Adaptability vs. Conformity

Hello SR Family,

If you conform in order to succeed then, once you have a version of success that conformity helped you to achieve, who will YOU be?

Awhile ago I read a great book by Spencer Johnson, M.D. called "Who Moved My Cheese?" It was essentially about adapting to the flow of business and consistently growing so one day you don't look up and realize the prosperity you've been enjoying has moved on without you.

By being willing to adapt and employ every resource at your disposal (technology, good people, etc.) to help you constantly develop your mindset and business, as discussed in Johnson's book, you ensure that you are in fact ahead of the curve instead of becoming complacent. You also can control the quality of your success and how your business grows.


But there is another side to this equation - conforming. There is a big difference between adapting to a changing business environment by actively growing versus conforming to the systems of a changing environment. Either way you never want to keep your head down so long that you one day look up and find yourself too far behind to catch up but how you go about the process matters.

Conformity breeds resentment because you are allowing the tides to turn and you just sail along with the new current toward whichever direction the waves and the wind take you. Eventually you'll end up somewhere but is it where you want to be? More often than not you may very well end up far off course or, even worse, crashing into a reef and not getting close to your destination at all.

Conformity subjects you to the passive mindset of "If this is what I have to do in order to succeed then so be it" instead of the active mindset that comes with adapting which sounds more like "I see what's on the horizon but I still have a desired direction and destination for my life and business - I can and will adjust my sails to account for the changes without being thrown off course."

A perfect example is the use of an online presence to engage friends, family, and clients in today's business world instead of just leasing a brick and mortar building which was a staple for growth before the tech boom. Those companies who conformed to an online presence built their website and stopped there just because they had to do it. They fell short of doing much else and many have gone out of business because of it.

Those who adapted, on the other hand, sought out a website, FB page, have a Twitter account, etc. to both engage and consistently advertise to their audience. The engagement is different when you are in control versus allowing the climate to control you.

The world conforms to the will of those who don't conform to it - adapt instead and maintain control of your destiny. The ability and willingness to adapt is one of the secrets to success.


Continue to Prosper,

T. Johnson-Bean, Founder
Author, Speaker, and Coach



Edited by: Michael W. Coulter

1 comment

  • L.P.

    Great insights! Sometimes THE hardest thing for one to do is to stop, reassess, and change course when the individual realizes he or she has been complacently conforming instead of actively adapting. Time and financial resources have been spent, and often wasted, by success-seekers going with the flow instead of going against the grain. And sometimes, you can be so far down a path that it feels like you have no choice but to keep going….in the wrong direction. But I wonder how many lives would be changed, how many businesses would thrive, if people were willing to make the hard choice of turning around and going against the grain instead of just going with the flow? Especially if they truly understood and believed that they could adapt and be successful, regardless of the obstacles and challenges they might encounter….

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