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Developing Adaptive Survival Skills for Life


Developing Adaptive Survival Skills for Life

Standing on the curb in Brooklyn, New York with 20 other Suits trying to get to LaGuardia airport, can be a lesson in adaptive survival.

There are only a few ways to get to the airport from Brooklyn – personal car (bad choice), a menagerie of public transportation connections, taxi or Uber/Lyft. This morning, I fired up my Lyft app and was informed that Mi Sook in a black Avalon would arrive within six minutes. The problem was all of the people standing on the corner had also used their app and within seconds black Avalons began to arrive.

A car would pull up, the driver would roll the window down and multiple voices form the curb would yell, “Are you Jack?”, “Jacob?”, “Hassan?”
One by one a suit would get in the correct car, with the identified driver and pull away.

Under and through all the confusion, I could hear the guy next to me quietly saying, “B7J4, 03R9, S254,” as if he were giving himself lottery numbers that someone was revealing through a tin foil hat. He was looking at his phone and watching the line of black Avalon windows rolling up and down. As odd as his behavior was, he seemed calmer than all the other Suits on the curb, including me.

After several of my own attempts of, “Are you Mi Sook?”, Number man leaned over to me and said, “Mine is J754. Let me see your phone.” His
voice was calming and for some reason, I showed him my screen that contained Mi Sook’s photo, contact info and arrival time.

“O25U. That’s yours”

“My what?”

“Your driver’s number – the last four characters of the license plate.”

The synapsis in my brain fired. The bulb over my head began to glow. Of course! How much easier to watch for the right car, quietly reading the last four characters of the license plate. Eureka!

I thanked Number Man for making me a smarter woman. He shyly confessed, “I am colorblind and had to figure out an easy way to identify the
correct car.” The Black/green or Dark blue Avalon description just didn’t do it for him.

His way was his own creative survival skill developed out of necessity – shared out of kindness.

Humans are amazingly adaptive. It’s our thing, because if we don’t, we die.

In a speech in 1963, Leon C Megginson, Business Professor, Louisiana State University stated,

It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest
that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to
adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.”

(Quote often incorrectly attributed to Charles Darwin)

When we are faced with a task, a job, a life experience that is difficult, we have choices.

Some are prone to anxiously wait for a solution, complain, wring hands and quit – placing blame on others.

To be successful in life, it is imperative that we STOP and figure out where we are, what is missing, what resources are available, who can help, when can we start, and so forth.

Number Man could have said, “I’m color blind, so I can’t use Uber/Lyft.” Or “I’m color blind and will need all TNC cars to have a big sign with their auto color showing on the front and back.” Or he could have been like the rest of us on the corner, getting sore throats, anxiously calling, “Are you Mi Sook?

Nope! He had a different work around that put the control into his hands.

What power there is to discover and accept our weaknesses, then develop creative ways to be stronger, faster, better – to get life done enjoyably. All the while, being willing to share those same challenges and discoveries.

Number Man, you taught me a new trick today. Thank you, wherever you are!

by Kristen Joyner

8 Minute Mastery - Ideas for developing your best you.

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