Developing new patterns of thought and behavior to drive new habits will require resilience, ingenuity and adaptability. Resilient people are aware of their emotional drivers. They are
- Reality based and clear about the different situations they find themselves in. They are willing to see things as they are, accept the negative, and avoid falsely sunny attitudes.
- They adapt their thoughts and beliefs in order to create change, and they are willing to try new things to make their circumstances better.
- And, they surround themselves with support from other resilient people.
We are programmed for biological safety. After our physical needs are met, we require a supportive community to ensure our survival. Nothing in our world exists without the contribution of others. Notice your surroundings. How many people and ideas did it take to create your computer or your phone? What about the chair you are sitting on? Or the food in your fridge? The food on your table required the development of farming millennia ago—techniques to make agriculture financially attractive, machines to harvest the crops, a system of roads to allow truck drivers to deliver food to stores, a monetary system so you don’t have to bring a goat with you to trade for food. You get the picture.
New ideas are born through sharing thoughts, observations and perspectives with others. Resilient people enlist the insights of others to develop new ideas, thus creating more options. The more options available, the more resilient you can be, because there are multiple ways to move forward. If the first solution doesn’t work, there is a second and a third, and a whole community to help design options four, five, and six.
Resilience endows us with clarity and willingness to change. Ingenuity creates new options. Ingenious means creative, resourceful, original. Every single person is ingenious by virtue of the fantastically complicated series of neural networks that make them who they are. Ingenuity is the ability to apply new ideas to changing circumstances, connecting what you know and the skills you have with the ideas that arise in contact with the community.
Resilience and ingenuity walk hand in hand with their cousin adaptability. Once you are clear about what you want, and have the ideas to create something different, you must take action to make the ideas a reality. This is where adaptability comes in. Adaptability is about thoughtfully modifying skills and experience to fit an evolving situation.
For example, the gym I belong to is a wonderful example of resilience, ingenuity and adaptability in action. Faced with closing the business or figuring a new way forward, the owners of Nyack Boot Camp mobilized in the first week of the pandemic, learning Zoom, modifying classes for the safety of their clients, and distributing kettle bells. This enabled them to offer daily classes, providing much needed routine and normalcy to gym goers. They took it a step further—creating opportunity for the community to connect through Zoom happy hours, cooking demonstrations, and contests. The use of technology allowed the Boot Camp community to connect from Florida and Australia—expanding the business in a way that is not possible when everyone is required to be in the same physical location, and opening up new avenues that will exist for them after the pandemic subsides.
The skills we had before the quarantine got us to where we were. They are foundational skills, and you will rely on them again to move forward in a post-pandemic world. However, they are not enough. We all need to hone those old skills and develop new ones in order to thrive, as did the owners of Nyack Boot Camp. This is how resilience, ingenuity and adaptability will allow us to succeed and not just survive.