Perseverance is Key for Adaptation

Thomas Edison said,

“Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.”

In order to become adaptable, you’ve got to practice. And practice and practice and practice. When I was doing vestibular therapy, I had many eye exercises to train my ocular reflex to retrain my brain so I wouldn’t feel the vertigo. The therapy didn’t diminish the vertigo, but I did learn a number of ways to manage my vertigo, which I use all the time.

In the same way, if we don’t persevere, we can’t learn new behaviors and skills, necessary for our adaptation and change.

Remember the practice and integration part of the change model in Change is Inevitable? Sometimes I think it should say not just practice and integration but “practice and integration and persevere until you drop” on that right hand side.

Even with practice, I’m not always so good at recognizing the situation or reacting in the most appropriate way. I’m in Australia now, having had a blast at the SDC conference. I had the weekend off. I’m now teaching a distributed agile teams workshop with Shane Hastie. We spent the last six months developing the workshop, so it’s great to finally lead the workshop.

Last Saturday night, we went to a great place in Sydney for dinner, called Meat and Wine. It was loud. They lost our dinner order. When faced with gigantic portions, I order the smallest thing on the menu, and that’s generally about the right size. It was. But by the time dinner arrived, I was exhausted. We’d arrived for dinner about 6:15, been served about 8:15, and now it was 9pm. I needed to get back to the hotel, take some medicine and go to bed.

Well, there was about a half-bottle of wine left in the bottle. Here, in Australia, you can take the wine home. The poor waiter started to pour the wine in Shane’s glass. I stopped him.

“What are you doing? We’re all done with dinner. We don’t need wine in the wine glasses. Just wrap up with wine and we’ll take it home.”

Now, those of you who know me, know I can easily boss anyone at any time in any place under any circumstances, especially if I think we are not being efficient. The poor waiter had never met anyone like me before. He trotted off, obediently shaking his head, wondering what he’d done wrong.

Here’s what I should have said. “I’m tired. I’m going back to the hotel. You can stay and finish your wine. Shane, I’ll give you money tomorrow for my dinner, okay?”

But I didn’t. Oh well. That’s what practice and integration is for. To practice. Clearly, I need more practice, both on recognizing the situation and on my reaction to it.

Luckily, I didn’t alienate my friends. With any luck, that waiter won’t be emigrating to the US. Otherwise, I am in trouble.

I need to practice being a human being :-) Especially now, where I need to ask people for help, I cannot afford to alienate people. That’s nuts. So, seeing the situation, and choosing the right words to say, and having more patience with other people—those are things I need to work at more. I need much more practice and integration.

What do you need to practice? Where do you need to persevere?

One thought on “Perseverance is Key for Adaptation

  1. Christophe Thibaut

    I also need to practice being a human being, of course :-)
    I need to persevere in asking for help, with genuine simplicity and receptivity for help.
    As a person who always walked, jumped, ran, danced, and tumbled differently from other people around, I’ve often been wondering how to ask for help, when do it, when not to, and how to explain when help offered is not needed. Sometimes I complain about the world instead of adapting to it. The learning value I get from your blog is awesome. The situations from which you manage to extract the lessons in adaptation are humbling and inspiring. Thank you Johanna! :-)

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