“It is far better to bend than to break.” – Aesop (from The Oak and The Reed)
We often don’t like the idea of “bending” to anyone or to anything. For many, that appears to be the path of weakness, and our pride won’t let us back down. But learning to be flexible is a skill that allows you to “go around” when you can’t “go through.” It is a test of our creativity and allows us to let go of some of our own self-importance.
Bending to other forces might be seen as “wishy-washy,” but in the end you will be the one left standing. Where others stand rigid and break, you will be supple and bounce back.
Accept Things The Way That They Are
The first rule of flexibility is to accept circumstances the way they are. Wishing and hoping that something were different only serves to waste your own energy, taking resources away from what you hope to accomplish. Acceptance is tied to the knowledge that you control very little and the belief that you won’t worry or waste your time on things that you can’t control. You will only spend thought and action on the things that you can influence. This is a difficult mindset to hold because there is so much that we have no influence over! Knowing what to spend your time on will greatly increase your chances of finding the fulfillment and success in life that you seek. Reminding yourself of the way things actually are serves as a starting point for you to take creative action against the obstacle that has appeared in your path. Accepting things as they are is the only way to change them.
Use Your Creativity
Every individual on this planet is a creative being, because, by nature, human beings are problem solvers. Being flexible is the ultimate exercise in creativity because it involves imagining possibilities and then taking action towards those possibilities. When you are faced with an obstacle you can try to go through it, but if that doesn’t work, you can always go over, under, around, or any other way that you can think of. Focus on the solutions to problems rather than the problem itself and you will find yourself energized to creatively come up with a solution. You can’t be creative if you are too rigid to move.
Always Expect Change
Most people expect stability as the rule and see change as the exception. However, if you flip that around and see change as the rule and stability as the exception you will be well prepared to consistently use your flexibility. Change occurs constantly and often rapidly. If you keep that in mind, you will always be ready to jump into action when the situation requires it and adapt to whatever change in happening.
The oak tree may be magnificent in it’s strength, but it’s the reed that survives the storm. Be the reed.
What do you think – flexibility or strength? Are there any situations where you feel strength is preferable? Feel free to leave your answers in the comments section.