Adapting to the “New Normal”

You’re not alone if you don’t like to deal with change. I don’t know anyone who likes change. Most people feel more comfortable with the known world than embracing the possibilities and challenges of the unknown world. The resistance to change is so strong that many people would rather live with difficulties or pain in life rather than face the unknowns that come with change

There are some times in life when change is inevitable. That’s what happened to Police Sergeant Justin Dodge when he suffered a line-of-duty injury that cost him his leg. This powerful SWAT officer underwent many surgeries before doctors were forced to amputate his leg. Now, the super fit police officer had to learn to crawl up the stairs on his backside, just like when he was an infant. This kind of trauma and change would end most tactical officer careers. In his recent Unbeatable Podcast interview, Justin described why he chose to face his challenges and determine how to live a “new normal.”

Acknowledging change

Fighting against change is a losing battle. There’s no way to stick your head in the sand, hoping you’ll never have to face change. It’s inevitable. Author H. G. Wells described the futility of fighting against change: “Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.” Since you can’t avoid change, the first step in adapting to the “new normal” is acknowledging you can’t avoid change.  

Adapting to change can be a challenging and transformative life experience. As the world continues to evolve, learning how to navigate changes and embrace the “new normal” that emerges is essential. Whether it’s an injury like Justin’s, a career shift, a personal loss, or a global pandemic—change is inevitable, and our ability to adapt plays a crucial role in our overall well-being.

Accepting change

You cannot move forward until you’re ready to accept change. While it may be tempting to cling to familiar routines and habits, faithful adaptation requires letting go of what once was and embracing what lies ahead. This can involve letting go of old mindsets, reassessing priorities, and finding new ways to thrive in the face of change.

You don’t have to like change, but you do have to accept it. Accepting doesn’t mean you enjoy the experience of change, but it is an essential step in moving toward the “new normal.” A Chinese proverb says: “The wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water molds itself to the pitcher.” [1]  

Assimilating after change

Sometimes, the smallest changes can lead to the most significant results in your life. When confronted with change, it’s natural to feel a range of emotions, including fear, uncertainty, and even resistance. However, by acknowledging the reality of change, you open yourself up to the possibility of growth and new opportunities.

Assimilating after the change is the final step toward the “new normal.”  This involves integrating the lessons learned from the change experience and utilizing them to move forward in a positive direction. Embracing change as an opportunity for personal development can lead to resilience, creativity, and a more profound sense of self-awareness.

You can learn from Justin’s example without having to follow his steps. As you adapt to life changes, remember that everyone’s journey is unique. Find healthy ways to navigate the change you’re experiencing. Seek support from friends and family, be patient with yourself, and stay open to new possibilities. This helps make the adaptation process more manageable. Ultimately, you can emerge stronger on the other side by approaching change like Justin, with an open mind and a willingness to grow.

Listen to my whole interview with Justin here.


Further reading

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