What You Can Learn from Charles Darwin

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In what novel ways have you used information that you came across? What’s one concept that you discovered that has served you well? For me, it’s the creativity model presented in the Art of Thought by Graham Wallas. While conducting research on biomimicry, I came across information about a three-phase, 14-step process designed by Peter Floyd and Stephen R. Grossman that presents animal adaptations as models for problem solving. What got me excited was I had already decided that I was going to look at the idea of Evolution on this blog, which is one of the 50 ideas presented in 50 Big Ideas You Really Need to Know About by Ben Dupré, and here were two guys who are using Darwin’s three-step process for evolutionary change: extinction, mutation and selection. Floyd and Grossman have taken the three-steps and broken them down into a problem solving model. I thought that was simply brilliant, but I know that you can create a model that’s equally brilliant.

As presented by Ben Dupré, the idea of Evolution is a short read and only four pages in length. He talks about the origin of species, natural selection and the fifth ape.

“In the Origin, Charles Darwin succinctly summarizes natural selection as follows: ‘As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive; and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it very however slightly in any manner profitable, to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected . From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form.’”

From the information presented in Dupré’s idea of evolution, I have extracted three great ideas that are very useful in a personal context:

  1. In nature, resources such as food and mates are limited, so there will always be competition for access to them
  2. Some people will be better equipped than others to prevail life’s struggles, and it is these individuals  that will live longer and produce more offspring
  3. By minute and gradual changes over innumerable generations, animals and plants become better adapted to their surroundings; some species or kinds disappear, to be replaced  by others that have proved more successful for existence.

Possible Interpretation of These Ideas

  • In flattened organizational structures, there are limited opportunities for promotions, therefore those expecting to excel must differentiate themselves and become more valuable to their clients, both internal and external
  • The more skilled you become at problem solving, the better equipped you become at overcoming everyday challenges
  • The more change resilient you are, and the more more receptive you are to ambiguity, the more longevity you’ll enjoy in the workplace
  • Small and incremental changes lead to big changes in your life
  • The more adaptable you are to change, the more success you’ll enjoy

As a professional, how can you use the idea of evolution to succeed in work and life? What changes can you make in your life to give you an edge?

Why evolution is one of the 50 ideas you really need to know about

Today you have to change or become extinct, so you have to mutate to be selected, in what ways can you change? Let’s keep the conversation flowing, please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Photo and Video Credit: Apture

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