“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.”
Actually, they shall be, because they can be, but the idiomatic expression “bent out of shape” means “be angry, insulted or upset,” and in that sense, it’s true that those who are flexible can avoid anger and upset because of their ability to embrace change and alter their attitude about people and situations.
If you start out with the mindset that nothing is written in stone, and that life means change, you’re ahead of the game right there. When you expect change, you don’t get so upset when it comes around and affects your carefully laid plans and results go against your expectations. If you take that a step farther and not only expect change, but actually create change, you’re way out front, as long as you remember that the change you create is for yourself, not necessarily for others, although it will inevitably affect others. The effects of your own changes on others do need to be considered, accounted for, and dealt with. Realize that if you make a change in your own life, others may have to make some sort of change in the way they interact with you. They may or may not choose to do this.
Let’s consider physical flexibility for a moment. When the body is flexible, all joints have a full range of motion, and the body is not restricted in its movements. When we lack this range of motion, pain is the result. In life, socially and in the workplace, when we are flexible, we have the “full range of motion,” as well, in that we have all our options open to us. When we lack options, emotional pain is the result, expressed as anger, fear, worry, guilt, regret, and bitterness.
Being flexible doesn’t mean you can’t set schedules. It simply means that you use schedules as a scaffolding for your life, rather than as a prison that restricts your options. It doesn’t mean you are a wimp and can be controlled by others. It simply means that you are willing to enter into a dialog with others and work with them. Sometimes it means you have to allow others to have their way in order to move forward. Other times, it means you have to stand up for what you believe, but find a creative way to allow others to buy into your plan.
Being flexible is about allowing, rather than resisting. It’s about saying, “Yes, we can make this work,” rather than saying, “No, that’s not possible.” In that sense, it’s a positive mindset. It’s also a more inclusive one, because it allows us to respect, listen to, and even adopt others’ points of view, or at least take them into consideration.
Being flexible is also about realizing that if we have failed, there’s no reason why we can’t start over. It’s about being kind to ourselves and not browbeating ourselves for our mistakes. It’s about owning up to our errors and doing what we can to make amends. 🙂