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Adapt or lose relevance

   By Chris Keeping, Capricorn Group​

In the face of established practices, traditional ideas, scarce resources and the increasing demands or expectations of others (some ill-informed or preconceived), we often underestimate our ability to control our destiny and overcome the constraints we face - or think we​ face. We can create the new circumstances and realities we want, but we must discard the ingrained notion that we are nothing more than a lost pawn in someone else's maze. The problem is not that we are stuck in the labyrinth, but that it's stuck in us. It's almost like being a hamster stuck on a wheel – a never-ending journey that drains energy and effort but offers the same scenery which results in a mindless journey.

Change is never easy under any circumstances, and yet, it is the only constant in life. Charles Darwin, the famous author of  Origin of the Species,  wrote that  “It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives, but the species that survives is the one that is able to adapt to and adjust best to the changing environment in which it finds itself."

​We don't need any science journals to know that this is true, though. All we need to do is take a good look at the world we live in today. Some of the greatest achievements of humanity have occurred within the past several centuries, and each event has paved the way for modern life as we know it. Within all areas of life, our international culture has evolved into its current state because of extraordinary historical events. Change requires us to adapt to new thinking, risks, new processes and acceptance. Constant reinvention should not be the norm, though, but more importantly, we should be open to change and taking these historical moments, circumstances, events into account and esteeming them as valuable education.  ​

On Dec 1, 2017, Forbes Magazine published an article “Adapt or Die – Businesses," which states that businesses must embrace change to remain relevant. This becomes evident as the world of technology is changing faster than ever, and traditional companies are having trouble keeping up with the pace. In an ever-evolving society, we need to adapt to change or die, lest we end up on the pile of “I should have." To adapt is to step out of our comfort zone and take a risk. If we remain risk-averse, we will stagnate and become overtaken by circumstance. We need to avoid “The not invented here syndrome" or “ If it's working now, why change" or “ We have always done it this way." We are living in a time where change is moving at an unprecedented pace, where innovation and development across all industries take place, and both new age and traditional business are adapting. Consumers are wiser than ever before and now have a plethora of more accessible and more convenient choices, which is being enabled through digitalisation. The common theme we face in this fast ever-evolving environment is to adapt to change and quickly too. If not, we might end up imitating that hamster.

Not being ignorant of these transitional achievements, we at Capricorn Group have learned that the past is a place of reference, but that it is best to keep our eyes on the future, being ever mindful that without incredible exploits of bravery and ingenuity we cannot make a difference. In fact, we value change so much that we make it part of our purpose – to be connectors of positive change. This purpose is lived daily through our internal culture, The Capricorn Way, and permeates into every outside area we engage in as we continue our journey in creating sustainable opportunities for our communities and towards building better societies.

We are incredibly proud of this, and we do everything to ensure the constant pursuit of this purpose. And yet, even for us, it is imperative to keep in mind that short term growth equates short term satisfaction and reward. But does it relate to long term sustainability and relevance? In this fast-paced environment, we find ourselves in; sustainability is the only relevant term applicable to the here and now, as well as the future. For this reason, all our focus and energies should be centralised not just in business, but also in our personal lives on sustainable development - where change is the driving force.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi's quote gives us a basis to launch from and applies to most circumstances in both our professional as well as our private lives. We have no excuse to fall behind or become outdated, except being opposed to adaptation. 

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