Sam Radford

December 1, 2021

Adapt or die

I continue to enjoy Will Smith’s memoir, ‘Will’. This quote, though lengthy, is worth sharing in full: 

There’s a Buddhist parable that has guided me through many a perilous transition: A man is standing on the banks of a treacherous, raging river. It’s rainy season – if he can’t get to the other side, he’s done. He quickly builds a raft and uses it to safely cross the river. In joyous relief, he high-fives himself, lifts the raft, and heads toward the forest. But as he attempts to make his way through the dense tree cover, the raft is banging and knocking into trees and becoming entangled in vines, preventing him from moving forward. He only has one chance for survival: He must leave the raft behind – the vessel that saved his life yesterday is the same one that will kill him today if he does not let it go. The raft represents our outmoded ideas and old ways of thinking that no longer serve us. For example, the same angry, aggressive persona you cultivated as a child to protect yourself from bullies and predators will now destroy every relationship you have if you're unwilling to let it go. Things can be perfectly useful and absolutely necessary during certain periods of our lives. But a time will come when we must put them aside or die. (Emphasis mine.)

Growth and progress require change. It’s the only way. And change always involves two things: leaving something behind, and embracing something new. 

We have to put something off to make space to put on something new. 

This isn’t always (often?) easy — but it is necessary. 

I am increasingly convinced that the future belongs to the adaptable — the people prepared to change in order to grow; the people willing to let go of that which sustained them at one stage of life in order to more into a new and better future.


Got some thoughts on this? I’d love to hear from you – do hit reply or drop me a note.

@samradford |

About Sam Radford

Husband, father, lover of books, writer, tech geek, sports fan, and pragmatic idealist from Sheffield, England.