Ask the Pros by Angela Grace


Authors usually have some version of adapting, adjusting to new conditions, in their character’s development.  Capturing the drama of change keeps the attention of the reader. Authors are very good at creating obstacles, the character then adapts resulting in a happy ending.  The royalties then pour in.

Yet in real life, some of us struggle to adapt in our rapidly changing conditions.

“Mrs. Smith, how’s your garden?

“Not so good.  You know, I had that heart attack.”

“Right, did your Doctor tell you not to garden?”

“No. But the Doc did mention exercise is a good idea.
“Are you exercising?

“Well, no, I’m just a little afraid.”

“Adapting to the new you can be kinda scary, huh?

“Well, I’d say so!”

Mrs. Smith’s reaction is typical of clients I work with in my counseling practice. They don’t adapt. They don’t modify their behavior.  One of the greatest preceding indicators of a second heart attack, which is often fatal, is the failure of the client to recognize their changed health condition and take necessary steps to adapt.

Psychological and medical research as well as my experience as a therapist boils down to this:  if 6 people are told that the behavior they are doing would kill them, only one in six would change. The other 5 would continue to kill themselves on the installment plan even though they had been warned of the outcome.

Yet, there are others who excel at adaptation, even in below freezing weather conditions.


“Yes Smoochecoo?”

“Why is the turkey on the tailgate?”

“I’m adapting.”

The below zero temperatures inspired my wife to clean out the freezer. She emptied the entire Montgomery Ward (I know!!)  chest freezer into boxes and placed them on the bed of the truck.   She gladly worked in the cold, gladly defrosted the freezer and gladly repacked the freezer with the food that we would keep.  My wife altered her planned daily task to make it suitable to the conditions.  She took full advantage of the extremely cold weather and made good use of the circumstances.  Ultimately, she adapted.  (She let me know she didn’t do it ‘gladly’ but ‘grumbly’, I stand corrected.)

This is a reminder; our world, community, political landscape, health, finances, technology and relationships are moving so fast that we sometimes forget to look at what is happening around us, to us and in us.  And, because of the speed of living, we get mired down.

This is a reminder; we have 100% control over the decisions that we make, our attitude, our mindset, our approach to living and whether to feel gratitude.   We can adapt to new circumstances and use it for our good and for the good of others. That’s what we try to do as women, right?

This is a reminder; every day we are given opportunities. It is our choice to resist or adapt to these opportunities.  This year, make the best decisions and take the best actions by intentionally, deliberately and mindfully adapting to whatever comes your way.  When you do, things get better.  By adapting, health improves, marriages energize, friendships deepen, jobs become more enjoyable and attitudes toward writing projects flourish.

Angela Grace  BCC, WCS

Optimized Life Coaching



  1. Excellent article! Thank you for writing it. I found the part about 1 in 6 people would make positive changes fascinating. As writers, we already have a headstart on tenacity and stubbornness, so it would be interesting to see how many writers fall into the 1 in 6. And on that note, I’m getting out of bed and going for a walk. 🙂

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  2. Interesting that so few people adapt. Your piece reminds me of a tale my mother used to tell about her brother, Gerald. Gerald moved from Dublin to London as a young man but came home every year to visit his mother and family. He was a generous man but always took the cheaper travel option. In his fifties, Gerald had a heart attack and came Ireland to stay with my mother and recuperate. When it was time to go back to London, she went with him to see him safely home. After four hours on the ferry, they boarded the train from Holyhead to London which was packed and uncomfortable in second class. For just £1, it was possible to upgrade to first class where there was plenty of room. The journey would take six hours but Gerald wouldn’t change. When my mother pressed him, he said, “You can’t change the habits of a lifetime, Ann.” He stood for hours until finally finding a seat.
    Thank you for the encouragement. I will try to do as you suggest. I am not a person who makes changes readily but I have to say that when I do, the outcome is usually positive.


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