Flexibility – A Broader Reality

Did you know that your degree of flexibility, or adaptability, contributes to your emotional intelligence?

What is flexibility? In the book “The Other Kind of Smart” it is defined as:

The ability to react quickly and appropriately to new situations.

Flexibility is also a quality that develops through meditation and maturity.

Meditation teachers Doug and Catherine Sensei encourage their students to challenge themselves to experience food, activities, people that they haven’t before or that make them uncomfortable, for the purpose of flexibility. They teach that the degree of flexibility that a person has is also the degree of freedom they have.9d2218473e44304b0acc2f14cfb2d1f7

Qualities that come with flexibility (From “The Other Kind of Smart”):

1. Confidence (how successfully we feel weve dealt with change in the past determines confidence we have dealing with new change).

2. Stress management (it is not that those who manage to adjust well to new situations don’t feel stress; they have just found ways to not let stress levels get to the point where it impairs their ability to choose, make decisions, and act when appropriate).

3. Independence (people with low levels of independence might view themselves as victims of change, feeling there is little they can do about it. more independence types look at change by focusing on ways they can use the change to benefit themselves).

4. Feeling in control (having some sense we’re in the driver’s seat of our lives is also a necessary precursor to flexibility. Feeling weak and out of control only increases our stress and desire to avoid involvement in anything new).

Flexibility and Making Mistakes

“Flexibility and trying new ways of doing things naturally results in making mistakes”

People who are flexible generally have a different view about making mistakes, whether it is their own mistakes or someone else’s. As it is with Whole View, flexible people see life as an ever changing process, rather than a stagnant box. Making mistakes is an opportunity to learn, rather than a sign of inability.

Increase Flexibility

downloadPractice 1: Where are you inflexible?


Name actual people in your life who most irritate you. Name a situation from this week that had the most negative effect on you. What are things that you would never do, or foods that you would never eat? Why do these people/ events/ activities bother you? Take note of any strong patterns of preference or repulsion because these are indications of areas in your life where you are inflexible.

downloadPractice 2: Daily changes

From “The Other Kind of Smart”

Practice making changes daily. Take a different route to work. Take your coffee break at a different time, with a different coworker. Try something totally different for lunch. Pick things that are uncomfortable and require you to stretch, but do not cause a great deal of stress.

downloadPractice 3: What do you tell yourself?

From “The Other Kind of Smart”

Be aware of what you tell yourself and how you feel when thinking about doing something different that makes you uncomfortable. Challenge the things that you tell yourself. How many messages are based on reality, and how many are based on unwarranted fears?

downloadPractice 4: Tracking changes

From “The Other Kind of Smart”

Keep track of how many routine changes you do in a week. Next week, try to increase that number

downloadPractice 5: Using others for support

From “The Other Kind of Smart”

Celebrate every time you try something new that is a stretch for you. Share the good news with those you know are supportive.

Ask for support from those you are close to who will not only be supportive but will also challenge you to reach your goals.

Ask others (that you trust) to give you examples of where they feel you could be more flexible. What area of inflexibility do you feel is most detrimental to you? Focus on that area in your goal setting and change your plan.

downloadPractice 6: Think ahead, set goals

From “The Other Kind of Smart”

While taking small steps to make changes o a regular basis, set goals at regular intervals. Six-month time periods are ideal. Establish goals that are difficult for you. (Let goals build up to bigger goals. Baby steps.)

If you do not reach your goals, don’t punish yourself, but do set goals you are more likely to reach.


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