How flexible are you? No, I’m not talking here about your ability to pull your legs behind your head in a standing position. How flexible are you as it relates to your personal growth and confidence building?Once you’ve identified the path you wish to take to improve yourself, do you then bang your head against a brick wall and keep at it, whether your plan is working or not?
Einstein has said to us that only fools try the same thing time after time – hoping for different results. Being focused and tenacious are great qualities to possess, but at which point do they become ‘pig-headedness’?
When it comes to building your confidence, are you at breaking point, or are you flexible enough to bend?
How flexible are you
I came across this image and it really caught my eye. I’ve got lots of bamboo in my front garden and I know how strong those seemingly frail stems can be. (In fact, I only planted out my bamboos last year, so they’re not even well-established plants yet.) During the last storm we had, I was appalled to see how much they bent and waved – and even folded almost at the waist. But none of them broke – not a single, solitary, little bamboo stem was on the ground the next morning.
Yet, 50 yards up the road, in the school yard, where they have dozens of large, ancient, magnificent trees (oak included), there were hundreds of branches lying on the ground – and even on the road the next morning. The same event that broke these solid, powerful, established, strong branches is the very same event that left the tiny, puny bamboos untouched.
That one element responsible for this phenomenon is – flexibility.
- The bamboos were able to bend when the pressure became overbearing.
- They were able to ‘read’ their next move because they stood still enough to listen (for the direction of the wind) first.
- They knew exactly how to move with pressure. They went forward quickly when required, and bent backwards when it was necessary.
- They didn’t care how they looked. They just concentrated on getting through the storm. They knew they had time to ‘look cool’ when the hard part was all over.
How you can become flexible
Be able to bend with pressure
Life gets hard at some stages. Most times we’re just peddling through to make the best of what we have. At other times, life is so bitter, we can’t even bear to take a bite out of it. In these periods, we only carry on because of our loved ones around us.
If, like the bamboo we can’t bend with the pressures of life, we’ll break like the strong oak. Like I said before, it’s great to keep focused on your goals, but when you hit a difficult patch, realise that it’s okay to just scrape through. It’s normal to have some days where you’re doing only the basics to keep your life going. It’s okay to spend a day in bed, to cry, to talk about your feelings, to be weak and feel stressed. It’s all human nature and we’re allowed to express these weaker emotions too. If you have to bend to keep going, do so.
One day the act of bending will be the very thing that builds your strength.
Be able to read what you body is feeling
In order to be flexible it’s best to be able to read the signs. Even though the bamboos are bending like crazy, they’re not doing so without motive or reason. They bend with the wind, and they don’t start moving until they’re hit. This way they head in the direction of the wind, rather than against it.
Flexibility in life is about being able to ‘read’ situations. This means that you have to allow each of your life’s experiences to count. You have to learn from them. This is the only way you’ll be able to know yourself well enough to spot trends about to happen in your life. Stress don’t just creep up on you suddenly. It takes a while to build up. Learn to notice these signs and act accordingly. If you have health problems, there are usually tell-tale signs when they’re about to hit again.
Stand still enough to notice what’s happening in your life so you can return the throw in time; so you can ‘duck’ in time; or so that you can react accordingly with the best response necessary.
Learn how to respond to difficult situations in your life
Not all of us know exactly what to do if a fire breaks out. Not many people know exactly what to do if someone faints. Do you? When it comes to our flexibility in coping with life, we need to have exactly the right response. You need to know when to let it go, leave it alone, fight for it, or go back and find answers. Not all these responses are appropriate for every event or experience, so you have to be able to pick the correct one. This sometimes comes after a lot of trial and error, but you know what, that’s all right too. How else will we learn if not by experience!
The important thing with this point is that you learn from hardships in life. These lessons are there to show you how to deal with pressure when it arrives. They are the reference points we use to work out if we should stay, run off, move forward or just play possum for a while.
Realise that it will all be over in time
And when it is, your life will be richer for all the flexibility you’ve put in. You’ll be stronger for the experience, richer in the knowledge that you can cope when hard times hit again. When the storm is over, bamboos usually get back to their ‘normal lives’. This is the process which builds your confidence and lets you know you can deal with hardship the next time it comes around.
Bamboos are green throughout the winter, they need very little care, they’re beautiful at any time of year, and they can pro-create the area within a couple of years. 🙂
How about you? How flexible are you? Are you willing to bend when life’s tough or do you see strength in banging your head against a hard door.
Please share ‘How Flexible Are You’ with someone else today.