Adaptability in a Changing World

Adaptability in a Changing World

Adaptability was the key to survival in the ancient world and will be the key to survival in the changing world we are experiencing.

We don’t need to drastically change our appearance to blend into our environment like the chameleon in the photo.

We do need to change our thinking, our habits and our way of doing things.

History is full of examples of species and cultures that have been unable to adapt to changing circumstances or conditions and have disappeared. History also provides examples of species and cultures that have shown the adaptability to survive and thrive in changing environments.


Vervet Monkey in Garden

courtesy sonel pixabay

Two species of animals that come to mind are the Vervet Monkey and the Baboon in Southern Africa. Both have become accustomed to living closely with humans and scavenging fruit, vegetables and left-overs from gardens or garbage cans. Like any successful parasite or partner in a symbiotic relationship, they rarely overwhelm their hosts.

The list of extinct species, doomed by some adversity, an inability to adapt to changing environments or overwhelmed by competition for habitat, food or shelter from other species is huge.

Some human cultures adapt quickly to environmental changes, conquest, colonisation, exotic diseases. Others succumb to one or more of those or different factors.

Adaptability for Automation and Artificial Intelligence

The two biggest threats to many jobs and two huge opportunities for those who can adapt.

There are many forecasts about jobs that will become redundant in fields as diverse as medicine, transport and agriculture – over and above manufacturing and assembly which have shed jobs for years as robots take over routine tasks.

We don’t know the extent or the timing. We don’t know what new jobs will be created. What new opportunities for entrepreneurs, self-employed professionals or independent contractors will rise out of the ashes of conventional redundant jobs.

The full extent of the demise of switchboard operators and fax salespeople only became obvious when significant numbers had already been made redundant by new technology, operating systems or allocation of labour.


Telephone Switchboard

Self-driving cars, transport vehicles, mining and agricultural equipment are expected to have a major impact on the number of drivers needed in corporate or public service operations. But we don’t know how many jobs will be lost nor how many new, different jobs will be created.

What we do know is that change is coming, it’s going to affect most of us to a greater or lesser degree so we need to develop the adaptability to survive.

How do we do that?

By observing what is going on around us, in other fields we may not be as familiar with, how our family members, friends and acquaintances are being affected and how they are coping.

Most of all, we need to have a curious mind, ask questions and think.