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Adaptability Hobbies

On the importance of adaptability, the Buddhist concept of the “non-self”, and how hobbies can make us more adaptable.

In life we cannot avoid change, we cannot avoid loss. Freedom and happiness are found in the flexibility and ease with which we move through change.

Commonly attributed to Siddhartha Gautama

What is adaptability?

Adaptability is a person’s ability to adjust to changes in their environment.

Learn and Grow: What is adaptability in the workplace? | It’s Your Yale

What skills does adaptability require?

To adapt, we first need to realize that circumstances have changed. For that, we need skills such as observation, active listening, empathy, and logic.

We then need to recognize and admit that our current opinions or ways of action don’t suit the new circumstances. This requires self-awareness, humility, and willingness to change.

Adaptation itself can take any form and may require any skill, from mental to physical.

Therefore, it seems that when discussing adaptability, the core relevant skills are being able to recognize that our current ways don’t accord with new circumstances, and the willingness to change.

Change is hard

Change isn’t easy. At the bottom of our difficulty to adapt is probably our perception of ourselves and the self in general.

Most of us try hard to stay true to ourselves: we try to maintain a consistent, coherent narrative of who and what we are.

Why do we hold the idea of a consistent self? That’s one of our basic ways to gain a sense of meaning.

The concept of a consistent self is ingrained into Western thought, and most of us probably didn’t even stop to think about it. It is related to other Western concepts, such as progress. But, as with everything else, we also change, and we should allow ourselves to do so.

In Buddhism, the term anattā (Pali: अनत्ता) or anātman (Sanskrit: अनात्मन्) refers to the doctrine of “non-self” – that no unchanging, permanent self or essence can be found in any phenomenon.

Anatta | No-Self, Non-Attachment & Impermanence | Britannica

Emancipation from the psychological need to maintain a coherent self can allow us to change and adapt more easily.

This page lists hobbies that can help us loosen our grip on the narrative of ourselves, either in a bottom-up approach, for example by meditating, or in a more behavioral top-down approach – by practicing constant adaptation, for example when debating.

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