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Darwin was Right. PDF  | Print |  E-mail

C_DarwinWhat I remember about Darwin, not being an avid student, was he said something about the "survival of the fittest."  Whilst I was an avid student of rock and roll, this kind of sounded like "Only the Strong Survive" a 1969 song by Jerry Butler.  Is that what Darwin meant?  Do you have to be strong . . . tough . . . to survive?  Do you have to be a “bully”, intimidating, oppressive or domineering?  “Fittest” in Darwin’s terms was not a physical fitness.

 

 

 The quote, "survival of the fittest” has been taken totally out of context.  This is what Darwin said, “In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals . . .” (wait, there’s more) “because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.”  “Adapting” in this case is not a passive, becoming accustomed to or getting used to your surroundings.  Instead, this “adapting” is very active, like the verbs, change, modify, revise and rework.  Adapting, that’s a mental fitness, capable of self-reflective sentient beings, a.k.a. Humans.

Darwin also said, similarly, “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.”  A friend of mine, Larry Dennis, has been in the leadership training business for many years and he has said, “The ability to learn/change faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.”  You know that’s true.  You want to be the first-est with the most-est to market.  Your competitors can get the same capital, resources and ideas you have.  You need to adapt to your environment well and quickly.  You need to be ninja nimble and lightning fast. 

Most large corporations miss this opportunity.  They say you can’t turn a supertanker on a dime.  It just ain’t gonna happen.  So if you are a large enterprise or want to get large, practice your ninja moves.   See where the red tape gets in the way and tangles your ninja warrior.  Learn to cut through the red tape now.  Build the systems and processes now that will allow you to be nimble, become more adaptive to change now.  Build for the future now.  

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