education or training. That could include becoming a manager of people because our job thrust us into that role. Another example might be that we were forced to learn money management to stay afloat financially even though we’re not very good at balancing budgets and don’t really enjoy doing that…

So, the question is, when we decide to develop ourselves further which skills should we focus on – life experiences that have helped us grow, our innate talents, or should we focus on skills in which we are weak?

This article in Forbes says that we should not only focus on our strengths but after 30 we should pick only one or two strengths to build upon. It says, “Focus instead on what you are already naturally talented at go from good to great.” It sounds like they’re telling us to improve our innate talents.

However, the opposite can be true as well. For example, in the world of sports like MMA, watch enough fights or the reality series, “The Ultimate Fighter,” and you’ll probably hear them talking about improving a combatant by strengthening his or her weaknesses. The announcer in a fight might say something along the lines of, “He’s worked on his ground-game since his last fight, and he’s become more well-rounded.”

But what about our life experiences? If we mastered of a piece of software to a level few in our industry achieve, or we became great at mentoring others, or we became a very effective manager of people, should we focus on those skills and get formal training to develop them further? How do we decide where to focus?

One of the biggest decisions we have to make as adults is where we want to be in five, ten, twenty years. What skills will we need to get there?

When we know where we want to go and we learn some skills to help get us there, we shouldn’t forget that life will change unexpectedly so we must be prepared to change with it. We must learn to adapt and evolve with the situation as we work toward the goal we’ve set for ourselves.

Adaptability is the most important skill to have in the workforce of today. If we can’t change course effectively when a curve ball comes at us then we will not be able to remain in the game very long.

How do we develop adaptability? Simple. Keep an open mind. To adapt is to survive life’s unexpected challenges, and survival can be messy and uncomfortable. We might have to learn something to survive that forces us to rethink everything we know and believe. If we can survive those moments/days/weeks (be resilient!), then we can succeed at whatever we put our minds to.

After all, survival is just being practical about what life is visiting upon us. Adapt, survive, evolve.

Adaptability Is The Most Important Skill

Gratitude

2018 was challenging in a lot of ways… I won’t list them because it would be a long novel that would make you cry, but 2018 is almost in the rear-view mirror and I need to thank some folks.

First, my wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary in 2018 and took a two-week trip to Greece. I’ve had incredible adventures with her over the years, and our trip to Greece has been a goal for us for a long time. She works long hours every week, week after week. As Director of HR for a Native American tribe she deals with office and sometimes ugly tribal politics like a championship fighter – maybe not easily, but definitely effectively. She handles our budget, and she does a good job staying grounded. I’ve learned how to be an adult thanks to her.

I’m thankful for my granddaughters and their parents. My son is one hard-working man with a job that keeps him on the road during the week and only home on the weekends. He’s done it for years and he sticks with it because he’s building a great future for his family. His wife is the ultimate mom. She has loads of patience, and takes to parenting like a fish to water. Raising kids, working full time, and maintaining a household seems effortless for her. They are remarkable parents in a world where parenting might be a dying art.

The grand babies are amazing little humans. They are beautiful, smart, healthy, calm, and thoughtful. They taught me what unconditional love means. They showed me parts of my heart that I never knew existed. They are my primary inspiration. I want to be healthy as I get older, both physically and mentally, which is why I started exercising at the gym almost two years ago and pushing myself to learn new skills. I intend to watch them grow up into adults and become fantastic at whatever they put their minds to. I just want to watch, help, and support them any way I can.

I’m also grateful for the company for which I work. It is a very progressive company in a very conservative industry. I’ve grown as a person working for there, and I attribute that to the people who have inspired and helped me the most (last names excluded); Andres, Mark, Teresa, Scott, Alex, Jason, Raja, and plenty of others. Getting paid pretty well, having good benefits, and a flexible schedule are perks too.

Something else I’m grateful for over the last year is that I got to see Gary Numan twice (the first time was last December for my birthday, thank you Allyn!), and again with friends Scott and Tommy in OKC. Numan is someone I’ve listened to my whole life, and to finally see him checks off a box on the bucket list. And what a show! Both venues were small and personal. The sound was mixed perfectly. The lighting was excellent. I’m incredibly happy to have seen him.

I’m thankful for a lot of people in my life in addition to those I’ve mentioned here. I didn’t even say anything about my own mom (best in the world!), or my in-laws, or my friends. I owe them all a debt of gratitude too.

Getting older and seeing more of life behind me than in front of me gives me perspective on how I want my shortening future to look. The people around me are crucial. So, thank all of you!

Gratitude