Adapting and Dealing with Change: A New Twist to an Old Nursery Rhyme

Do you recall the classic nursery rhyme The Itsy, Bitsy Spider?Pakistan Spinders Dealing with Change

The itsy, bitsy spider went up the water spout. Down came the rain and washed the spider out. Out came the sun and dried up all the rain and the spider went up the spout again.

The spider adapted to its changing environment and whether we realize it or not, we too are constantly adapting in an ever changing environment. At times the change may be simple and we won’t give it a second thought. Other times, it can seem like an unattainable feat, even painful causing us to resist with all we have. However, if we learn to see the big picture, strategically adjust and adapt to our environment, the change may benefit us more than we know.

In September 2011, extreme flooding in Pakistan destroyed or damaged 1.2 million houses and covered 4.5 million acres (1.8 million hectares) leaving 300,000 people homeless. This flood coupled with one of Pakistan’s worst flooding disasters in 2010 left 800,000 Pakistani families without permanent shelter. These floods not only displaced people but forced other creatures to look for safety elsewhere.

When the ground dwelling spiders could no longer survive in the ground, they moved above the flood waters into the neighboring trees. By adapting to and subsisting in trees, the anthropoid not only saved its own species but improved the environment for other inhabitants as well. Because of the excessive stagnant water, there were concerns about Malaria-carrying mosquitoes. However, many of these Malaria-carrying mosquitoes were caught in the spider webs that covered the trees, reducing the number of expected cases of illness.

What can we learn from these spiders and the trees they cocooned? As I see it, at least three things.

1. It is a given that our world will change, sometimes drastically. Prepare for change by being strategically aware of the changing environments and conditions around you. You never know where or when you will need to find another course of action.

2. Don’t resist and become a victim of change. Everyone has the ability to change and adapt. The spiders simply moved up into the trees and began building.

3. Finally, look for the benefits to change. If we move past the stage of denial and resistance, we can begin see the silver lining and positive sign of change.

As Charles Darwin once said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

Pictures courtesy of Department of International Development:

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About the Author

Chris Stowell

Christopher Stowell is currently serving as CMOE’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing where he works with multi-national organization to develop their people. His special interests lie in coaching teamwork, strategy, e-learning, and assessment design, and delivery. Chris has a special talent in helping companies assess their organizational effectiveness and identifying key issues and opportunities in order to advance their performance and achieve long term results. Additionally, he has extensive experience in designing, coordinating, and facilitating customized adventure based experiential training events for high performance teams.