Bend, Don’t Break: Unlocking the Secrets of Adaptability

In a rapidly changing world, adaptability is more than just a buzzword—it’s a critical survival skill, both in personal life and in the workplace. This article delves into the essence and importance of being adaptable, drawing on insights from experts featured on the ‘Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization‘ podcast. By exploring these strategies and real-world applications, I’ll help uncover how you can foster this crucial trait of adaptability in yourself and your organization.

What’s Included:

  • Why Adaptable People Rule the World
  • Adaptive Strategies from the Experts
  • The Art of Embracing Change
  • The Link Between Creativity and Adaptability
  • Adaptability in the Workplace
  • Tools and Techniques for Developing Adaptability
  • Conclusion

Why Adaptable People Rule the World

Adaptability is not just about surviving; it’s about thriving. In today’s fast-paced world, the ability to pivot quickly and effectively dictates both personal and organizational success. The ‘Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization’ podcast sheds light on this by discussing how high adaptability quotient (AQ) individuals and businesses can foresee changes and act swiftly, maintaining a competitive edge. Adaptability merges resilience, emotional intelligence, and an open mind—qualities that allow individuals to face and embrace the unknown comfortably.

Experts like Miriam Schmidberger and Rory van der Merwe from the podcast emphasize the importance of seeing change as an opportunity rather than a threat. Their discussions on managing fear and reframing challenges highlight how adaptable people use crises as growth catalysts. This perspective shift is crucial in a world where change is the only constant.

Additionally, adaptability fosters innovation—an essential attribute in modern workplaces. Those who adapt are the ones who lead changes, suggesting new directions and opportunities for growth. As I point out, tapping into the power of adaptability allows individuals and organizations to not only anticipate changes but also to drive them, creating new paths where none existed before.

Adaptive Strategies from the Experts

Drawing from the depth of discussions on the ‘Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization’ podcast, guests like Rory and Miriam share compelling narratives on adapting to the modern world. Rory talks about his personal experiences during lockdown, demonstrating how individual adaptability can mitigate extensive mental health impacts. His storytelling not only brings to light his path through personal challenges but also how he transformed these into opportunities for growth and development.

Further, Miriam’s experiences as a coach help underscore the need for structured approaches to embracing change. She discusses adaptability in the context of trauma release and habit change, reflecting on ancient wisdom and its relevance today. This holistic view fosters a broader appreciation of adaptability, positioning it as both a soft and a strategic skill that benefits individuals across different spectrums of life and work.

The discussion around the AQai model, as introduced by guests on the podcast, details how adaptability can be broken down into measurable components—abilities, character, and environment. This categorization not only helps individuals understand and enhance their adaptive traits but also serves organizations in fostering a culture that prioritizes adaptability as a principle for continuous improvement.

The Art of Embracing Change

Embracing change willingly isn’t always instinctual, yet it is fundamental to adaptability. As highlighted by Miriam, the fear of the unknown often holds people back from stepping out of their comfort zones. Yet, it is through leaning into this discomfort that personal growth and development are realized. She emphasizes using hope as a guide to navigate through this transformative process.

Miriam’s coaching sessions revolve around the concept that managing change effectively requires a blend of understanding past patterns and courageously setting forward into new paradigms. Her effective communication on the podcast reveals practical steps individuals can take to increase their comfort with uncertainty, which is a hallmark of adaptability.

The advance of technology and its impact on workplaces further underscores the necessity of embracing change. As discussed in the podcast, technology shifts jobs and roles at an unprecedented pace. To cope, individuals need to remain agile, upskilled, and open to learning—elements rooted deeply in the fabric of adaptability.

Michael Lee, an earlier guest on ‘Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization‘, brings an intriguing angle to the discussion of adaptability by tying it with creativity. His background in scriptwriting and creative production allows him to explore how creative processes inherently require high levels of adaptability. According to Michael, the same imaginative drive that propels artists and creators to innovate can be applied in everyday contexts to enhance adaptability.

Creativity, as discussed by Lee, involves breaking away from traditional methods and exploring new ideas, which is a critical aspect of adaptability. In settings where the old patterns no longer yield results, the adaptable individuals are the ones who are willing to experiment with novel approaches. This creativity is not spontaneous but cultivated through continuous learning and unlearning, a process described in the podcast as essential for personal and professional development.

Lee’s emphasis on the synergy between adaptability and creativity suggests that enhancing one can have reciprocal benefits for the other. By fostering an environment where creativity is encouraged, organizations can inherently boost their adaptability, preparing themselves better for future changes and challenges.

Adaptability in the Workplace

The necessity for adaptability in the workplace has never been more evident. Look no further than the shift to remote work, brought about by the pandemic and technological advancements. It’s discussed by nearly every guest on the highly regarded Geeks Geezers and Googlization podcast. Where people work presents a clear example of how workplaces had to quickly adapt to continue operations. This scenario underscored the significance of adaptable strategies in maintaining productivity and mental health amid unforeseen changes.

Furthermore, discussions about AI and automation highlight the transformative nature of technology in the workplace. As industries evolve, the demand for skills shifts, making adaptability not just beneficial but essential for career survival and growth. The podcast discusses how these unprecedented technological shifts not only reshape the job landscape but render many skills obsolete at a record pace.

Employers and employees alike can foster workplace adaptability by prioritizing continuous learning and flexibility in their strategic planning. Tools like the AQ Plus Mindset, mentioned in the podcast, provide frameworks through which organizations can cultivate an adaptable mindset, ensuring they remain relevant and competitive in a rapidly changing world.

Tools and Techniques for Developing Adaptability

To truly embrace adaptability, individuals and organizations must adopt practical tools and strategies. Another tool introduced in the podcast is the AQai Assessment, designed to assess and enhance adaptability. These tools focus not only on skill development but also character and environmental adjustments, reflecting a holistic approach to adaptability.

Both Rory and Miriam emphasize the role of positive psychology and therapeutic approaches in fostering a resilient and adaptable mindset. Techniques such as mindfulness, emotional regulation, and cognitive reframing are crucial for managing stress and uncertainty—key components of adaptability. Through such practices, individuals can transform how they respond to change, making adaptability a core aspect of their personality and work ethos.

Additionally, the episodes highlight the importance of community and support networks in developing adaptability. Whether in a workplace setting or personal growth, having a reliable support system can provide the encouragement and feedback necessary for continuous improvement in adaptability. By leveraging these tools and support systems, individuals can progressively build their capacity to handle and instigate change effectively.


Throughout this exploration of adaptability, it’s evident that adaptability is not just a beneficial trait but a necessary one for modern living. Whether adjusting to lifestyle changes, maneuvering through workplace transformations, or navigating societal shifts, the ability to adapt is what separates the dynamic from the stagnant.

Encouragingly, adaptability is a trait that can be developed and honed with intentional effort. By engaging with strategies and tools like those discussed on the podcast, individuals can enhance their capacity for adaptability, staging themselves not just to respond to change but to lead it. As we continue to face an ever-changing world, cultivating adaptability remains a fundamental challenge—and opportunity—for all of us.

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First things first: what does grit even mean? You’ve probably heard the advice “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” attributed to coach Kunte Rockne. That quote captures the essence of grit.  The character trait of grit often refers to passion, the consistency of interest, and perseverance, the ability to endure tough times.

For instance, we’ve all experienced setbacks. They could range from struggling to learn a new skill, recovering from an injury, losing a job, or even bankruptcy.

What Does Grit Look Like?

People with high levels of Grit are confident in achieving long-term goals. They are often described as ‘determined’ and ‘hard workers’. No-pain-no-gain might be the grit motto. Gritty people tend to keep going until the work is done. They take pride in finishing what they start. Their mental focus and emotional stamina are very high. They don’t let short-term gains, negative feedback, or hectic schedules deter them. People with high grit are not discouraged easily; they see setbacks and obstacles as challenges that can be overcome with commitment and hard work. Grit, however, is not always a good thing. Gritty people are often so focused on their goals that they get blinded-sided by outside influences and have blind spots when it comes to alternative ideas. 

People with low levels of grit give up quickly. Setbacks and obstacles easily discourage them. When change happens they can find it difficult to stay on course with long-term goals. They flee at the first sign of trouble and often blame others. They start a lot of projects but get discouraged easily. 

How Grit Can Help Your Business

Why is grit something you need to look for when hiring and developing employees? The future of work is full of opportunity but the journey will be anything but certain. Perseverance and passion will be needed in abundance. These are some scenarios where employees with grit become a beneficial trait for your company.

They Understand That Good Things Take Time

Millennials have often been criticized for their need for instant gratification. While it might be true for some of them, grit had to be part of this generation’s makeup. Now in their 30s and 40s, they have endured school shootings, 9/11 terrorism, and the Great Recession…and they are now growing and thriving. It’s only human to get frustrated when we don’t see the instant rewards from our work. Contributing to a project day in and day out, and not getting recognition or confronting bureaucratic idiocy, is disheartening. Many employees may be tempted to just quit.

If your employee has grit, however, they know good things take time. Setbacks are not failures, but part of the journey.  When personal interests align with goals, it’s easier to persevere and feel that your efforts will be rewarded. People with grit stay and push through.