If we are to survive, we have no choice but to figure out new ways of achieving our results.
A few years ago, a group of students won the opportunity to submit an experiment for a shuttle flight into space. As a result, the space shuttle carried a special passenger into orbit for the first time: a spider.
The students wanted to see how well the spider could adapt to weightlessness in a new zero gravity environment.
Think for a moment of what spiders do best—spin webs. These webs are often extremely intricate. The process of spinning a web is an amazing feat of nature. Using its own weight, the spider first spins cross-lines that serve as a frame for the sticky, spiral threads which later complete the web. But this natural process changed in an instant when our eight-legged astronaut was confronted with a shocking alteration in her environment for which nature had never prepared her. As she attempted to spin her web in space, she discovered there was no gravity to pull her from point A to point B. Every rule and condition of her previous existence had dramatically and completely changed. Her web was a total failure.
However, she did not give up. After many failed attempts, and considerable trial and error, she figured out that she could actually “swim” through the air like a water-strider bug on the surface of a pool. Using this technique, the adaptable little spider soon completed a web. Through patient persistence she mastered her web-making skills in a totally new environment, even though all she had previously known was so different.
Sometimes we experience surprising, unanticipated changes in our environment. There is a major upheaval, and suddenly, the rules change. The rug is pulled out from under us. If we are to survive, we have no choice but to figure out new ways of achieving our intended results.
Adapting to change is never easy, nor is it comfortable, but it is absolutely essential for survival. Let’s take heart from our little hero. If a spider can figure out how to spin a web in zero gravity, surely we can manage the sometimes astronomical challenges thrown at us.
Here are some points for reflection:
Consider major changes you have experienced. How did you react to them? What skills did you adapt? What new talents did you to develop to survive? In the end, did you find you could adapt to new rules, new surroundings, and new people?
- When faced with dramatic shifts in your usual environment, calmly assess your situation. How can you modify or recalibrate your tools or approach?
- Adaptability and flexibility are key to succeeding in an ever-changing world.