Darwin Rethought

December 17, 2021

Darwin’s theory of evolution claims that the fittest will survive. What is meant by the “fittest”?

 Life is full of problems. We face them in our personal and professional lives. Problems never end because what generates them is continuous and constant: change.  If we analyze our problems, they reveal our weaknesses. If a problem can be handled using our strengths, it is not a problem. It is merely a challenge, a task to do.

 Consider your problems as a testing ground to see if you are strong or weak. Every problem we encounter in life is an invitation to learn and improve. Those that do not rise to challenge the problems, and in the process learn how to improve themselves, eventually perish. Why? Change is ongoing and new problems will come to face them. If they did not learn how to control or mobilize others to solve the problem, since the problem was not handled, it eventually becomes a debilitating crisis. Those that have the guts, the determination, the strength of character, and the willpower to address their problems and do not fear to learn and change, survive and thrive.

 So, what does survival of the fittest mean? It means that an organism can handle change successfully and, from problem to problem, it becomes stronger and stronger. It learns and applies what it has learned.  Success is not how little you fall. It is how fast you get up. If you learned from your fall, over time, you fall less and get up faster. That is why you are fit and the other who is still on the ground, not getting up, the one who has not learned anything new from his “fall” will perish.

 I can tell how big a person is by how big the problems are that they are tackling. Small people worry about who owns which car. They concern themselves with the rumor of the day. Big people worry about the next generation, about the quality of children’s education. Since energy is fixed, in order to handle big problems, you need to solve or remove the small problems first. You need to continuously learn and grow.

 A marriage will have problems from time to time. Analyze those problems. They are challenging your weaknesses and impacting your mindset. The feeling of not being able to easily solve a problem because of your weaknesses might even make you angry with the person with whom you are having the problem. You might accuse them of causing the problem although — think about it — it is not their fault you have a weakness.

 How should you address the problem? Perceive it as an invitation to strengthen your weaknesses. Are you able to grow, to strengthen yourself, and to become a better person? See your counterpart, as an “ezer ke neged.” This expression from a Jewish prayer, ezer ke neged, means helpful against. You strengthen your muscles when you push against something. When you have a challenging experience with your counterpart, consider them helpful; By exerting force against you, they are giving you a chance to strengthen your weaknesses. To learn and to change.

 We have no problems in life. We have challenges in life. We are challenged to improve and become stronger. Stronger means, “Did you learn what the problem you had was supposed to teach you?” If you did not learn, then you will repeat the class. The problem, left unsolved, will reappear in a different form, but the lesson to be learned will be the same.

 The fittest are those who do their best to solve problems and do not live in denial, and in doing so become stronger; The ones who continuously learn, and implement what they have learned.

Written by
Dr. Ichak Adizes