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Evolution doesn’t say the smartest or the fastest win, it says those who win are the best at one thing — adaptation.

Successful people and companies that have been in business for a long time have one thing in common: year after year, they’ve successfully adapted to the new circumstances as they’ve arisen. They’ve changed their marketing, revamped their product line, or changed their branding; they’ve changed with the times and thus survived.

This is a simple observation, but it is crucial to understand it on a truly visceral level. And it is also crucial to translate this abstract thought into practice.

So if you understand that adaptation is important, what to do about it?

Be flexible and open in your thinking

To adapt successfully to a change in the environment, you need to be perceptive of the change and at the same time you need to consider it consciously and carefully. If you see something new and automatically think it would never work, or if you don’t believe it, or if you think it’s impossible right from the beginning, it will stop you from truly understanding it and then using it to your advantage.

Confront reality

The second piece is that even if your mind was the most flexible in the world, as Bruce Lee would say mind like water, you can’t hope to adapt if you’re not in touch with true reality. If you operate in a protective cocoon like a school, you might be adapting and creating behaviors that will fail spectacularly outside its limited confines.

You have to find ways to confront true reality, to seek feedback, to observe how what do you impacts other people so that you can react in a precise manner and make the changes that are most important to your life.

The world is changing fast. The skill we should praise above all is adaptability. Schools should teach us to adapt to the world around us, they should teach us to be flexible and open in our thinking and to confront reality so that we can validate our thoughts and ideas and make sure they work. But they schools don’t, unfortunately. That’s why we have to learn it on our.

So I invite you today to see if you can be more flexible and open, consider new circumstances carefully and confront reality in a way that helps you adapt, survive, and succeed.

Maybe there is an area of your life where you are clinging to your old ways of being, where you are resisting adaptation because it’s more comfortable. It might be using a new work tool, using new marketing software, or finally learning what coding is about.

Or maybe the environment around you has shifted. Your industry has undergone a change, or been upended by the information available on the Internet and you’ve just been slow to catch up. That could be true for many industries and complex systems like education.

Whatever it is, not adapting costs you energy, effort, or money in the long-run that is life. Stop this waste now, adapt.