Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. -Mike Tyson.
Having a game plan going in to any event is a great way to help prepare yourself. In fact, in most situations whether or not you have a preset plan will determine your odds at success. The odds obviously being greater when you’re properly prepared.
But what happens when your plan fails? Do you scrap the plan all together? Or do you just bite down on your mouth guard and keep pushing it until it works? Another one of history’s greats is quoted for once saying that, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result.” -Albert Einstein
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Being able to adapt to change is a requirement for long term success. Being prepared is extremely important, but no matter how much you prepare, there are going to be times when things don’t go the way you planned them to. That unknown name upsets the number one seed and now you have a completely different match in the finals. The Jiu Jitsu Black Belt you’re fighting got a new striking coach between fights and now he wants to stand up and bang it out. Change happens.
So what do you do when this happens? The first thing is, don’t freak out. You have to know that sometimes things are going to happen that you didn’t prepare for. And staying calm is going to go a long way in moving forward. Now, you can start working on the issue at hand. Actively reading the scenario and coming up with a solution. But again, you won’t be able to do that if you’re in a complete state of panic. So stay calm.
Obviously this is one of those things that in most cases is easier said than done. Adapting to change isn’t something that most people do very often. Most of us have day jobs where we’re punching the time clock 5 days a week and then doing the same thing during those days for 8 hours at a time. We’ve developed routines, routines that we’re very comfortable with. Even the slightest change can throw a monkey wrench in our whole day.
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But there is a solution. You prepare for it…… a bit ironic, I know. But there are ways you can train and prepare your adaptation skills. They involve regularly putting yourself in situations with no strategic preparation. Forcing yourself to adapt to whatever happens.
Sign up for a seminar at a gym that you’ve never been to. Then make sure to roll with as many new people as you can at the end of the event. Sign up for an out of state tournament where you don’t know any of the competitors. (Don’t cheat and look people up.) Take a weekend trip on the fly. No reservations, no research, just get up and go. Figure things out when you get there.
Just like any other skill that you’re trying to sharpen. The more you do something the better you get at it. By constantly doing things without any sort of preparation, you’ll be able to develop those key adaptation skills that you need when the unexpected happens.
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