No. 18 – Flexibility

No. 18 – Flexibility

Dear One,

With my enduring intention of sharing ways to grow from adversity and improve life, such that these ideas may help you, I offer you ideas on ‘Flexibility.’

“Flexibility is to embrace different viewpoints and alternate ways of doing things” per Pearl Zhu in ‘Quality Master.’

Yes, as perfectionism’s sometimes rigid approach didn’t quite work so hot for creatively addressing issues. 

In the book ‘The Gifts of Imperfection,’ Brene Brown explains her thoughts on this. 

“Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”

A somewhat inelastic mindset formerly held me back from following what Gut Knowing or what others wiser than I suggested. 

Flexibly leaning into mind, body, spirit connection and outside-the-box options was not what I thought ‘the world’ deemed was optimal; I followed worldly wisdom for some time – to avoid judgment or disagreement – without producing longed-for outcomes.

The suggested reframe of struggles as opportunities for incremental, step-wise maneuvering through difficulty, including practicing Flexibility, rankled me initially. 

Since my best thinking hadn’t extricated me from a challenge abyss, slowly and Incrementally, I gave Flexibility a try.    

Some ideas for doing this included – and still involve –

• exposing myself to disparate, novel, or alternate ideas to those presently held via reading books and articles; 2 pages AM and PM is an achievable minimum that’s easily, in the moment, expandable,

• taking Breaks to increase mind relaxation per Gareth Cook’s article, The Power of Flexible Thinking.  With playing, walking, or praying/meditating, original ideas may rise up,

• mulling outside the box, sometimes even slightly ‘wrong’ feeling options during Silent times for future possible experimenting,

choosing to take small, maybe slightly uncomfortable, future unknown, not really one’s wheelhouse steps in a potentially advantageous direction.  Starting with easier and working up to harder as mini successes accumulate helps,

• reminding myself that it is ok to get ‘it’ wrong in order to eventually, perhaps, get ‘it’ right,

• adjusting or lowering perfectionistic expectations in challenging situations so as to possibly, maybe beneficially, inch forward towards a goal,

• practicing leaning in and giving a whirl to unique notions that seem might work, and/or

• occasionally pivoting, taking risks, or doing what may seem only to have a 1% success possibility – when following my safe-feeling-ways was or is more comfy.

Flexibility practice allowed for growth – to see different viable options, to open to Divine Downloads, to be willing to scrap old methods so innovative ones got a shot. 

Leonard Mlodinow, author of ‘Elastic’ was interviewed by Cook who writes that this Flexible “cognitive style [is what] you need in times of change” and that the “future belongs to the elastic mind.”

“We must adapt to thrive …  We have to be willing to rise above conventional mindsets, to reframe the questions we ask, to be open to new paradigms.  We have to rely as much on our imagination as on logic, and have the ability to generate and integrate a wide variety of ideas, to welcome experiment, and to be tolerant of failure” per Mlodinow. 

With water-like feel, Flexibility can allow for finding a way around or through obstacles encountered.  Or, as a youth I know mused, it’s like a leaf in the wind, floating around trees, rocks or barriers.  

There is more ease in dealing with what arises in life and especially in facing problems with Flexibility.  Being right matters less, fear seems reduced, and more wise or clever maneuvering grows more possible.

As Mlodinow notes in above article, this approach is “imaginative, original, and non-linear” and Accepts changing beliefs or adjusting expectations.    

A “JAMA study found that the 30-day mortality among high-risk acute care patients was a third lower when the top doctors were out of town … leaving more junior doctors in charge.  The authors explained that most errors doctors make are connected to a tendency to form opinions quickly, based on prior experience, but in cases that are not routine that can be misleading – the expert doctors may miss important aspects of the problem that are not consistent with their initial analysis.”  It’s remarkable how less die-hard opinions and elastic thinking benefitted these patients.   

Adapting, continuing discovery, and/or being open to brainstorming circumstances are aided by Flexibility – which may result in additional or improved options.  Hooray to that.

With deep belief in your ability to Flexibly maneuver challenges and add enhancements to your life,


Original Email Date:  August 5, 2020

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