Adaptability: Being able to adapt yourself to situations as tea adapts to the container it’s poured into.
Adaptability is a right pretty little word, isn’t it? It’s a word you don’t see very often and an art form that few seem capable of practicing. If people were more adaptable, you’d see fewer emotional outbursts in traffic, fewer scowls in long grocery lines, and fewer people searching for “Stress Busters” on Google.
Life is filled with changing circumstances. Nothing, absolutely nothing, stays the same. In fact, situations change as often as the weather. As we adapt our clothing to the weather, we have to master the art of adapting our actions, thoughts, and emotions to circumstances. If we allow new situations to throw us into a tailwind, we’ll look as ridiculous as we would wearing flip flops in snow.
A few weeks ago, I was stuck in traffic on one of the main roads here in Owensboro. There was nothing but the back ends of cars as far as the eye could see. I popped in one of my classical music cds (I thought the situation called for Tchaikovsky) and thanked God for the Venti Iced Green Tea I’d just bought at Starbucks. As a small voice inside my head said, “Um, I really don’t have time for this. I need to get these groceries home, fill the bird feeders, start supper, do laundry, and add a recipe to my food blog< \a>…” a louder, wiser voice said, “Wow, with that much to do, you should enjoy this still and quiet time while you can.”
It’s simply better for the psyche to look for a pretty face hiding behind an ugly mask rather than focus all your energy on the ugliness of the mask.
Speaking of ugly, a man to the right of me kept yelling “Come On!” and “Are you kidding me?!” Tchaikovsky and I wondered who, exactly, could “Come on!” and who, exactly, he thought was kidding him. As far as we could see, the stop lights were in charge of the situation and I’m pretty sure they weren’t the kidding type.
A woman in front of me had her head hung on her steering wheel and looked so dejected I thought she’d burst into tears at any moment. I think the light kind of hurt her feelings, but I’m not certain.
I kind of wanted to thank both of these drivers for the show they were putting on but, deep down inside, I kind of felt sorry for them. If something like traffic rattles their cage, their cage isn’t set on a very firm foundation.
Could these two people have had pressing matters and important places to be? Possibly. But the point is, their response to the situation made the situation worse, not better. They allowed their neck (and face) muscles to tense and their pulse to race. Each one’s central nervous system must have thought something far worse than traffic was going on!
Adaptability, which you can think of as flexibility, means being able to change when the circumstances (or the situation) require it. Like all good traits and healthy habits, your ability to be more adaptable (flexible) will become stronger the more you practice. Make it a point to adapt to situations in a mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy way as often as possible. Before you know it, it’ll be your default mode and you might just find yourself sipping iced tea, listening to relaxing music, chilling like a villain, and watching others come unglued.
Let’s just say, it’s a healthier approach.