The world is changing at an incredible rate and technology is advancing faster than ever before. In such a dynamic environment, it is important to be prepared to continuously learn and re-learn. Why and how to adapt to constant change and still feel comfortable – let’s talk to an expert.
WHAT IS ADAPTIVE INTELLIGENCE?
One of the founders of the theory of adaptive intelligence, Robert Sternberg, professor of psychology at the University of Oklahoma, defines adaptability as the ability of the mind to change in response to current environmental demands.
Simply put, adaptability is a set of skills that help you navigate new environments quickly and without stress. These include flexibility, a positive attitude, the ability to analyse a situation and come up with new solutions.
Why adaptability is so important
Decades ago, the paradigm of education was limited to the traditional scheme: schooling at school, then entering university and, finally, employment in the chosen profession with a smooth progression through the career ladder.
But this concept has changed and the time of ‘one knowledge’ is irrevocably gone. Now true learning goes beyond the mere acquisition of information. As the American philosopher and sociologist Alvin Toffler wrote in his 1970 book Future Shock, illiterates in the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.
There is no doubt: it is not easy to give up what has governed our lives for so long
However, if we want to keep up with the present and readily face the future, we have no alternative but to embrace change and adapt to what is happening around us.
This is important not only in everyday life, but also in business communications and career development. Even today, employers are increasingly focusing on soft skills when hiring employees, which means that adaptability can open the door to new career opportunities. According to the latest data from the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, in the near future people will make up to 12 career transitions in their lifetime.
In order to change the field of activity, a person will have to retrain and master new competences
This is complex, often emotional work. A short course or a series of online modules may be enough to impart the information needed to develop new knowledge, but too little to change habitual behaviour. Genuine learning involves a literal process of transforming ways of thinking, developing new habits, heuristics and biases. Therefore, while learning to unlearn, it is crucial to keep one’s eye on the ultimate goal of personal and professional growth.
How to develop adaptive intelligence
Combining skills is the ideal formula for adaptive intelligence
Harry Coulton, researcher and founder of the American company Adaptive Intelligence Consulting, believes that the concept of adaptive intelligence combines the skills of emotional, mental and positive intelligence.
The development and combination of these skills helps us to think flexibly, communicate effectively, solve non-standard tasks and open up to changes more easily – to face them more courageously and even initiate them ourselves.
To increase your adaptability, start developing…
- Resilience – the ability to overcome obstacles, recover from stressful situations and calmly accept change.
- Growth mindset – the belief that you can develop whatever skills you dream of.
- Strategic thinking – the ability to analyse a situation from different angles, visualise the end result and predict possible outcomes.
- Flexibility – the brain’s ability to adapt to new, changing or unplanned events.
- Learnability – the skills and willingness to use past experiences to explore new ones and find different behavioural scripts to help deal with issues in the face of change
- Self-organisation and planning – the ability to allocate time and resources effectively, set priorities and follow a defined plan of action
- Diligence – the willingness to put in the effort and focus on the task at hand to move confidently towards success.
- Creativity – the ability to think outside the box, combine elements in unusual ways or find solutions that have not been considered before.
- Self-awareness – the ability to recognise your values, beliefs and feelings, to see your strengths and weaknesses
- Empathy – the ability to understand other people’s feelings, empathise and build effective interactions.
Find your optimal learning style
Learning can take any form in the way information is perceived:
- Visual – suggests that people absorb information best through pictures, graphics and charts.
- The auditory learning style would suit those who absorb information best when listening to lectures, audiobooks and discussions.
- The kinesthetic learning style is related to movement and touch and involves being able to physically interact with the material. Ways of doing this learning can be through experimentation, learning by movement, and even while drawing or performing sports activities.
Bringing change into your life is something you can do right now.
Top 5 universal tips to help you get started:
- explore what you don’t know but what piques your interest, whether it’s learning a foreign language, reading a book, or starting a blog where you can be the author of your own story;
- have new experiences: move, take unfamiliar routes, listen to audiobooks during routine activities;
- join professional communities and surround yourself with like-minded people with whom you can share your interests and expand your circle of acquaintances;
- develop a keen eye – observe what is going on around you and reflect on new information;
- put what you have learnt into practice and share it with others.
To successfully engage in the movement of the modern world, free yourself from old attitudes and patterns. The key to all possibilities lies within ourselves, in our openness to challenge – our willingness to let go of what we think we know. And to re-explore what we need to know.