It’s no fun being so set in your ways that the slightest little thing sends you into a stress-filled panic mode. It sets you up for a very stressful life because you’re always having to defend your actions and thoughts to others, and if you struggle with self-confidence or self-esteem issues, you’ll find yourself wondering more than once “why does this always happen to me?”
If you can train yourself to be more flexible and consider options, you’ll find that many of those stressful moments can be avoided. And even if they can’t be completely avoided, you’ll be able to come up with a “plan B” if you’re willing to compromise a little.
Here are some tips on how being flexible can improve your life, at home and at work.
1. Being flexible saves you time and energy.
While other people getting stressed out over last minute schedule changes, your ability to be flexible will have you checking your schedule to see where you can make changes. When you’re flexible, the reason for the changes doesn’t really matter, you just deal with it and move on.
2. When you’re flexible you expect change, even embrace it.
Instead of being stuck with a rigid schedule, you will be better able to anticipate changes before they even happen. Develop the habit of asking yourself “What changes could come my way today,” and you’ll be less liable to stress out when they actually show up.
3. Being flexible allows you to move forward with less stress.
When you’re flexible it’s much easier to switch gears and move from one task to the next with little stress. Where an inflexible person might get stressed out at leaving one task undone because they were asked to help with a last-minute project, your new-found flexibility will allow you to jump into the new project easily, and just as easily return to your own work when the crisis has passed.
4. You get a reputation of being easy to work with when you’re flexible.
I’ll be honest here… I always had a problem with this one when I worked in an office. I wanted things done my way, and looking back I can see that I probably was pretty hard to work with.
Being flexible gives you the reputation of being the person everyone wants on their team. It’s true that there are few things that will build a positive reputation better than showing people you are able to adapt when the situation warrants it.
5. When you’re flexible you present a much more positive attitude.
Unless you’re a recluse, you will have to deal with other people over the course of your life. Recognizing that change is a given when more than one person is involved, and being able to deal with it positively is a wonderful skill to have. Being flexible hones that skill, and people appreciate it when you are able to handle a change in situation without getting flustered and stressed about it.
6. Being flexible shows that you know how to “go with the flow”.
I saw a saying today from John Crowe that said, “It takes a strong fish to swim against the current, even a dead one can float with it.” Now, you might be wondering what this has to do with being flexible, so here goes…
There are times when standing for what you believe in and going against the current is the right thing to do. There are also times when being flexible and going with the current is the more right thing to do.
For example, if your job is on the line, you might want to show you can be flexible and do what your boss wants whether it’s what you want to do or not. If your boss is at all attentive, s/he will notice that you were willing to do what was asked of you, and this will make an impact whether s/he says anything at all.
The point I’m trying to make here (and you can tell me if I’m succeeding by leaving a comment) is that going with the flow doesn’t always mean you’re a “dead fish.” Sometimes it’s a matter of survival.
7. Being flexible cures you of perfectionism.
Speaking as a reformed perfectionist, there is nothing that can slow you down faster than having to have everything just so. My first heart attack was directly attributed to stress because everything had to be just so, and I freaked out when the least little thing didn’t go according to my plans.
Learning to be flexible, letting go of the things you can’t change (and here’s a secret — there will ALWAYS be things you can’t change), and being willing to accept that things are what they are will allow you to live a longer, and more happy life.
8. When you embrace flexibility, you are much more calm.
There’s really no need to get freaked out by every little thing that happens during your day. Learning to be flexible allows you to stay calm, and just deal with things as they happen. You’ll stay in a positive mindset, feel more confident in your ability to handle a crisis, and be a lot better off because of it.
Sure, you may have to resort to a mantra or two to get you through it — “It is what it is” and “Rise above it” are two of my favorites — but in the end your mind and your body will thank you for it.
When you allow yourself to be flexible, you reduce your stress and are able to live more happily, and in the moment than if you’re always worrying about things going according to plan.
Practice these tips and you’ll find your blood pressure thanking you while you live a happier, more stress-free life.