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“If we cannot change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor Frankl.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin.*
(Note: The quote has been falsely attributed to Darwin according to Wikiquote.)

What do Victor Frankl and Charles Darwin have in common, and how does it relate to today?

First, let’s explore what these quotes might mean.

“If we cannot change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
If the situation is what it is, or it seems to remain the same for the foreseeable future, then we must adapt, do things differently, leave, do it ourselves, accept it… In short, change ourselves. Complaining, dwelling on it, or focusing on it won’t help because the situation won’t (quickly) change. The problem only gets bigger. It costs even more negative energy and ends in more stress than before.

So, if the organization, management, or a colleague continues to do or not do what we’d like to see differently, we’ll have to learn to deal with it, leave ourselves, accept it, handle it differently… The same goes for the Corona crisis. If it’s here (Corona remains a threat, and 1.5 meters is the new normal), we have to reinvent ourselves. Or our business/workplace, etc. As unpleasant as it may be.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
I recently had a conversation with my father-in-law about the Corona crisis affecting the world. I asked him how things were going at work. He admitted that it’s tough right now, that the company has lost a lot of revenue. But he immediately continued with, “We have to be flexible and start using our creativity. We have to be inventive. Think about new applications, markets, products. Especially now.” I thought immediately that with such an attitude, he/his company would make it. This must have been what Darwin meant back in the day, albeit in a different setting.

So, what do Victor Frankl and Charles Darwin have in common? Adaptation seems to be the magic word. Going with the flow. Adapting to the new situation, seeing opportunities, and seizing them. Even if it takes time and requires overcoming fear.

A lot is being asked of us right now. We may be losing our jobs, a significant amount of income, working from home, having to teach our children ourselves, unable to visit our parents in the nursing home, unable to dine out, etc.

We can’t change the situation, but we can adapt or move with it:

  • McDonald’s employees started offering their services at supermarkets.
  • Restaurants began takeout services.
  • Local businesses like the cheese shop, sandwich store, greengrocer, and butcher teamed up and started joint deliveries.
  • People started singing together on balconies.
  • We wave to our grandparents through the window.
  • We get groceries for the 87-year-old neighbor and leave it on her doorstep.
  • We came up with creative ways to teach our children at home.
  • And so on.

I won’t create an exhaustive list of everyone’s creative initiatives. I do know that people feel stronger and happier through these actions (both giver and receiver). Even now. Or that the company might survive because of it. Or that your children won’t fall behind in school. We are challenged, but if we respond well and intelligently, we can get through it.

How about you? Can you find that mindset within yourself? Or are limiting beliefs in the way? Is there an insurmountable fear?

Maybe you want to talk about it, and we can schedule an appointment. Or respond to my blog, and perhaps we can give each other a good push.

Finally, I have a nice reading tip on this subject: “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Dr. Spencer Johnson.

I found a nice summary and a list of lessons on the internet by ‘Gosse’. I’ll skip the summary since it won’t be fun to read the small book afterwards, but I won’t withhold some lessons from you (hopefully, they inspire you to read this classic):

  1. Those who do not change, perish.
  2. What would you do if you were not afraid?
  3. Taking a new path helps you find new cheese.
  4. If you let go of fear, you will be liberated.
  5. When I imagine the new Cheese, it comes closer, even if I haven’t found it yet.
  6. The sooner you distance yourself from the old Cheese, the sooner you’ll find the new one.
  7. It is safer to search than to remain without Cheese.
  8. Old beliefs won’t lead you to new Cheese.
  9. If you have an eye for the first small changes, you can better accept the big ones that are yet to come.
  10. Change yourself. When the Cheese disappears, go with it.

Enjoy reading and good luck in these times. Take care.