In Times of Change, Those Who Adapt Quickly Will Win

Visual Freedom

Photo by Balaji Malliswamy on Unsplash

You’ve undoubtedly heard Charles Darwins’ famous quote more than once in your lifetime:

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

Right now, as we are facing a global health crisis, this quote applies more than ever before.

I am assertive we will soon beat the virus itself and manage to minimize the number of new infections and deaths, yet, we all know that the economic consequences will stay with us for some time.

I am 22 years old, and this is the first time I am aware of a global crisis like this, and admittedly, just like most other people, I am confused.

We don’t know how all of this is going to end; we don’t know if one of our beloved ones or ourselves will be infected; we don’t know if we should stock up our homes with more pasta and toilet paper and we don’t know which information to trust.

In my home country, Austria, people are terrified and confused right now.

However, there’s one thing we undoubtedly know: When it comes to the economic impact of the virus, those who adapt quickly will win.

Right now, many people fear their existence. Not only because of the virus itself but because of the economic effects, the whole epidemic will have on their lives.

My father, for example, is a taxi driver at the airport in Vienna. For over a month, he has almost no work to do as the number of travelers and customers sharply declined. As he is self-employed, no customers equal no income. However, he has a lot of monthly bills to pay: rent, car insurance, etc.

And I believe a significant part of the world’s population is facing similar problems. No matter if you are employed, running a small business, or operating a huge company — the coronavirus is already leaving marks. Whilst nobody seems to be prepared for the virus and its implications, some people will win, while others will lose tremendously.

While some people and businesses, like my dad, don’t have many opportunities to change their current state, many others are indeed able to adapt their lifestyles and businesses.

Just like in any major crisis in humankind’s history, some people will make use of the situation and win the game. And I am not talking about exploitation or any illegal actions.

Some people will be smart enough to see new chances arise, and they will make use of new opportunities. At the same time, the majority of the population will be busy feeling sorry for themselves and figuring out how to pay their bills.

“Action and adaptability create opportunity.”
— Garrison Wynn

The coronavirus is horrible. It already cost us so many lives and lead to so much panic and fear. While I sincerely hope our health and economic systems will quickly recover from this woof, I believe it will take us at least some months to get back to our normal lives.

And while some of us will lose a lot, some others will use those hard times to build incredible things and strengthen their positions.

The definition of adaptation is the following:

“Adaptation is the physical or behavioural characteristic of an organism that helps an organism to survive better in the surrounding environment.”

We all adapt to the habitat we live in to survive.

Animals adapt and adjust themselves to survive and maximize their survival.

Those who successfully adapt are the ones who can survive and reproduce.

While in biological terms, we can say that adaptation increases an organism’s chance of survival and chance of reproducing, we need to think beyond when it comes to adaptation because of the coronavirus.

Families and communities won’t die out because of the virus. But many people will face severe financial struggles.

From a global perspective, the coronavirus is hitting thousands of people regarding their health, but it is hitting millions when it comes to financial security and safety. One of the results of the coronavirus will be rising numbers of depressions and suicides as people won’t be able to afford their habitual standard of living.

“Nobody likes to change. There will always be resistance to change, and there always will be change. And the quicker you get to that, the easier it is. It’s not such a difficult thing. “— Nick Nolte

Business as usual was yesterday…

Religions are adapting.

While a few months ago, probably no one was talking about how to digitalize religious acts such as going to the church or mosque, right now, it’s becoming an everyday ritual.

Most countries have no other chance than adjusting to the new reality, which includes the coronavirus.

Religious gatherings bring people close to each other, so it is essential to avoid those activities or even ban them entirely.

Many churches and synagogues, for example, are offering their services through live streams. What might have been unthinkable a few months ago, is now the everyday reality because…those who adapt will win.

Corporations are adapting.

While remote work “was not possible” for many employees in big corporations, suddenly the employers are finding ways to make it work…because there’s no other way than adapting.

Now that the danger is too significant to be sitting in a tight, open space office with hundreds of co-workers. Suddenly, most of the work can be done from home offices. Companies will either adapt quickly and get work done remotely, or they will die (or at least they will suffer heavily). Admittedly, I believe many will give remote work a chance before closing down their companies.

Well, when there is a will, there is a way, right?

Restaurants are adapting.

As people all over the globe give their best to reduce social contacts, restaurants are also adapting to those significant changes. Some of them, for instance, offer more pick-up and delivery solutions as customers don’t want to sit in closed spaces for lunch or dinner.

Event organizers are adapting.

I don’t know how it’s across the globe, but here in Austria, most conferences and significant events take place around March, April, and May.

Obviously, most of those were canceled due to our new friend, corona.

While some organizers canceled or postponed their events, some others adapted and decided to live stream the event so that the content can be delivered despite the global crisis.

Usually, the primary value of events is the networking part, not the keynotes. Yet, instead of entirely canceling an event, a live stream might be more profitable and beneficial at such times. As people are mainly sitting in their homes, delivering inspirational content is great anyways.

Not everyone can adapt.

While those who adapt will win, not everyone and every business can change.

For instance, many small businesses rely on supplies from China or other countries across the globe, which currently can’t deliver anything.

For these businesses, adaptation will take much longer than for a solely digital business, which can quickly adapt structures and business models.

Across the whole globe, we expect significant changes in how we do business and how we live as societies. The coronavirus is likely to fuel areas like online shopping, e-learning, or remote work, and it will surely cut off a few things we took for granted so far.

Yes, not everyone can adapt to these significant challenges. My dad, for instance, will face hard times as it will obviously take months until international air travel, and thus his job will recover from this crisis.

Yet, each of us has the opportunity to find new ways.

If you don’t only want to survive but win the game in times of coronavirus, you need to understand the concept of adaptation. Think outside the box. Figure out what people currently need. Find ways to solve the current problems we are globally facing. Think of unique skills and knowledge only you have that you can bring together to create products and services we need right now. Don’t exploit the situation but find ways to support your community, or the world, in fighting this crisis.

“Adaptability is about the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win.”
— Max McKeown

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