Recently, many of us all throughout the United States have had to drive in all kinds of weather. We have had large snow storms in many places and heavy rain in others. Weather affects our commute just about anywhere we live.
If it was not weather affecting us, it would be something else. When you hop in the car and head out to work, to family, or to all the things you drive to each day, you can expect there will be something to create a delay, a detour, and a diversion. It is just the way of the road.
So, why do we not adjust when we know this is the case? How come so many of us expect to always drive the same speed and get to the same places in the same amount of time when that is not always going to be a reality? I know we cannot control all things. Emergencies or accidents happen, but what about when we could make a change?
Living in an area where there can be heavy snow, I am constantly amazed at the people who drive the same way they always drive, at their usual high speed, and leaving at their normal time.
In sum, people who normally have a 30 minute commute on a dry, sunny morning with the cruise set at 7 miles over the speed limit expect to be able to do the same when roads have 2 feet of snow, are ice packed, and there is a dense fog.
These are the same people who seem to be the most irritated, angry, and frustrated. I cannot verify it, but these seem to be those folks found to be most filled with road-rage. These are the first to tailgate those who are being careful and who are adjusting. These drivers seem to be the first to flip the bird when they race past you.
It is not uncommon for careful drivers to say we are more afraid of other drivers than we are of the conditions on the road. I am amazed at this. What are some of us missing when we rush out the door each day without adapting and adjusting to expected delays?
Why does every radio and TV station I know of have traffic reports? Is it so we can ignore the message and continue to drive our usual way? I think not.
What I believe may be missing is an understanding of the importance of being flexible and adaptable.
We live in a fast-paced and ever-changing world. In so many ways, today is just a warm-up for tomorrow. It has been said there are three kinds of people: “Those who wait for things to happen, those who make things happen, and those who wonder what happened!”
With how fast things change in this world of ours, we better make sure we are keeping up. And this most definitely does not mean speed up! We must get better at seeing what is coming and adjust as quickly as possible.
We no longer live in a world that will wait for us or hold our hands. In the work world alone, adaptability is coming to be one of the most sought after traits. In one study, 91% of HR directors said adaptability was soon going to be key in hiring! This seems to be key everywhere. We are going to have to show that we can change and adjust—and more than just on the road!
So, how can you know if you are an adaptable person? Aside from assessing the way you drive during a snow storm, there are key traits that have come to be associated with adaptability. Let’s examine a few of those traits, so you can assess more than just your winter-driving adaptability.
Seeing the Big Picture
People high in adaptive capacity have a knack for seeing the big picture. They can identify and recognize patterns in themselves and others. They can see emerging and fading trends, and they can look at things systemically.
Even more, they can quickly take this information and turn it into new action. In short, they know when to shift gears, leave earlier, or change their route, and they do it quicker than the average driver out there!
Strong adapters have a strong sense of personal identity. They are quietly confident with themselves and their skill set. They are not cocky or arrogant, but they exude a sense of surety about their talents and ability to make an impact on the world.
They can draw from the well of their personal experiences and proceed with confidence. Perhaps surprisingly, they can change themselves and their behavior quickly. They do not get stuck when they know a personal change is needed.
They know themselves well enough to know when to step on the gas, apply the brakes, or let someone else drive. In short, they have confidence without any ego to get in the way.
No Blame Games
Strong adapters are also high in personal integrity and responsibility. They can take a hit or a hard time without blaming others, shirking responsibility, or hiding it out until the storm passes.
They are quick to see what happened and take ownership. They will own both the mistake and the process of working it out. They waste little precious time pointing fingers or hurling criticism. They own it, analyze it, and step forward.
In sum, if they misjudged conditions of the road and were late, they will quietly get there as fast as possible, change up for the next time, and never blame any other driver on the road.
These are just a few of the ways a person strong in the trait of adaptability thrive and work in this world. A Google search or scholarly study of this topic reveals how adaptability adds to life and success. I highly recommend some reading on this topic!
So, if you are scaring other drivers, or if you are feeling frustrated with the conditions of the road, please consider a self-assessment of your own level of adaptability. Then, make some adjustments. You will have made an important step. You will be becoming more adaptable!
Jim R. Jacobs, LCSW is an author, professional speaker, counselor, and professional coach. He lives with his wife and 4 daughters and 1 son in Denver, Colorado. His book is Driving Lessons For Life: Thoughts on Navigating the Roads of Life. A fun and refreshing ride to better living! Contact – Website – Facebook – LinkedIn – Blog – Youtube – Book
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