How flexible are you? Now, we’re not talking about your body, although that is important, and getting more so every day. What we want to consider is, how flexible is your thinking?

Flexibility is something that all effective communicators have in common. They know how to change their behavior and their style until they get what they want. They know that they can’t pressure someone into understanding their point of view, or hope, by forcibly repeating themselves, to get through to another person. They also realize that, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will continue getting what you’ve always gotten.” It is “same-old, same-old” taken to the nth degree.

Now, flexibility doesn’t always come naturally. Many of us follow the same patterns with numbing regularity. Habits are energy-efficient, but inflexible in their execution. The brain loves them, specifically because they are terrific labor-savers. These habits can sometimes appear to be a combination of ego and inertia at work. But the challenge is that it all works against us as we attempt to grow beyond today.

If we are going to succeed in life and in our relationships, flexibility is a key. In this sense, flexibility means the willingness and ability to try new approaches if the old one isn’t working. It is a willingness to admit that there may be a better time, a better approach, a better argument, or a better appeal than the one we are using at the moment. As well, it is the ability to look for that better way and use it. This kind of flexibility is what growth mindset is all about.

Every organism is built to be efficient with its energy, from one-celled amoebae to complex human beings. It is certainly easier to do what we have done before. However, taking the easiest path is often the worst thing we can do. Choosing the easy way keeps us from growing and from developing the flexibility we need to succeed.

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