‘A flexible mind has a better chance to think differently and take a unique path in the life journey.’ Pearl Zhu
Have you seen the Jim Carey movie ‘Yes Man’ (2008, Warner Bros)? I thought it was a great idea to base a movie on, back when it came out. Essentially, the movie’s message is that by embracing the power of yes (being more flexible) in our personal lives, we can be happier, both in our personal and professional lives.
Perhaps the best gateways we encounter in life are those that shimmer & sparkle with possibility – career choices, lifestyle choices, parenthood, new friendships, important event invitations, romantic encounters, volunteer roles as leadership opportunities. The chance to work in another country. The chance to embark on a business start up.
Perhaps also, the best people to trust in life are the ‘type P’s for which it is a risk to trust them – type P’s being a small risk with big possibilities. Not ‘type R’s’ – a big risk with small possibilities. The trick is first finding them. And then distinguishing between the two types.
A question for you: in our lives, should we try and have high hopes, but low expectations? What’s your view?
And how does having high hopes but low expectations relate to personal flexibility? Perhaps the best chance for personal happiness & success, is to be flexible on hope. Be thorough in your preparation. Be skilful in your follow through too. But remain rigid & low in your expectations? The military have an acronym for it – snarfu!
Some everyday examples of personal flexibility:
- When some people step outside their front door, they carry clothing for different weather conditions.
- Some people sacrifice and save money ‘for a rainy day’. And may use a savings account (or piggy bank) with flexible access, for the same reason.
- Parents tell their children to study hard & gain qualifications. Ones that will be valued by more than one employer.
- People reserve their judgement when they meet strangers.
- Some people commit to things one step at a time, to ‘keep their options open’.
- Some people store up political favours or wealth, as a form of future insurance.
- Some people prize physical flexibility, perhaps indulging in dance, yoga, gymnastics or martial arts.
- People move cities or countries, hoping to take advantage of job opportunities in other locations.
- People adjust their mode of living as their needs change. For example, as a child or teenager, living with their parents. Living in student-share accommodation while studying At university. Living in a shared flat while starting their career. Living in nuclear-family accommodation to raise a family. Downsizing their accommodation needs when the children leave home. Moving into a care home when needing supervised care.
- People date strangers. They simultaneously try to present their best side, meet in a public place and ‘try on different potential partners for size.’
- Adventurous people seek out other places to experience other cultures and value systems.
- Some wealthy old people delay making a bequest. When tactfully asked by fundraisers why they delay, they reply ‘I might change my mind’.
- Close-knit communities create food stockpiles, seed stores and water wells, to cope with supply shortages or uncertain future weather conditions.
- Some communities create time capsules, music, dance, drama, museums, written diaries, film and photographs. They see this as a way to preserve their cultural identity in an uncertain world.
- We populate the planet with ever more people to preserve and enhance human society. Just in case.
In short, flexibility isn’t a novel concept. We’ve been practising it and paying lip service to it for years! What is new, or at least overdue, is creating a framework for both personal & business flexibility. And some new language about flexibility the subject. Long overdue in my view.
Enough for now. If you find these blogs useful, please spread the word for others to read them and comment too.