ADAPT OR DIE – Adaptability is Key.

  • Change is a part of everyday life.

  • The ability to cope with change has become important in today’s world.

  • As young people become more adaptable they will better embrace the opportunities of the evolving world.


Change and uncertainty are a part of life.

Change can be scary, intimidating, disconcerting, and nerve-wracking.

Situations, circumstances or workplaces can change extremely quickly.

During the lifetime of today’s youth their world will change and change again.

Without the ability to adapt, people become stuck and unable to reach their goals.

If individuals cannot adapt to change, they will be left behind.

Adapting to change involves stepping out of a comfort zone and into the challenging unknown.

The capacity to adapt involves creating new mindsets and behaviours.

This requires mental, emotional, and physical abilities.

The ability to cope with change has become important in this evolving world.


  • Behavioural – involves adjusting one’s actions or behaviour in response to uncertainty.

  • Cognitive – involves adjusting one’s thinking.

  • Emotional – involves adjusting one’s positive and negative emotions.


  • Resistance to change seemed to be related more to insecurity and uneasiness.

  • It has been found that the younger the participant, the higher their resistance is to change.

  • Resistance to change is partly a personality trait that affects the individual’s behaviour.

  • It may also be seen as an external phenomenon due to a change in the individual’s life situation.

  • Most resistance to change is natural such as inaction, skepticism, and reluctance.

  • Those with a high level of resistance to change have fewer life experiences.

  • It appears that more research is required before theories of resistance to change are fully developed.


The ability to adapt to new situations and environments is one of the first skills needed.

This develops with practice.


Young people who are more adaptable tend to:

  • take part more in group activities;
  • have higher self-esteem;
  • have a more concrete sense of meaning and purpose in life;
  • have better academic and non-academic outcomes;
  • have a greater opportunity to get what they want and what they need;
  • survive and thrive in a changing world;
  • lead a fulfilled, meaningful life; and
  • are more satisfied with life.


  • Establish regular scheduled sessions where youth can communicate and collaborate.

  • Discuss why adaptability is critical to their future.

  • Discuss how the changes in life, big and small, offer them the chance to grow and prepare for what life has to offer.

  • Discuss the power of using habits to adapt to challenges. Note on average, it takes around two months for a new behavior to become automatic.

  • Discuss how to overcome the fear of making mistakes and realize that mistakes are fixable.

  • Have them complete a QUIZ with questions such as:

    • How do you feel about how changes affect you?

    • Are changes necessary and inevitable?

    • How have you handled past changes?

    • How much personal responsibility do you take to changes occurring? (Scale Low 1 to High 5)

    • What is your attitude to change? (Negative 1 to Positive 5)

    • How accountable are you to adapting to a change?

  • Encourage them to take ‘baby steps.‘ Small steps will build confidence to try more new things.

  • Over time they learn to try new actions that change their approach to life.

  • Encourage them to research and review different options when faced with a new situation.

  • Have them review what is the worst case and best case scenarios to put the change into perspective.

  • Discuss how to learn and strengthen optimism.

  • Review options such as a vision board, guided meditation, or journaling to assist.

  • Review the change process steps below with them.


    • The following steps can reduce the the fear and dread of the unknown.

      • Define the issues;

      • Determine strategies to approach the challenges;

      • Implement changes;

      • Check progress and effectiveness; and

      • Repeat often.

  • When circumstances change encourage them to learn to minimize disappointment and maximize enjoyment.

  • Guide them through the behaviours, thoughts and emotions essential to succeed on new tasks.


Here are examples of impromptu topics for group sessions.

  • When you changed your routine for how long did it feel odd?

  • When starting new activities how do you avoid frustration and embarrassment?

  • When helping others what new skills did you learn and what new people did you meet?

  • What new changes are you excited in spite of possible stress and fear?

  • How has resistance to change affected you?

  • Have you gone outside and experienced nature and what resulted?

  • When you help others, has it affected your outlook on your challenges?

Guidance and caring from others can benefit young people.

Recognize those who make advancements in their progress towards positive improvements.

NOTE: Every person is different and what works for some may not work for others

As young people become more adaptable they will better embrace the opportunities of the ever-changing world.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions please contact us.

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There is a guide available which assists parents and others working with youth.

The guide enables a person to be proactive in the success of a child’s future.

It contains activities to assist youth to gain critical soft skills.

They will become more resourceful and independent when they practice and gain these skills.

The guide is available from Our Future Leaders.

Request the Parent’s Guide here


What are you going to do to assist children to become our future leaders?

Fred Jones

Victoria, BC Canada

Fred Jones

Fred Jones

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