“The only constant in the universe is change.” Whether these words were from Heraclitus (a 5 th century BC Greek philosopher) or Albert Einstein, they were and still are correct. The ability to quickly adapt is still a survival skill, one that has set the human species apart from most others.
One of the secrets to happiness in these changing times is the ability to be flexible – the power to adapt. Some people make themselves miserable by being very stubborn about their plans for the future. They choose a path and refuse to deviate from it, no matter what. When they do that, then they automatically lock out other possibilities for the future. These possibilities simply are not seen.
Now, persistence and tenacity are normally great qualities to have, but when it’s necessary to take a new direction, resistance can keep us stuck in the mud. The happiest and most successful people most likely are those who are eager to learn new ways. They adapt to new systems when the old ones don’t work or when something better comes along. Being flexible allows them to
see new possibilities and grab new opportunities.
If one career path fails, they enthusiastically learn a new way to make a living. If their marriage ends, they are able to adjust to being alone or to a new relationship. If people frustrate them and they see that these folks aren’t going to change, they accept them the way they are and relax, or they express their regrets without judging or blaming, and move on.
The Alcoholics Anonymous “serenity” prayer says it all: Change what you can, accept what you can’t, and cultivate the wisdom to know the difference. To these wise words, perhaps we should add, “…and believe wholeheartedly in my ability to do both!”