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Change Proof Book Summary, Review, Notes

Change Proof by Adam Markel emphasizes the inevitability of change and uncertainty, and it encourages the readers to take a more active role in building their emotional resilience. Inspired by his own personal life, as well as the lives of other successful people, the author invites us to embrace change and make the most of it, while taking care of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. 

Book Title: Change Proof: Leveraging the Power of Uncertainty to Build Long-Term Resilience
Authors: Adam Markel
Date of Reading: March 2022
Rating: 6/10

Table of Contents

What Is Being Said In Detail:


Change Proof deals with the 14 markers of becoming resilient, as well as the importance of being harmonious, transparent, and honest while interacting with people in our personal and professional lives


How Change Changes Things—and What to Do About It: Making Friends with Change


Chapter 1 builds upon the notion that change is inevitable and that it should be embraced. Becoming change-proof means transforming into a resilient person. Change involves making pivots on a daily basis, taking all the pain, hardship, and uncertainty and turning them into fuel for personal growth. 


Got Your Back: Lifeguard Lessons


Chapter 2 emphasizes the utmost importance of facing dangerous and uneasy situations and staying calm in the process. Caring for others is beneficial four ourselves since by showing care and strength for other people, we build our own resilience.  


The Change-Proof Model: Pause, Ask, Choose


Chapter 3 reveals an approach that we can take in order to embrace life with all its positive and negative aspects. Making a pause might seem like a wrong step to take in our personal journey to becoming resilient, however, it’s necessary to stop “struggling against the current.” The next step is to transform a problem into an opportunity, followed by a period of recovery.  


The Power of Choice: Leveraging Your Relationship to Change and Stress


Chapter 4 deals with the complexity of stress, and how it might affect our well-being. It concludes that stress by itself is far less important than our reaction to it. Our response to change and to stressful situations is what determines whether we are going to become resilient.


The Markers of Resilience 


Chapter 5 lists the 14 markers of resilience, which are actional steps that any individual can take in order to build resilience. They include healthy lifestyle practices, dedication to recovery, skill development, altruism, nurturing positive emotions, etc. It negates the wrongful notion that there is a direct correlation between genetics and resilience. 


The Myth of Balance 


Chapter 6 dispels the myth of balance and replaces the word “balance” with “harmony” because semantically “harmony” has more layers of meaning. Finding or experiencing harmony implies that we accept change and we flow with it. 




Chapter 7 elaborates on the four pillars of equilibrium. To become resilient and harmonious within, we need to remind ourselves not to hurry, not to worry, not to condemn, and not to resent. Instead of fighting change, we should embrace it, do the best we can with it, and, possibly, profit from it.


The Resilience Bank Account 


Chapter 8 explores the negative and long-lasting consequences of burnout. Recovery is fundamental if we want to continue leading healthy and fulfilling lives. Building resilience is possible only if we allow our bodies and minds to pause. 


Resilient Organizations 


Chapter 9 deals with larger groups of people and organizations in their quest for becoming more resilient. As leaders, we are expected to lead by example. We show others how to become resilient by becoming resilient ourselves. 


Left Brain Resilience


Chapter 10 identifies a toxic approach to building resilience. Working non-stop is a faulty approach to becoming resilient. The chapter also emphasizes the role emotions play in the process of becoming change-proof. 


Recovery Versus Burnout


Chapter 11 warns against the volatility of chronic stress. When people suffer from burnout, they find it difficult, if not impossible to find the motivation to go on. Therefore, the process of recovery is crucial in battling burnout and building resilience. 


Recover Before It’s Too Late 


Chapter 12 reinforces the idea that we should take a pause before we reach the point of no return. Recovery should be built in our schedule, as well as in the schedule of the members of our organization because it is of utmost importance for becoming change-proof.


Even Michael Jordan Paused


Chapter 13 illustrates the point of taking a pause to recover and revitalize by presenting the life story of Michael Jordan. The chapter goes into more depth and it reveals the reasons for not wanting to pause, especially when we feel as we’re on top of the world. In principle, we are afraid of failure, so we postpone recovery thinking that we could lose everything we’ve worked for by taking a break. 


Outperforming Challenges  


Chapter 14 talks about how vital physical exercise is to building resilience. People’s bodies are made to last and to be resilient in a variety of conditions. Taking care of our physical fitness and well-being, as well as the physical health of the members of our organization is crucial for living life to the fullest and enduring any hardships. 


Get out of Your Head 


Chapter 15 draws a parallel between self-consciousness and self-awareness. The former is detrimental to our personal growth because it limits our creative potential, whereas the latter fosters growth. Self-awareness is an integral part of the process of building mental resilience. 


Mindset Recalibration  


Chapter 16 deals with the necessity of changing certain beliefs in the face of change. As the head of your organization, you constantly strive to grow and achieve great results, so in the long run, you need to be able to recalibrate your mindset in order to embrace change.


Adam Markel Quote:


Disputing Irrational Beliefs 


Chapter 17 is about being in charge of our own transformation before that power is taken from us. Long-term resilience is built when we take an active role in changing our lives, instead of a reactive one. Failure should bring us one step closer to our success, rather than to our downfall.


A Little Failure Goes a Long Way


Chapter 18 deals with strategies to overcome crippling anxiety and stress. Through meditation and practicing mindfulness, we can enable our brains to develop regardless of our age. The general advice is to meditate for ten minutes every morning. 


Happiness Doesn’t Deliver Resilience


Chapter 19 strengthens the argument that emotions are private and that we are not privy to other people’s emotions. However, being aware of your own emotions will make all the difference in your personal growth and building resilience in an ever-changing world.  


Are You Emotionally Agile?


Chapter 20 depicts any organization as a complex being with its own desire. Leaders should encourage and “cultivate emotional resilience” of the members in their organizations. Being aware of your feelings on a daily basis is a crucial step to building emotional resilience. 


The 3-4 Method 


Chapter 21 is about a breathing pattern that helps people become actively calm, which is a trait of emotionally resilient people. Inhaling, holding your breath for 10 seconds, and exhaling are the key components of this method.


Follow the Bubbles 


Chapter 22 depicts the little moments, or bubbles, in people’s lives that help them exit a toxic mood, or escape depressive feelings. These bubbles incorporate joy and optimism, so it’s helpful to think about things you are grateful for in order to create more of these bubbles every day.


Calm Is Contagious 


Chapter 23 is about remaining calm when you are in a whirlwind of problems and difficulties. Becoming emotionally resilient heavily relies on being present and staying in the moment when we are facing obstacles. When other people see our calmness, they will be more likely to calm down themselves. 


Resilience Is a Choice


Chapter 24 presents the author’s Code of Conduct and its role in building emotional resilience. Saying at least five motivational statements in the morning will set the tone for the remaining of your day. This way, we will be responsible for how reality affects us and we will react to it. 


The Myth of Authenticity   


Chapter 25 is about debunking the myth of authenticity. People frequently misuse this word, especially when they wish to say “transparency.” Transparency is rooted in clarity, which is vital for becoming resilient. It indicates that leaders are not willing to hide behind their choices, which is a strength, not a weakness. 


“We’ll Figure It Out” 


Chapter 26 is about how honest conversations foster emotional resilience. The chapter warns against making assumptions about people, especially in relationships. Becoming change proof is rooted in shared purposes between people entering any kind of personal or professional relationship. 


Self-Disruption Versus Stagnation: The Toothbrush Test   


Chapter 27 reveals a common, but sad truth: people want success without doing the work to achieve that success. Unfortunately, this is not the road to becoming change-proof. All of us have to pay the cost of learning and the cost of change. Nature changes constantly, so we, as part of nature, change constantly, too. 


What Change-Proof Culture Can Do for You   


Chapter 28 synthesizes the four most important qualities that a leader should possess in order for his business to thrive: self-awareness, transparency, leading by example, and leading with the spirit. A true leader stays committed to building emotional resilience or becoming change-proof. 


Connecting with Others Connects You with You   


Chapter 29 is about being a peaceful state. To attain peace and to build resilience, you have to appreciate life, improve interpersonal relationships, identify possibilities, connect with people on a spiritual level and become more empowered. 


Breakthrough Without a Breakdown  


Chapter 30 talks about fighting negative thoughts with more positive ones. Positive thoughts and feelings encourage and stimulate growth, so for every negative thought, think of five positive ones. The best way to start seeing obstacles as opportunities is to think of things you are grateful for. 


Adam Markel Quote 2: “Every time you’ve got someone else’s back, you build up more and more resilience for yourself.”


Leverage Uncertainty  


Chapter 31 emphasizes the phenomenal and transformative power of habitual gratitude. Since change is certain, inevitable, and out of your control, the main thing you can do is control your reaction to the coming change. Being grateful and expressing gratitude for your entire life journey will help you navigate change and become resilient. 


The Mystery of Death 


Chapter 32 deals with the harsh truth that becoming resilient is a long and complex process. We can only hope that the legacy we leave stems out of compassion, empowerment, honesty, and generosity. 


Most Important Keywords, Sentences, Quotes:


CHAPTER 1 – How Change Changes Things—and What to Do About It: Making Friends with Change


“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

“Embrace the pivot.”

“With rare exception, almost everyone I speak to experiences feelings of unease or anxiety in one form or another. In my work with thousands of people around the world, however, I’ve noted a singular, significant change in those feelings. Rather than occurring during periods of significant change —a job change, a divorce, or a new business—those feelings now seem to be a near-daily part of life.”

“Career and business pivots are becoming less an event and more a steady state. Remember the old saying, “the only certainties in life are death and taxes”? You can now add “change” to the list. Uncertainty has become the new certainty. Change has become chronic.”

“These little pivots—the constant demands to make decisions and take action in the face of change—stack up big. They can compound into one long infinite pivot—a state of what feels like near constant, uncontrollable change that can erode your health, wealth, and happiness.”


CHAPTER 2 – Got Your Back: Lifeguard Lessons 


“On a rescue, we would swim sideways, parallel to the shore to get out of that rip current. We would get in there with buoys and sometimes other equipment like surfboards and move masses of people. Often, people were panicking. You’d have to get people calm and get them on that life preserver. Sometimes you’d have to get your arms around them. It was a dangerous situation.”

“The most dangerous part of the rescue is when you first get to the swimmer and they’re scared and embarrassed, and they don’t want to lose face in front of their friends. At that moment it’s possible for them to take you down with them.”

“As lifeguards, we had to be at 100 percent all the time or we risked someone drowning. To do that, we practiced what I now refer to as resilience training. We would work an hour on the stand in a very intense, focused way, sometimes making rescues. Then other lifeguards would spell us for an hour so we could take a break, eat, swim, run, or just relax. Switching back and forth between intense activity, focused performance, and periods of rest and recovery is how we build muscle in strength training. It’s also how we build resilience.”

“Every time you’ve got someone else’s back, you build up more and more resilience for yourself.”


CHAPTER 3 – The Change-Proof Model: Pause, Ask, Choose


“There’s one ritual that I cannot miss, no matter what. That ritual always begins the same way: I sit up in bed each morning, I put my feet on the floor, and I say, ‘I love my life.’”

“On the edge of my bed that morning, I knew I had to go all the way and really love my life, perceived warts and all. I had to take the bad times with the good. I had to look change in the face, and I had to choose to embrace my life in its fullness. I had to choose to love life more than my precious ego.”

“In life, sometimes more hard work isn’t going to get you where you want to go. It’s the effort that’s killing you. It’s counterintuitive, but you have to pause. You have to know at that moment that the first thing you do is stop what you’re doing. It’s the hardest thing to do, to take that pause, because the risk is so great.”


Adam Markel Quote 3: “It’s your response to stress that matters, far more than the stress itself.”


“Once you pause in the Suck, then you have only just begun to live. After you stop struggling against the current, the next step, the ask, is where you determine exactly how you live. It’s a simple procedure, all you have to do is lift your feet and float on your back. That’s all. The current will take you where it wants to. That’s what you do when you ask. This is where we find purpose. Or to be more specific, this is where you frame the meaning of what you’re experiencing.”


CHAPTER 4 – The Power of Choice: Leveraging Your Relationship to Change and Stress


“But the fact that we can explain change doesn’t mean we tolerate it. The problem with all this rapid and ubiquitous change is that it’s stressful. As a species, we’re wired at a neurological level to be on guard for change. Why? Because change means uncertainty. We have a deep-rooted drive to make sense of things and predict the future.”

“The perception of stress, in other words, determined how bad stress was for you. And based on their data, the researchers estimated that the belief that stress was bad was the fifteenth largest cause of death in the world.”

“It’s your response to stress that matters, far more than the stress itself.”

“There’s no “test” for resilience other than life itself, but there are specific ways to analyze your ability to respond to change and stress. 


CHAPTER 5 – The Markers of Resilience 


“Personally, when I think about resilience I think about people who aren’t undaunted by events but no matter what happens, they maintain some fundamental core of what makes them who they are.”

“The American Psychological Association defines resilience as ‘the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of threat.’”

“Resilient people are the ones who don’t just bounce back, we’re after more than that. It’s not just about getting back to where you were, it’s about getting further than you were. It’s about letting change change you.”


CHAPTER 6 – The Myth of Balance 


“When we talk about balance, what we’re actually talking about is something more holistic: we’re talking about harmony. For years, we’ve been feeding ourselves this idea that to be healthy in our lives and our jobs, we have to find balance.”

“I think when we talk about balance, we actually mean something even more meaningful and impactful. It’s a power that, if we can harness it, will allow us to deploy our pause, ask, choose tool for maximum resilience.”


Adam Markel Quote 4: “The quest for balance is static and keeps you seeking some mythical perfect state, but harmony is dynamic and allows you to assimilate events as they come.”


“When you replace the word balance with the concept of harmony, you rid yourself of the quest for perfection and can flow with change. You know uncertainty is guaranteed, so when you seek uncertain situations where failure is not only possible but likely, you build your resilience reserves for the times when uncertainty seeks you.”


CHAPTER 7 – Harmony 


“Some of us are making change, while others are reacting to the change. So we put ourselves into separate camps. As opposed to seeing ourselves in each other. Seeing the change in others.”

“When I’m swimming, to keep up my harmonious action to be at my best, I’m constantly reminded of these four pillars of equilibrium: 1. Don’t hurry. 2. Don’t worry. 3. Don’t condemn. 4. Don’t resent.”

“This is how we perform resilience. We pause with our body. We ask with our minds and hearts. We choose with our spirit.”

“My thesis is that the best way to deal with change is to embrace it. To accept it, to work with it, and as you’ll see from the example in this book, to profit from it—personally and professionally. To thrive, rather than simply survive. Instead of operating at your peak for short bursts, you’ll be operating at a high level forever. The trick, of course, is in the how, and that’s what you’ll learn in the pages that follow.”

“Like most people, I’ve learned that change is the new normal. We don’t get a choice anymore about whether to be resilient. We have to be. We can’t predict the future, and we can’t plan for every eventuality. Change, whether we like it or not, is no longer optional.”

“The quest for balance is static and keeps you seeking some mythical perfect state, but harmony is dynamic and allows you to assimilate events as they come.” 


CHAPTER 8 – The Resilience Bank Account  


“The price of burnout is costly. For me, and my work with clients, I use the pause, ask, choose architecture to frame a strategy to replenish my resilience bank account.”

“When we pause, it is our chance to catch our breath, quite literally. This is the reset we must have. Like rebooting your computer when it is slogging along under the strain of all the tabs you have open and before it freezes.”

“When we ask, we are seizing the chance to discover deeper meaning in the challenge we’re facing. This is the reframe. We reframe the moment for our growth by asking questions like, ‘What’s the creative opportunity?’ and ‘What am I not seeing?’”

When we choose, we are consciously ritualizing small, daily practices for our personal recovery to create mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual harmony.”

“Building small, daily resilience habits is a simple, easy way of depositing resilience before you need to spend it. What daily resilience habits do you currently perform?”


CHAPTER 9 – Resilient Organizations 


“Recovery is the Rosetta Stone for this book. If we don’t recover, we can’t be resilient. It’s as simple as that. But we often delay recovery, waiting until it’s forced upon us. When that happens, it’s too late.”

“Long-term stresses make it difficult to respond to shocks to the system.”

“Resilience isn’t about meeting expectations. It’s about exceeding your expectations. That’s what diversity does for us. Diversity is the key to the planet’s resilience because it constantly evolves and changes the status quo. That’s nature’s way.”


Adam Markel Quote 5: “Building small, daily resilience habits is a simple, easy way of depositing resilience before you need to spend it. What daily resilience habits do you currently perform?”


“You can’t stop the change that’s coming, but empowering the connections between your employees means you can thrive in the chaos of change.”

Change-proof resilience is about how you, as a leader, get yourself in a place where you’re developing your own resilience and then modeling it for your team.


CHAPTER 10 – Left Brain Resilience


“If you’re working day and night, first one to arrive and last to leave, then chances are, your employees are seeing that and thinking, ‘That’s how I have to be.’ You don’t. That’s why you’re here.”

“To be resiliently change proof you must be consciously aware of your emotions as well as those of your people. You may not like it or feel ready, but their emotions are your responsibility.”


CHAPTER 11 – Recovery Versus Burnout


“Like the earth that we inhabit, if we want our bodies to be change proof, then we need to heed the warning signs of chronic stress.”

“Sounds like how we’ve been living for years, trying to be all things to all people, to our families, to our Zoom colleagues, and to ourselves, and oh by the way, we’re not leaving our houses. We’re rushing around the same square footage from day to day as the world around us slips farther and farther away. We’ve felt as though we’re doing three jobs for the price of one, the clock is continually running, and we have zero idea when this will all end. Meanwhile, we keep struggling.”

“To those suffering from burnout, the motivation not only doesn’t come back, but symptoms like depression develop along with feelings of helplessness and a withdrawal from the circle of family and friends.”

“The pause, and the recovery, for us as lifeguards meant we had to be honest. No hiding. No pretense. No false bravado that says, ‘I’m strong. I got this. I’m just going to fight through the pain.’ That’s how people die on the beach. The stakes were that high. For us, just that little step, that little tweak made it possible for us to really have each other’s backs.”

“If you want to be change proof—you can pause. You can recover. But the first step is you have to be honest with yourself. Even if you’re a leader, you have to say, “I’m burned out. I need to change.” That’s when people can really help you.”


CHAPTER 12 – Recover Before It’s Too Late 


“The resilience pause is about recovery. And recovery should not be like Brigadoon (a mythical Scottish village that appears for one day every hundred years).”

“If we’re being ruthlessly honest with ourselves, then we know that mentally we’ve evolved in a miraculous way, but our bodies are completely unhealthy. We eat when we’re starving. And then we don’t stop. Then we feel guilty and fast for as long as we can. We don’t see food as fuel. We eat because our emotions feel bad.”

“We should ask for support before we need it. We should support others before they ask.”

“For leaders and their teams, it’s vital to build rest and recovery into your schedule so your organizational talent is available for the long journey.”


CHAPTER 13 – Even Michael Jordan Paused


“ We’re afraid that everything we’ve built will vanish. Or we’ll be disrupted out of our industry entirely. We see ourselves at the edge of a cliff, on a treadmill running at top speed, and if we stop we’ll tumble off the machine and over the cliff. Oblivion.”

“That’s why resilience is such a commitment, because the moment you think you’ve figured out the solution to your problem and you’re seeing tangible gains, then another problem arises. The tide is always going out and coming in.”

“There’s no one question you should be asking of yourself and your organization. You can ask the right question but at the wrong time. Put it this way: the why is the soil in which you plant, the how is how you help that plant become the best plant it can be.”


CHAPTER 14 – Outperforming Challenges 


Even at our most basic, our resilience is a marathon not a sprint. It’s an important lesson to note. Our bodies are built to be resilient. Our bodies are built for long-term endurance.”

“The harmony of resilience needs regular exercise. Just ask our ancestors about when they chose to climb out of the trees and run their hearts out. If you want to have a resilient body, then you need to move that body. It wants to move, it needs to move, and we know now, that it’s wanted that for a million years. That means, if you’re able to, you have to choose to move your physical body every single day.”

“Rituals, specifically physical ones, if we do them every day, no matter what, become part of our character. We don’t even need to think about them, they just are.”

“You can determine the physical resilience of your organization by taking care of the bodies of your people and the environment in which they work.”


CHAPTER 15 – Get out of Your Head


“Once you find out who you are, you have to make sure that everyone who crosses the doorway of your business knows who you are. They shouldn’t have to guess. They’re not mind readers. Redundancy is the key to your mindset.”

“For many of us on our resilience journeys, our misfortunes become like landmarks we visit on the cross-country journey that is our lives.”


 Adam Markel Quote 6: “Like the earth that we inhabit, if we want our bodies to be change proof, then we need to heed the warning signs of chronic stress.”


“Our work is about finding your way out of the darkness of damn things and into the light. Out of the valley and back up to the heights. To not just survive the damn things that happen around you, but to alchemize them into the stuff of real growth.”

“The key to mental resilience is realizing that all we can control in life is how we respond to events. We have that choice. We have that power. Mentally we can stop worry and anxiety dead in their tracks. Change is guaranteed. How we respond to change is not. That is our task.”

“Trying to think your way through a task means you’ll be a beat ahead or a beat behind. The laws of mind and body are often at odds. The harder you hammer a nail, the faster it is set. Willpower works in that arena. With thought, the harder you try to think, the more constricted your thoughts become. Thinking actually defeats itself. It’s self-sabotage.”


CHAPTER 16 – Mindset Recalibration 


“As a business leader, you’re constantly on your growth edge. You have to be. Every day is a new opportunity to grow yourself and your business. For some that’s thrilling, while for others it’s mentally exhausting.”

“The tide is coming in, no matter what the king or queen or prime minister says is different; it comes in, it goes out, indifferent to human activity. Just like change.”

“Self-consciousness, overthinking and all their attendant misery are offshoots of fear.”

If you want to survive as an organization for the long haul, you have to be able to dispute some of the foundational beliefs that made you who you are. If what you’re doing isn’t working, then go back to your initial beliefs. Nine out of ten times that’s where your problem lies.”


CHAPTER 17 – Disputing Irrational Beliefs


“We want short-term success when what we really desire is a long-term legacy that we give to our children and our grandchildren. We want to know people will be at our funeral. It’s the only reason why we have them. Isn’t it? The only way we get there is if we start performing resilience.”

“Resilience is about recalibrating. Just like when we’re in the car on a long journey and we have a distant destination in mind. Let’s say it’s the Grand Canyon.”

“In mindset reform, resilience is about transforming ourselves before transformation is taken out of our hands, letting other people and events have control over when, how, and why we transform. It’s about being proactive rather than reactive. It’s easier to play offense than defense. The offense has a plan and a play. The defense has to react to that, just like the white pieces and black pieces in chess.”

A growth mindset is going to set you on a track for long-term resilience. And it’s something that’s achievable in this life. You can change your mindset.”


CHAPTER 18 – A Little Failure Goes a Long Way


“If you’re looking at your teams or your organization, how do you change the mind of the collection of people that make the product you’re selling? You have to create space, because space becomes creative and we choose that space with our minds.”

“One of the most important is the idea that as we advance in age, our brains, rather than becoming stagnant and fixed, are actually capable of amazing growth and possibility. The concept of neuroplasticity is the almost radical notion that our brains can change and they can change late in our life span.”

“The mind, Dawson contends, is not all that dissimilar from the body. If you go to the gym and start exercising your biceps and triceps, and your shoulders, back, and chest, you’re going to look and feel different.”

“Mindfulness is the key. But there are many different ways to get to mindfulness, that yes, include sitting still and quiet with your thoughts without judgment. There’s no version of our lives where we don’t meditate. It has to be a regular habit. Even for 10 minutes every morning. You don’t have to be an expert. You just have to do it.”


CHAPTER 19 – Happiness Doesn’t Deliver Resilience


“The contents of the human heart are as infinite and murky as the mind. We truly don’t know how anyone is feeling. Even in the age of endless social media feeds, scrolling every thought, meme, or meal we could possibly consume in a single life span. That’s every day. We know what everyone thinks. But we have no idea how they feel.”


Adam Markel Quote 7: “Self-consciousness, overthinking and all their attendant misery are offshoots of fear.”


“You may not know the feelings of others, but darn it, you’re going to know about your own feelings. It’s about how to create for yourself a resilient heart by once again pausing, asking, and choosing the way of resilient emotions.”

“Money can’t buy you happiness, but happiness won’t buy you more happiness, either. The change-proof mindset says, ‘My emotions and my feelings have the power to change my reality on a moment-by-moment basis.’”


CHAPTER 20 – Are You Emotionally Agile?


“An organization is made up of people. A collection of hearts and minds. A collection of values. They congeal, coordinate, and collaborate to become more than the sum of their parts.”

“Your organization is a collection of emotions. It’s not one thing. You may want it to be yours, but you can’t. Your organization has its own desire. Sometimes, leading is just getting out of the way. You have to cultivate the emotional resilience of your people.”

“For our work, pausing emotionally is about getting to the roots of our feelings. To be on our growth edge, we can’t be riding the emotional roller coaster. We can’t get too high and we can’t get too low. That is our choice to make. It’s our work.”

“Emotionally, we want to use the challenges that seem to be blocking us as a springboard for a resilient heart that’s forever and not just a fad.”

“Resilience is baked into our DNA. At a genetic level, we have the capacity for resilience. Even if our circumstances are wildly different, we all have the same access to resilience. It’s just about whether we can become aware enough to use it. However, to find that emotional resilience that will make us change proof for the long term, we have to go all the way down to the roots.”


CHAPTER 21 – The 3-4 Method  


“One of the things I love most about emotionally resilient people is that they’re actively calm and when active they’re calm. They’re aware. They’re present.”

“Emotions have real weight to them. The emotionally resilient ones just seem to move through the world like they’re lighter. Because they’re breathing. They’re in contact with the movement of air in and out of their body.”

“Breathe. Take a breath. Feel that energy, moving through your entire body.”

“My breath pattern has a series of four thoughts associated with it. That way you’re consciously thinking of something specific while you are, at the same time, engaged with yourself in your breath. This is a simple way to get present, in your moment, and interrupt the emotional patterning that keeps you from performing resilience.”

“This method is based on four thoughts spread out over a single breath, which is separated into three parts: 1. Inhale—the breathing in 2. Holding it for 10 seconds 3. Exhale—the breathing out.”

“The 3-4 method of breathing in, holding for 10 seconds, and breathing out is a simple way to let go of feelings that hinder us from our growth potential. If you find yourself feeling things you don’t want to feel, then use this method to pause, ask, and then choose to let it go.”

CHAPTER 22 – Follow the Bubbles 

“Emotionally, we feel tossed into the deep, deep water where everything is dark and we don’t know up from down.”

“As I mentioned earlier in our story, I love to surf. It’s a magical, fruitful place. It’s where all the lessons of this book come into the sharpest focus imaginable. Because the growth edge is the place where we’re one with the flow of the universe. We’re not ahead. We’re not behind. We’re simply riding the waves as they come. I don’t do it to unplug, rather I use it to plug in to the source of all things.”

“No matter how many big waves they’ve plunged down on their board. No matter how many hours and days and months they’ve been in the ocean. They know full well what it can do, how big, powerful, and remorseless the ocean is to those who dare to tread on its surface.”

“Make a list of the bubbles you saw today and be grateful for them. I guarantee you’ll feel yourself taking a deep, refreshing breath and facing the future with joy and peace.”


CHAPTER 23 – Calm Is Contagious 


“How do we keep our cool when everything around us is spinning out of control? How do we not panic when we find ourselves in a rip current that’s hurtling out to sea? Our emotional resilience depends upon doing that. But so often we find it difficult to stay present, in the moment, in our hearts, and in the hearts of our business.”

“Not all of us are leaders, but each of us, in our ways, is leading something. Maybe it’s not a business, team, or organization, but maybe you’re a leader in your family, your place of worship, or your peer group.”

“So much of our lives is not just about trying to avoid mistakes, but avoiding situations where it’s even possible to make a mistake. That’s just the truth. We’re conditioned to take the easier route to be comfortable. But it’s not about just keeping calm when we’re up against it. Part of keeping calm is just doing the thing that’s in front of you and not getting your emotions lost in fighting battles about what was fair or unfair. That’s a losing proposition. Even when we’re correct and we’re fighting over what is fair or unfair, we’re losing. There’s right and there’s wrong. That’s different. That’s worth fighting for.”

“Staying calm in the face of what we perceive to be unfair will trickle down to the people around us.”

“Suffering and pain have a way of making us see the truth of things. To me, that’s a peaceful, calm place.”

“If you’re calm, then spread that calm like a virus.”


CHAPTER 24 – Resilience Is a Choice


“In a lot of ways, our lives are designed by the algorithms all around us. The only algorithm we’re oftentimes not aware of is the one that lives inside us. It’s the secret to that ideal day we’re searching for.”

“To create your own Code of Conduct, I recommend you sit in a quiet place for just 5 or 10 minutes and ask how you want to experience your life today.”

“Use my list as a place to start, but know you should change and adjust the earlier statements to suit your unique experience. You don’t need to start with 13 either. There’s no magic number. For me, and my clients, the best results have come from using at least 5 statements each day, but no more than 15. The practice is powerful in intervals of 10 to 20 minutes.”

“Using the Code of Conduct to set the algorithm for your day is about taking emotional responsibility for your experience. How many times do we do that? We give our day away to people all the time, and what they think, feel, and do puts thoughts in our heads, feelings in our hearts, and makes us do things we may not really want to be doing. The important thing about the Code of Conduct is to do it first thing in the morning. If you wait to check in with it until your day goes sideways, then it’ll be too late.”


Adam Markel Quote 8: “Emotionally, we feel tossed into the deep, deep water where everything is dark and we don’t know up from down.”


“People who are emotionally responsible for their own life experiences are resilient people. How could they not be? It’s all about how you want to experience yourself being on any given day. Emotional resilience is about existing in that loving space where you’re noticing the abundance all around you.”

“The Code of Conduct, when you do it every morning and every night, will allow you to create the reality that you desire for yourself.”


CHAPTER 25 – The Myth of Authenticity  


“But as we grow older we often don’t put silly games like hide and seek behind us. We keep them inside. It’s how some of us cope with anxiety and fear. For many of us, the game is the same but no one’s giggling. You may not know it, but you’re hiding. You’re hiding past traumas.”

“We say balance when we mean harmony, and in this case, we say authenticity when we mean transparency. Transparency is rooted in clarity. Get clear with yourself and then you can get clear with the people in your life and in your organization.”

“We have to be honest and rigorous with one another. That’s real support. That’s what we crave. But resilience is impossible without an honest accounting of ourselves. If you desire long-term growth, it requires shortterm pain.”

“Transparency comes when you make the tough choices. That’s a very simple thing to write and a much harder thing to execute. So many of our choices come down to the lesser of two evils. There are layers to truth.”

“The leaders of tomorrow are transparent today.  Don’t hide from your weaknesses, seek them and you’ll find them eventually becoming your strengths.”


CHAPTER 26 – “We’ll Figure It Out”


“How you are in anything, is how you are in everything.”

“Who you are is defined by stated and unstated expectations. Let’s be honest, if you’re a business leader, then you expect your team to be mindreaders. If you’re willing to be radically honest and transparent about you.”

“As leaders, if we want to choose emotional resilience that will last a lifetime, then a huge portion of that is our relationships. Our most important relationship is like a compass for what direction we’re heading in. The lesson that follows is applicable to our friends, our coworkers, and even perfect strangers.”

“Resilient relationships are about honest communication. That’s necessary in every relationship you could possibly have. Communication is based on seeing the other person as clearly as you want them to see you. One of the biggest reasons why relationships aren’t resilient is because of assumptions.”

“Every relationship, be it love, friendship, or professional, must be based on a shared purpose that has you pulling in the same direction.”


CHAPTER 27 – Self-Disruption Versus Stagnation: The Toothbrush Test


“Learning doesn’t come easy. Even something as banal as brushing one’s teeth. It breaks down like this: awareness, understanding, reprogramming.”

“We all want to learn, we all want to grow, and we all want to live our lives and run our organizations with more awareness. So many times, though, we don’t want it to be difficult. We want the benefits without the cost. That’s not how you get to be change proof. That’s not how to change proof your organization. Learning costs. It just does. Anyone who tells you differently has a trunk full of snake oil in their wagon.”

“Nature changes every day and every night. When we arrived in the morning, the beach that we left the night before could look completely different.”

“Our current climate crisis (you rarely see those two words apart from one another) is a motley collection of symptoms, but a large portion of our impact has to do with our farming methods. The industrial way we put our food in the ground and feed that to the meat we eat.”


Adam Markel Quote 9: “The leaders of tomorrow are transparent today. Don’t hide from your weaknesses, seek them and you’ll find them eventually becoming your strengths.”


“Your spirit does not belong to you. You are its steward. You’ve been tasked with keeping safe, intact, and flourishing while it’s in its human form. Our spirits are ancient. Far more than we give them credit for. They were here before you and they’ll be here after you.”

“Our spirit does not belong to us: it belongs to the world around us, so we have to see ourselves as a piece of a much larger puzzle.”


CHAPTER 28 – What Change-Proof Culture Can Do for You 


“Being change proof is about being consciously aware and present with the movement of the world around us. As a leader, our business is to raise the level of our own awareness so we can notice and connect with the awareness of the people who depend on us.”

“The culture of a business is a combination of collective values and an undivided collective awareness. As a leader, it’s your awareness that defines the values that create the culture of your business. It’s that easy.”

“Any relationship takes commitment. That’s what our kind of resilience is. Change-proof resilience is about what I call closing the gap between you and another person.”

“Do the Code of Conduct for your organization the same way you perform it for yourself to experience and create a cultural harmony.”


CHAPTER 29 – Connecting with Others Connects You with You 


“To grow, our spirit needs to pause. When we allow for that to happen, our spirit, without prompting, without conscious effort, reaches out to connect with other spirits. That’s what it desires. As we already know, our spirit does not belong to us, so when we take the shackles off of it, it will seek communion with the spirit in other people.”

“Having a resilient spirit is about getting inspired by your life and the world around you.”

“To be inspired means to be filled with the breath of the spirit. People used to believe that when a person was inspired, it meant God was literally breathing into them.”

“Presence leads to peace. Get present with the people around you, and you’ll experience the peace that will allow you to be change proof.”


CHAPTER 30 – Breakthrough Without a Breakdown 


“For spiritual resilience, we must be consciously aware so that our awareness surrounds us throughout our lives. That way, when we’re performing resilience we’re not just managing change, we’re using it to our competitive advantage for our better growth edge.”

“There is science that tells us for every one negative thought, your brain needs five positive thoughts to counteract the chemical balance. This is something that actually works. Instead of beating yourself up or the nearest person around you, you force yourself into five things. I start off with three things I’m grateful for, then the other two just wind up flowing, wind up happening.”

“Think of the five positive thoughts as five lifeguards who will rescue you from the one negative thought. Thanks to Lisa, when you do that, you’ll see opportunities instead of obstacles. Awareness creates resilience so we can break through without breaking down.”


CHAPTER 31 – Leverage Uncertainty


“Nothing will stop change from happening. By now we know that change is guaranteed. You can’t predict when and where it will happen. What you can control is how you respond to change and find the creative opportunity within.”

“Habitual gratitude is the silver bullet for leveraging every single kind of uncertainty you could possibly face.”

“Gratitude flows from our spirit so we can be clear-eyed about our resilience and where the second component of gratitude comes from. It comes outside of us, when we see how other people have blessed us with kindnesses great and small, seen and unseen.”

“Find at least one person every day that you can express gratitude to and for, and you will end up being grateful for the place you are in your own journey.”


CHAPTER 32 – The Mystery of Death


“Some changes we make. Some changes take place. They both call us to reimagine our resilience.”

“As a leader, you have a single purpose and it’s not the one you think it is: you are there to serve. Serve yourself, your family, your company’s values, your stakeholders.”

“Once we’ve come to terms with life’s package deal, once we’ve made peace with life’s terms, the natural thing that flows into us is the desire to pay the good in our lives forward out of gratitude. Instead of kicking and screaming as we go and leaving a legacy of chaos and clutter and unfinished business, we get to leave a legacy of love that’s born of our sensitivity, our compassion, our consideration, our love, our generosity of heart, and our strength.”

“There’s no quick, easy fix to becoming change proof, because it’s a lifelong journey with peaks and valleys, twists and turns, rained-out paths and rocky footing.”


EPILOGUE – Imagining the Future


“To survive, you don’t fight the current, exhausting your limited resources; instead, you have to stop wasting your effort on an impossible fight and pause. Then you have to ask yourself a series of questions to get fully aware of your situation, and you have to see yourself, floating on the surface of the water, recovering your energy. Finally, you have to choose to swim back to shore.”

“In the process of developing resilience—our ability to benefit from life’s situations no matter what—we need to pause to reframe almost as easily, and sometimes as frequently, as we breathe.”

“As a leader, the most important resilience tool you have at your disposal is your imagination. Even if you don’t use it as much as you did when you were small, you use it every day you’re blessed to be able to sit at the big desk and make the big decisions that will impact your organization in the short term and will live on after someone else is seated where you are right now.”

“That’s the key to being a change-proof leader capable of leveraging uncertainty into something powerfully and creatively useful: you have to develop and cultivate your organizational imagination so that your entire organization is imagining a more flexible future.”

“The world is changing right now, and there’s a thousand years of thought that says no one can prove what will happen in that future world. The question is: When that future comes, will you be change proof?”


Book Review (Personal Opinion):


I especially liked the author’s treatment of the topics of stress and recovery. Stress is often the byproduct of uncertainty, so embracing change is crucial for positive transformation and emotional resilience. Some chapters that explored similar topics should have been merged together for the purpose of conciseness and impactfulness.  


Rating: 6/10


This Book Is For:


  • Leaders of organizations
  • Managers
  • Anybody who wants to build resilience 


If You Want To Learn More


Here’s an interview with Adam Markel in which he discusses the topic of resilience:
Build Long-term Resilience with Adam Markel


How I’ve Implemented The Ideas From The Book


I’ve made an effort to pause before I experience burnout. I’ve also tried to alter the way I react to stress because I’ve learned that the reaction to stress is much more important than stress itself. 


One Small Actionable Step You Can Do


Take breaks from work: you can meditate, say affirmations, establish new relationships, etc. because recovery is crucial for becoming resilient.  

Change Proof by Adam Markel - Book Summary Infographic