Adapting is when we develop choices that enhance our well-being and sense of freedom. Adapting always takes us beyond either/or, black/white, and right/wrong. It’s a creative state that embraces intuition, freedom, and possibilities.

  • Adapting acknowledges that in most circumstances we could (if we chose to) avoid and run away, fight and defend, or become overwhelmed and helpless. By consciously moving beyond those primitive brain options, we open up to our intuition and curiosity.
  • Adapting helps us avoid feeling trapped – we have choices!
  • Adapting builds resilience because it moves beyond coping into conscious awareness of how many options we actually have.

I Don’t Have a Choice…

Yes, you do.

It might seem absurd to make such an assertion without knowing the specific circumstances, but… when we feel we have no choice, that trapped feeling is a clue… a clue to pause and develop a list of possibilities.

“Fine! I’ll go hide in a cave and never come out, even to poop!”

The first “option” can sound like that. Hiding is often a choice, even if not an ideal one. Write it down, and continue adapting.

“I could raise an army and defeat the beast!”

Fight is also a choice. Write it down and keep adapting. Consider what might be possible if you were calmer right now. Consider how someone twice as confident as you feel at the moment might have as choices.

Write them down, and keep adapting.

That feeling like we “have to” is one most of us are taught. We’re told as children what to do, what not to do, and the menu is often quite… limited.

“You cannot leave the table until you eat what is in front of you.” But we’re not children anymore, and there are few situations where we need to give in and sacrifice our well-being like that anymore.

We want to live in a world with much more freedom of choice. If you’d like that, too, take those “trapped feelings” as an invitation to start adapting. Fuel the inspired actions to come by having more than a handful of possibilities to consider.

How Do I Want to Feel?

We tend to focus on what physical actions we can take. What if we started with how we’d like to feel?

Let’s say you want to feel supported. What choices would lead to you feeling a bit more supported?

If you want to feel safer, we guess that some of the options would lead to more safety… and others would not.

How about ease and flow? Exploring choices that feel more easeful and that would fit more in your flow would start activating that in your body-mind.

Priming the idea pump with a feeling you want is a potent tool for adapting and thriving.

Useful Questions

  • What are at least five possible approaches I could take?
  • How might different people adapt in this situation?
  • How many ideas (including wild ones I’d never choose) can I write down in 5 minutes?
  • If I had support, what choices would be easier to imagine?
  • Is trauma keeping me from seeing choices right now?
  • If I were calm and confident, how would that help me adapt right now?
  • How do I want to feel… and what choices would be in that direction?


Related Concepts

Inspired Action, Curiosity, Primitive Brain, Co-Creating, Calm and Confident, Powerful Pause

Contributors: @Rick

We invite you to share your experiences and wisdom:

  • Life examples where this concept has played a role
  • Other useful questions
  • Links to audios, videos, books, and courses that add to our shared understanding of this concept
  • Memes, quotes, and inspiring images

I keep re-reading this part. So helpful. I am getting so much out of this post. Thank you. Lots of homework for me here.


These are helpful. I have a bunch of questions that need answers as I’ve been feeling quite confused, scared and helpless lately. Yes some of my answers would be quite wild. My primitive brain is on alert. The sirens and red lights have been blinking.

Many people would adapt in many ways I would guess. Depends on many things. How they were raised, have they experienced trauma, do they have self-confidence, etc.


When we’re aware of how we adapt by default we start to discern places where we throw ourselves out of thriving and into striving.

My default used to be when the list was long to add more hours. It used to be when it wasn’t working was to add Perfectionism to the mix. Eeek! Stressful and overwhelming.

For Thriving Now, with an infinite list of possible engagements and places to put my energy, what I do each month is “work plan” for 100 hours. Maybe 110. For the month!

Why? Because I’m adapting. I’m adapting to more ideas by being selective and mindful. I am adapting to challenges in the marketplace by tuning in deeper, being bolder and more calm and confident. Rather than adapt with more hours and “tasks done” I am wanting to and practicing putting energy where it matters to my well-being, the business’ well-being, and the community’s well-being. Yes-Yes-Yes.

How are you adapting these days?