"On Adaptation and Opportunity" by Erik Michielsen

Wikipedia defines Adaptation as "The process whereby a population becomes better suited toward its habitat."  It is also noted there that as part of adaptive behavior, "flexibility deals with the relative capacity of an organism to maintain themselves in different habitats: their degree of specialization." 

Adaptation is a fundamental theme that continuously occurs in Capture Your Flag interviewees.  It occurs in very interesting and diverse ways, all keeping the fundamental flexibility above. 

The flexibility and adaptation is less about survival than it is about identifying and seizing opportunity.  Whether it is an incremental step in a path toward shaping a fulfilling purpose or an actual immersion into that state, it is indeed a powerful and actionable force. 

There are many "Adaptation" themed Capture Your Flag video chapters from which to choose (Click here to view them all), though the below four showcase how interviewees progress by making changes and tweaks to position themselves for opportunity. 


It began with a blog.  Cathy Erway decided not to eat out for two years.  Then came a book deal and there came a challenge.  How to turn A blog ripe with recipes and anecdotes into one girl's coming of age story in New York City.  Erway charts her course and a memoir, anchored by food in so many ways, results. 


As a college student in New Haven, Connecticut, Louise Davis volunteered locally to build a program teaching health education to teenagers engaging in high-risk behaviors.  Into her senior year, it dawned on Davis that the potential exists to build the program into something larger across communities nationwide.  Six years into building national non-profit Peer Health Exchange, Davis highlights the necessary mindset shift from maintaining one local community program to building an infrastructure to support a nationwide location network serving 100s of schools and 1000s of students annually. 


Intellectually rigorous and time and energy demanding, law firm Prosauker provided attorney Jennifer Duberstein a launching pad into a sports law career upon graduating Northwestern Law School.  After years serving an array of clients, Duberstein leaves behind the firm to go in-house at a large corporation.  There, the pace slows and Duberstein finds time to contemplate broader life issues amongst a new colleague mix.  


Writer Mark Graham did not expect or aspire to be a New Yorker.  It just happened.  When the opportunity landed, launching Graham from his childhood Detroit home and into the Big Apple, the unknowns were many.  More over, one known was clear: Graham expected to stay in the Detroit, Michigan area indefinitely, surrounded by family and friends, and that was now changing as he moved to New York.  Different cultures, different economics, different expectation, same Mark Graham.  Acclimating to a new career, lifestyle, and location, Graham stays true to himself while learning the ropes so many writers have wove before him.

Nothing about the these adaptive stories shouts easy or obvious. Each took work, thought, and time to assemble.  And they did assemble.  Adaptation begets opportunity when the intent remains true to a core passion to make a difference.  Habitat, specialization, and opportunity know no limits in the variety of definitions that may apply.  This is true with finding one's particular place at one particular time to make it happen. 

*** For a complete list of all "Adaptation" chapters, click HERE ***

- Erik