François de la Rochefoucauld once said that “the only constant in life is change.” It may also be said that how we face that change helps to define us. Having two parents who served in the military, I was raised with the phrase “Improvise, adapt, and overcome,” being their source for motivation and advise for tackling a problem. “Improvise, adapt, and overcome,” may be a military phrase, largely associated with the Marines, but it is one that larely applies to business and life and can help us overcome any obstacle that Change may put in our way.
“The only thing constant in life is change.”—Francios de la Rochefoucauld
In military leadership training, future leaders are put under high pressure and expected to learn to improvise in extreme situations, adapt to the situation’s needs, and thereby overcome their obstacles. In their case, they are being prepared to handle life and death situations and high stress scenarios in order to successfully carry out their missions. That doesn’t sound too different from normal life—minus the life-threatening aspects.
Changes happen. Things don’t go as planned, something goes wrong, or the tools we thought we’d have are unavailable. We have tasks to complete, jobs on the line, bills to pay, and our own versions of “high stress scenarios.” Can you improvise? Can you easily adapt to a new situation and do what needs to be done? According to the military, these are key abilities of a leader.
Whether in business or in life, we must learn to be able to do the same. We must improvise, adapt, and overcome in order to succeed and survive in an ever changing world. People who lost their jobs in this economy have to find new ways to stay competitive. Everything is electronic. It’s a global economy now. Etc.
“True necessity forces innovation by way of improvisation and adaptation. That’s called survival.”
True necessity forces innovation by way of improvisation and adaptation. That’s called survival. From where I am sitting, the world is gearing up to handle a great many new changes and challenges, with the Euro crisis, the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, and the task of decreasing unemployment being a few of them. Each of these is a change, a challenge, something to be overcome or adapted to.
No matter what your challenge is right now, if you can improvise, and adapt, you can overcome anything.
It seems Francois is right; change is a constant factor in life, but no matter what your challenge is right now, whatever Change has brought you, if you can improvise and adapt, you can overcome anything.
Have additional advice on accepting change and overcoming obstacles? Please share them below!
**My thanks to all the men and women currently serving or who have served in the military.**