“Adaptability: A wise man adapts himself to circumstances as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it”
Resilience, on the opposite side, is a characteristic, inherent potential locked up within a spring. It enables the device to gain its original form soon the grip loosens. Push it beyond a pre-defined degree and it expands its strength to frustrate the forces of influence. This resistance helps it succeed, even if it involves bouncing back as a threat and destroy the cause of undue force. Unlike individuals with a scarcity of this virtue of elasticity, a spring never shudders to affirm its original form when it gets a chance.
Out of the above strategically opposed qualities, how can we choose which one is a better fit for anyone demanding improvement, expansion, growth or influence?
Both of them convey the indisputable virtues we could imitate in life to build cohesiveness and endurance. While adaptability represents humility and forgiveness, resilience takes that same grace to a different stage where we must adhere to our individual personality at any expense. We feel motivated to hold our core values untouched.
Adaptability coaxes us into giving concessions, to take in others’ point of view so we may have better outcomes in matters of broader appeal. Resilience calls for a check on outside influences and to allow a minimal, transitory impression on our faculties to suit a specific requirement.
A stage occurs in life where we see ourselves helpless to impose our own conclusions. Adaptability promoted by the model of water prompts our merger into whatever form required whether it is round, octagon, heptagon, square, cube or triangle. Flexibility propounded by adaptability goes beyond that exhibited by resilience to an enormous range. However, the latter offers protection against giving up our own pattern or principles, shape or personality to go with the others’ impulses. The seeming resistance of a spring offers protection against possible manipulation by those shortsighted.
Growth, development, progress and leadership count among different relevant concepts of achievement, besides much more. Continued improvement demands we take stock of the progress, do due diligence, gather our strengths and overcome weaknesses at frequent intervals. We must exercise caution and engage in a concerted push towards the goal. During the growth phase, we might come across countless other people, both prosperous and those still battling to find direction. Given the challenge, does it make sense for us to be adaptable to help-seekers at each turn, per their individual persona? I do not think so, although you may disagree.
This is where adaptability takes a back seat and resilience comes to the fore. This is one of the fundamental traits outstanding leaders exhibit more often. They ‘talk the talk and walk the walk.’ A competent leader will work as ‘the guide on your side, not a sage on the stage.’ They point not only the road but also serve by example. They stain their own hands first before expecting us to follow suit.
Gifted leaders that recognize the positive influence and its indelible impact on others have an inherent ability to say ‘no.’ The decision, where to give in and when to refuse, comes to them with ease. You will never see them mince their words because they are often outspoken when expectations run high. Instead, they work their own invincible force to yield where required, take hold of the hand of each follower and haul him up to a more advanced terrain of understanding, belief, and conviction to never slide back again.
Resilience nourishes the participants’ perceptive abilities. It helps true leaders create others in their own image out of the ever-growing mixture of followers. Once endowed with the corresponding energy, the young leadership aspirants recognize their individual responsibility to stay above the inducement to yield, blend and then change the succeeding incumbent. Their purpose-oriented coaching empowers them to protect their personal integrity while forging an extra one for the follower next in line.
There are lots of books, thesis, videos, online training programs and other avenues, opportunities for aspiring leaders to follow. They may as well join any program run by outstanding public speakers, soothsayers, leadership gurus and institutions mushrooming across the planet. It is doubtful any of these channels can create significant improvement without these two, fundamental core conditions: adaptability and resilience. Until and unless one gains these characteristics and preserves them same as flesh and blood, even the greatest mentor, trainer, guru or guide will miss an opportunity to produce a positive impact in the long term.