The Ability to Adapt

As Heraclitus once said, “no man ever enters the same river twice, because the river is never the same, and he is not the same man.” Knowing how to adjust to that constant flow is the secret to health and wellness.

We live in an ever-changing world. Nature has various life cycles and in each of them, we can feel the signs of time passing. Plants transform according to the seasons, all living beings are born, grow and change from day to day. Even the mountains are not still but follow the telluric movements and crumble if hit by the wind and other atmospheric agents.

The society we live in is also undergoing constant change. Over time, civilizations that seemed immortal have flourished, political and social systems designed to last, but destined to fall precisely because of their inability to cope with changes, because they are too rigid, static and therefore far from the essence of life. Every earthly element – be it physical, social or political – has in itself the seed of contingency; it evolves from day to day and must be fed continuously, respecting its growth phases.

Yet our senses and our mind continually try to cage in fixed and regular structures that is constantly changing. We persist in creating universal laws, signing agreements for life, and knowing full well that things will change.

Our mind tends to “keep” a multitude of thoughts, sensations, emotions, and feelings, according to more or less consolidated and tested patterns and habits. A “security” is obtained through the maintenance of a static routine, which can achieve its goal only by accepting not to take into consideration anything other than the “already known”.

But what happens if in the multitude of feelings-thoughts with which we have become familiar and which therefore we feel reassuring, a new thought sneaks in unexpectedly and suddenly? It only takes one to upset the balance. The lack of certainty makes us feel restless in the face of uncertainty, and variability, and any variation in the surrounding environment is perceived as a threat.

There comes a time for all of us when we are practically forced to face these realities. Perhaps we can only do this with the ability to adapt which is movement, change, and above all flexibility. It is the ability to give appropriate responses to changing situations.

Above all, this requires being able to change behaviours, thoughts, and emotions. Because without the right state of mind, there will be no new ideas, and without innovative, safe, and daring thoughts the right behaviors will not be adopted.

Adapting does not mean giving up our personality. We don’t have to start from scratch but start from our own experience. We cannot shed our skin to wear another, it would go against our essence, what we have learned, our values, and our identity.

The ability to adapt allows us to detect those skills that have allowed us to advance to the present moment, set aside those that don’t work, and learn new ones.

Those who adapt train the emotional and cognitive flexibility that allows them to face new realities with better resources, balance, and intuition.

And this concept does not apply only to human beings.

Companies and the society in which we live know that to grow we need to invest in three dimensions: learning ability, adaptability, and mobility.

Companies have to adapt to the dynamics of a market that is constantly changing, adding new complexities to manage every day.

To obtain these results, companies need to “have on board” people who are not bound by pre-established schemes. Companies today need resources that can adapt to customer needs, changing technologies, and new job roles. They must have transversal skills but also technical knowledge and must know how to contaminate themselves in the world.

Adaptation is the only mechanism that allows us to progress in all directions.


Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo is a lawyer and teacher of law & Economic Sciences, "lent" to the finance world. He has worked, in fact, 35 years long for a multinational company of financial service in the auto sector, where he held various roles, until that of CEO. In the corporate field, he has acquired skills and held positions as Credit Manager, Human Resource Manager, Team leader for projects of Acquisition & Merger, branch opening, company restructuring, outplacement, legal compliance, analysis and innovation of organizational processes, business partnerships, relations with Trade Unions and Financial Control Institutions. After leaving the company, he continued as an external member of the Board of Directors e, at the same time, he has gone back practicing law and was a management consultant for various companies. He has been also a columnist for newspapers specializing in labor law, automotive services and work organization. His interests include human behavior in the organizational environment, to the neuroscience, the impact of new technologies, the fate of the planet and people facing poverty or war scenarios. He loves traveling, reading, is passionate about many sports, follows the NBA and practices tennis.

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  1. Excellent post, Aldo

    You discussed nicely the change-adaptability relationship.

    This brings me to the challenging idea that you mentioned regarding long-term binding agreements. You have a point. An agreement has validity in a changing world. The value of an agreement may expire with change.
    This is an interesting post.

    • Glad you can find interesting ideas in my post. Reading your feedback is useful for discussion but even more gratifying is knowing that you can find the inspiration for one of your next brilliant articles.
      Thank you with all my heart.