I find it profound how quickly we humans can adapt to change and new surroundings — good and bad. Smoking is a great bad type of adaptation. Even though the damage happens every time you smoke, our bodies can overcome years of pummeling your lungs with cigarettes before you usually have seriously harmful effects. Let’s look at an example on the good adaptation side of life: working out.
Working out after a long stint away is typically a disaster. (Or if you’ve never worked out in your life) Your breathing is heavy, like it’s a hot summer day you just ate a bag full of donuts. Your clothes sticking, everywhere. Everything hurts — before, during and after. And afterwards, you get so hungry you immediately want to go through the Chick-fil-A drive thru and pound an order of 48-count nugget meal with a cookies and cream milkshake. (No?)
I’m exaggerating, of course, but it is challenging to get back into the swing of things and exercise. But then,
you adapt. You keep working out again and again. You stop breathing like an elephant (no offense to any elephants out there). Working out becomes your new normal.
Adaptation is a gift and a curse. (Mostly a gift).
In some cases, we can adapt to bad situations and environments that we shouldn’t be in, or don’t want to be in — bad relationships, financial, work or even family circumstances. It’s great when we can handle and adapt to life’s hard punches. But when the hard punches become our new normal, we get stuck in believes that life will always be this way, and always knock us down, but in reality this is just where we are in life, right now. Nothing is permanent. Roads must be repaired and kept up. Paintings crack. Building crumble. We die. But in that impermanence comes hope: change is always happening, change is limitless and if we learn to view change in the right light, we can adapt and even create change we want to see. In impermanence becomes malleability. We can envision the life and world we want to see, and go out and make it, and fight for it.
Adaption is also a gift, because it allows us to push boundaries and go to places we never thought we could go. Every time you put in the work, put in the practice, put in the effort in your craft or pursuit, you grow. You get a little better. You adapt to a new normal, and then you think, ‘what’s next?’ No on thought it was possible to break a four-minute mile, until Roger Bannister did. Now thousands of people have. Normals are meant to be broken.
Think of areas in your life where you want to improve or challenge yourself. What’s your normal right now? Where would you like to see yourself tomorrow, next week, 6 months from now? What can you do right now to get started challenge your current normal?
STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner
Daily Blog #588