Question of the Day: How important do you think flexibility is in your life? Physical therapists and chiropractors will tell you that flexibility is vital to keeping a body healthy. Most doctors tell us that as we age, flexibility is vital to keeping our muscles strong and our sense of balance intact. Psychologists say that we want to keep our minds flexible, so that we can adapt to internal and external changes. And if we don’t? Well, just ask the dinosaurs . . . if you can find one.
“The only constant in the universe is change.” Whether these words were from Heraclitus (a 5th 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 don’t get through to their brains.
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!”