Have you seen the meme of Bear Grylls where he says "Improvise. Adapt. Overcome". If yes, then do you understand how can you use it in real life. I came across this meme last week and it got me thinking. When I searched about it I found that Marines are taught to be able to overcome any obstacle, which serves them well in the chaos of combat. This concept is encapsulated in the Marine slogan “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome”, which is a mindset that allows Marines to deal with any physical, mental, or spiritual hardship.
Also read: Life is simple, we complicate it!
Here is what I learned about the marine mindset: -
Train Your Brain
You don’t need to go to war to train your brain to fight against disappointments and difficulties. As we all know, life is unpredictable, meaning that there are plenty of opportunities for disappointment to creep into your psyche if you let it. A practical way for you to re-train your thinking is by countering negative thoughts with positive ones the moment they creep into your mind. Marines practice things like marching, cleaning their weapons, and putting on their uniforms over and over until they become a rote habit. You can do the same with your thought processes.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
If you do things the exact same way you’ve always done them, you can expect the same results you’ve always gotten. As it is said, “If you want something you’ve never had, then you’ve to do something you’ve never done”. One of the things that makes the Marines the premier fighting force in the world is their ability to practice the chaos of war in their everyday lives. Life is unpredictable, and expecting things to stay the same is foolish. Get comfortable with discomfort by trying new things and challenging your mind and body in different ways. Start thinking ahead about how you will react to a situation going south before it happens. Make yourself ready for a situation you already know is coming.
Faith Can Move Mountains
Life is tough, and it’s especially tough when you’re going through it alone. That’s why faith is such an important aspect of the Marine Corps experience. Their motto, “Semper Fidelis”, means “Always Faithful,” and it’s the Marines’ faith in each other that can get them through the toughest of situations. You might not have a group of combat veterans to put your faith in, but you have friends and family who can help you fight through difficulties and adapt to changes.
Talking about me, I learned to adapt to life’s difficulties by staying consistently focused and maintaining a positive and upbeat attitude. Having faith in yourself helps, and having friends or family who believe in you too is a +1. Hold on tight to people who believe in you when you yourself don’t, that is rare!
Life demands you to Adapt, Improvise, and Overcome frequently. Because life isn’t stagnant, it changes daily. You wake up, and boom there is a new challenge that you have to face. There, if you struggle to adapt to a situation, things, or people you might get frustrated with life easily. In today’s world, where people get furious and frustated so easily, be someone who is patient not only with people but with himself too!
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Here is how can you use the concept in real life: -
Improvise: Trust your own mind and instincts. If you run into a problem, stop for a moment and think more about the questions that you’re asking—instead of trying to jump straight to the possible solutions. Ask “why” at least 5 times and see if you can get to the root of the problem. Embrace chaos as it comes and don't be afraid to make mistakes. If you don’t try everything you’ll never know if you’ve found the best solution and you won’t learn. Accept that instability is normal and it won’t be so frightening.
Adapt: Keep the optimistic spirit strong. When you stay positive, you keep your mind open to possibilities. Stay connected and communicate with everyone around you. Keep a list of all the major teams in your area and when you run into an issue, look over your list of teams and decide who to contact to talk things out. Who needs to be notified? Who might have had this issue before? Who might have a good perspective? Communicate! Self-reflect on issues as they arise, explore your past, and pull on your experiences and cultural knowledge. Always be a lifelong student, and never stop learning. Adapt to the changes in your workplace by learning the new skills necessary to keep ahead of the game. While handling all this, do not look down on your teammates, help them grow as well.
Overcome: Attack the root of the problem and stare down the eye of the storm. Sometimes when you have a challenge at work, it’s best to just simply walk right into the middle of it and roll up your sleeves. Everyone says “eat the frog” first which means deal with the biggest problems first. Make them a priority. Take it in strides and note the progress you are making each day. Also, focus on what is your realm of control. There are some things that we don’t and never will have control over. It’s important to identify these situations as soon as possible so that you can turn your focus and energy to things that you can change.
This is a much underrated but interesting topic. Let me know how you resonated and liked it.