We, human beings, are really fantastic creatures.
We have a great capacity to adapt to tough circumstances. We not only endure a lot of pain but actually learn from it.
There’s a danger to human adaptability, though, and that’s taking in as normal what’s not good for us far too much:
- A lousy job environment
- An ill-mannered boss
- A frustrating marriage
- A disrespectful child
- An oppressive government
- Being overweight
You name it, and we’ll adapt to it out of financial or emotional need. We will endure it even out of fear of failure without even trying.
The problem is that humans are extremely dissatisfied living beings by nature, and our capacity to adapt crashes with what we believe is right, and our ability to do anything about it.
When the late Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese writer as well as a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, was interviewed right before being detained for the second time, because he questioned China’s one-party regime, he described in a calm and collected manner how his home had been under surveillance for decades, affecting his family dynamics and his way of life.
He felt his life was a prison and that he should not take it, and although he was able to live like that for years, something within him screamed that it was wrong.
We tend to think that people like Liu Xiaobo are extraordinary stars in a universe of regular folks worried about rent, mortgages payments, credit card interests, and preparing for work meetings.
He might have done a lot, some of it quite extraordinary, but all of us have the same urge that he had to make changes to where we are and how we are, maybe on a different scale.
Human beings are fantastic creatures that are able to adapt to the circumstances but once in a while we can decide to make changes, however small they might seem.
Those small steps to make your work environment better, or to improve your relationship with others do make a difference.
But the changes start from within.