The Secret to Thriving in an Ever-Changing World
Do you know how our forefathers thrived in Africa's wilds, the Middle East's blistering heat and barren sands, and the polar regions' freezing temperatures? Social scientists would argue that it all boils down to adaptability and agility. However, with the changing times came technological advances and innovations intended to make the world more comfortable for man. With this in mind, is Personal Agility still significant in our day-to-day living?
Man may have made innovations in leaps and bounds through technology that made life so much more comfortable, but ironically, they have made life more complicated and dynamic. Because of this, you can no longer depend on following a predictable pattern. Our ancestors had to adapt to their existing environment, but now more than adapting, you must be agile enough to cope with the rush of changes that flood technology and our social lives. You need to have that flexibility to navigate your life in the fast-changing nature of our current milieu.
What is Personal Agility?
Personal agility is the ability to anticipate and respond rapidly to changing conditions and handle eventualities in the future. It enables people to squarely face the fact that man lives in an era of permanent global change - a change that is not constant but exponential (evolving in increasing bounds, not in constant steps) in growth. And in this context, it is taking a proactive approach to change, anticipating challenges and opportunities. It involves the willingness to rethink past assumptions and adapt to change effectively. This ability is what distinguishes high-performing individuals.
Scoring high in this competency will enable you to:
- Navigate changing conditions and transitions with ease.
- Assess situations from a range of viewpoints.
- Foresee the need for change before imposing it.
- Embrace change thoughtfully and proactively.
- Be open in rethinking assumptions.
- Be adaptable, flexible, and quick to adjust to change
- Easily learn from your mistakes.
- Adjust your approach to meet the demands of ever-changing situations.
Studies have proven that the capacity to be agile is a manifestation of man's emotional intelligence (EI). This capacity is underpinned by other Social and Emotional Intelligence competencies such as innovation, communication skills, bias for action, and resilience.
The Importance of Personal Agility in Everyday Living
Personal agility is required in everyday life to deal with sudden changes such as death, tragedy, illness, and disasters. Even expected changes, such as a new job, a move, a new team, and a new playing field, necessitate this competency.
Although changes that benefit our well-being are welcome, life will never get tired of presenting us with distressing changes. To deal with this reality, we must develop personal agility. For example, the birth of a child is a wonderful event, but the reality is that a new mother's life will never be the same again, and the hardships of raising a child lie ahead.
Even seemingly insignificant events in our lives are putting us in situations that require our agility. An officemate you're working with to meet a project deadline calls in sick or you're about to crawl into bed after a long day when a friend phones to ask for guidance.
Indeed, personal agility is a must-have competency not only to survive but to thrive in this fast-paced, ever-changing world.
The Negative Impacts of Lacking Personal Agility
Failure to adapt to life’s changes can cause you to stagnate and eventually deteriorate. And stagnation and deterioration can make you feel stuck and depressed. No wonder more people nowadays are having mental health issues – this is because they are unable to cope and adapt to the modern world’s ever-changing and complex nature.
A shallow understanding of how exponential and even everyday changes affect your life could muddle your view of how you are personally coping with changes and anticipating them. Without a realistic perspective of where you are right now in terms of your personal agility, you will never improve on this capacity. Assess yourself and your current situation as you ponder these questions:
- Do you lack perspective in dealing with shifting realities?
- Do you deny, ignore, or fight change as it happens around you?.
- Are you unwilling to examine or be receptive to new possibilities brought about by change?
- Are you adamant about changing?
- Do you find it hard to cope with change?
- Do you tend to blame others for a change in circumstances?
- Do you maintain a rigid mindset in the face of change?
If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, you might need to develop and work on your Personal Agility.
Developing Your Personal Agility
The good news is that the same capacity of our ancestors to survive the surprises and changes of life in their time is within us all. As in all competencies of Social and Emotional Intelligence, it can be developed. If the desire for a positive change is brewing in your heart right now, acting on the following developmental tips can help you experience its realisation in your life:
- Recognise the usual human responses to change (stages) - denial, resistance, exploration, and new beginnings - and commit to keeping an open mind toward change and its phases: Ask inquiries, look for knowledge, keep a "big picture" view of world realities, predict changes before they happen, and explore possible ways to deal with change.
- Recognise the difference between fiction and fact - distinguish between what you wish to happen and what will or is happening.
- Recognise what you can and cannot control, and concentrate on what you can.
- Seek people who can assist you during times of transition.
- Be willing to experiment with fresh ideas. Be willing to challenge long-held beliefs.
Charles Darwin could not have said it best:
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but those most responsive to change.”
Develop your personal agility and thrive – not just survive – in this fast-paced, ever-changing world!
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At People Builders, we have a team of expert trainers and coaches who can help you in building you and your team’s Emotional Intelligence. Contact us today for a quick chat to see how we can partner with you to train and coach you and your team.
If you are interested in becoming certified to be a trainer and coach in Social and Emotional Intelligence, Applied Neuroscience, or Extended DISC, go to our People Builders Institute website.
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