If You Can Learn Something New Every Day, You Can Better Adapt to the Future
Lesson Learned from Charles Darwin
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” — Charles Darwin
This is a great lesson learned from how nature works. In Principles, Ray Dalio also mentions the importance of learning from how nature works and how it evolves.
Adaptability is key to our own survival and development.
This has been monumental in my own personal growth. There are many things I used to think I couldn’t do something. When came time to do things out of my comfort zone, I would simply accept that it wasn’t for me or that I couldn’t do it.
One day I said to myself: “Enough is enough!”.
I decided NOW was the time to conquer my fears of height and drowning. I did rock climbing for a bit. I’m still scared, but less so than before. I practiced swimming a few times. I tried surfing and jet-skiing. Again, I’m still scared, but it doesn’t paralyze me anymore.
Eight months ago, I started to deliberately learn three new skills every month. It changed my life forever. I became more versatile. I became more adaptable. Little did I know that practicing three completely different skills for 15 hours each every month would I become that adaptable and start learning a lot faster.
Today, I feel like I’m more ready than ever to tackle the rapid changes in society.
Lesson Learned From Thomas A. Edison
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” — Thomas A. Edison
This is a brilliant display of how persistence is key to achieving anything in life, no matter how smart you are.
No one can deny everything we owe to Edison, yet few realize that he “failed” many more times than any of us will ever “fail”.
In the field of experimentation (aka life), there is no such thing as a failure. The moment we realize that, no matter what we try, if it doesn’t endanger our life or the life of others, we are free to experiment and see what works and what doesn’t. If it doesn’t work, great, you learned something.
Because of how all of us were educated, we are afraid of failure. We don’t want to get an “F” in life. When you get an “F” in school, you then work harder and get a “B”. If you hadn’t “failed” in the first place, you may have gotten a “C”.
The problem is, we stop at the first, second or third failure — rarely going much further than that. Dare go beyond that. Edison did, many times, and so did pretty much all the other successful people you and I know.
Lessons Learned From Max McKeown
“All failure is failure to adapt, all success is successful adaptation.” — Max McKeown
I love this quote. It’s at the intersection of what Darwin and Edison said in the previous two quotes, touching on both failure and adaptability.
You cannot adapt without doing. You cannot fail or succeed without doing. You cannot adapt without failing. Only once you’ve adapted will you succeed.
There is no one set of principles you can apply to every situation. That’s why, in some ways, everything you read about self-development on the internet is BS. The person who will succeed is the person who applies the right set of principles for the right situation.
If you haven’t read Principles, by Ray Dalio, it’s a great reference for learning important principles both in life and business. Once you understand and remember the principles, you can start applying them to the right situations.
In short, here are the three lessons I learned from the quotes above:
- Adaptability is key to our own survival and development;
- Only once you’ve adapted will you succeed; and
- Persistence is key to achieving anything in life.
These are three of the most important lessons one can learn. They were applied by Charles Darwin, Thomas A. Edison, Max McKeown, and pretty much all other successful people we’ve known throughout history.
My own adaptability came from deliberately learning three new skills every month. It didn’t matter how many times I failed during the month, I had to keep going. I learned things that put me out of my comfort zone and made me the versatile person that I am today.
And that’s what I want for you too.
It may seem hard or daunting at first because we’re conditioned to think in black and white when it comes to success, but the more you do get out of your comfort zone, the easier it gets. In fact, make going out of your comfort zone a habit. Remember, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!
You can do this!
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