Developing an Adaptive Mindset for Unpredictable Times

In 1996, a 484-metre-long bridge was built over the River Choluteca in Honduras, Central America. The government hired the best architectural minds from around the world to build it in a way that would withstand any kind of hurricane or storm. It took two years to build the bridge. As soon as it opened for the public, it became a national pride reason being bridge could survive any type of natural calamities.

Later in few months, the city faced a massive hurricane with heavy rain. There was 75 inches of rain in just four days. Which created havoc and destruction. Yet the Bridge, withstood the hurricane and kept its pride alive. However, the connecting roads got destroyed by the hurricane and river beneath it had changed its direction altogether. And the bridge left as a “Bridge To Nowhere.“

Just like that bridge of Choluteca, We all have many bridges in various forms at emotional, psychological, and mental levels. We have built a bridge with strong convictions to fulfil our expectations. Constructing this bridge has forced us to invest our valuable resources (time, energy, and mind). However, the river of life shifted its course. The saga of pain, regret, grudge, hurt, and guilt remains with us at the core. Even when the event fades from our memory, the emotional trauma it caused lingers in our minds.

Career and Relationships

Here, we discuss it in context of two of the most influential aspects of life: career and relationships.

Many of us have chosen a career based on external influences at key moments. We choose science, commerce, or humanities based on what our peers are doing, family expectations, family backgrounds, what distant relatives have achieved, and what provides social status. We eventually come to a point in life carrying an internal void of emptiness. We realise that the bridge of our career was built on the wrong river, while the river has already changed its direction. We devoted precious years of our prime age to constructing this bridge, which has now become our family’s source of survival. It has also become our identity. Moving the bridge with the flow of the river or building it from scratch is now impossible.

We usually enter into relationships with immature minds. When our biology is undergoing hormonal changes, which can affect our emotions and overpower our understanding, we may make commitments that we later realise are ineffective. During those times, all our friends and peers also experience the same hormonal and emotional changes. We follow the same flow out of fear of missing out and to fit in with the crowd. The emotional bridges we construct during that time may seem irrelevant now, as the river of emotions has changed its direction. But we built the bridge using all the resources available.


What is the solution? There are two possible approaches:

  • Temporary: Seek escape mechanisms like entertainment, social media, alcohol, drugs, and gossip.
  • Permanent: Develop a strong “Adaptive Mindset” that is not dependent on any externality. It’s purely internal. To reach this state, one must be able to sit with themselves, doing nothing but observing their own mind and thoughts. This is a kind of self-treatment. Regular meditation over a long period of time can help achieve this. Ultimately, one must explore all corners and edges of their mind with the torch of awareness, leaving nothing unchecked.

Your awareness will gradually define new criteria in your mind for what is temporary and what is permanent, what holds actual value and what is not. With that clarity of vision, a new, robust and adaptive mindset emerges. It’s challenging and may take a few years, but it’s worth it and that’s the only way to navigate life effectively in an uncertain and unstable world.

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