The Flexible Mindset
Learning to roll with changes is your
BEST DEFENSE AND OFFENSE IN LIFE
A flexible mindset allows you to apply your dedication and hard work to anything you want to achieve, and it ensures you can respond when things get tricky or tough in life. So, what does it mean to have a flexible mindset? We will tell you more, as well as how you can start today to think more flexibly and begin to develop this type of mentality.
What is a Flexible Mindset?
The most important thing you need to realize about life is that it will never, ever go according to whatever plan you have laid out for yourself. It just won’t. Life is unpredictable, things happen. Other people are unpredictable and do things you were not prepared to handle. The only constant in life is change.
So, when it comes to developing a mindset that can prepare you to handle all of life’s many ups and downs, becoming more flexible in your thinking can be an excellent way to help you succeed.
Flexibility, by its definition, means being able to bend without breaking. That means, when you have a flexible mindset, you can change your thinking to overcome obstacles and challenges without failing or breaking down.
Most people today who are interested in achieving their goals or working on themselves have a plan. They see a goal that they want to achieve, and they may even have high levels of motivation to make those dreams come true. But, won’t many people lack today is the ability to respond to change when things happen that was not a part of your plan.
Reacting effectively to unforeseen circumstances is why you want to develop a flexible mindset, but it is not the only reason. Here are a few reasons why flexible thinking is essential.
The Importance of a Flexible Mindset
So, why should we care if we have a flexible mindset or not? As it turns out, there are a great many advantages to flexible thinking. It is not just about how you approach problems; it is even how you form relationships and set goals. Here are all the reasons why you could benefit from thinking more flexibly.
Perhaps one of the most significant advantages of a flexible mindset is it means you are more persistent. Because you view each obstacle in your path as an opportunity of learning, you stay confident that, no matter what, you can solve the problem.
Flexibility in thinking means you won’t shy away from challenges, which means you feel better about taking risks, you stick with it even when it is hard, and you continue pushing until you reach the goal. This translates into more opportunities for success.
Relinquish the Fear of Failure
Learning to stop fearing change and embrace the possibilities is possible the most important reason to develop a flexible mindset. Because we all know that change is going to happen and that you will need to deal with setbacks, failures, and obstacles in life, it is better to embrace that change rather than live in fear of its inevitable appearance.
Getting over a fear of change is easy with a flexible mindset, as you know that you have the ability to use a bad situation to your advantage and manipulate your approach while remaining committed to your decisions.
You Listen to Other People
A flexible mindset means you are open to others’ perspectives and ideas, as you see that you may not always have all the answers. When you see the world through others’ eyes, you have more empathy for your colleagues, friends, and loved ones, too. Flexibility allows you to treat others more fairly, as you see that being fair means you are leaving more options open for others, too.
In today’s world, more than ever before, learning to adapt and roll with the changes means you can respond more quickly to opportunities, change directions when needed, and never regret missed opportunities that could lead to more success and happiness.
A flexible mindset also allows you to explore more options. When presented with a problem or a goal, the flexible mindset will enable you to see multiple solutions which can help you save time, money, and energy on reaching a goal. And because you are flexible in your thinking, you see that each choice you explore could have multiple outcomes, and you are prepared for those.
You Are Not Locked into One Role
If you are still flexible in your thinking, you have the opportunity to serve in many roles and take on different responsibilities throughout your life. Those stuck in rigid, fixed ideology see themselves one way, capable of one job.
Those who think flexibly understand that it’s not about what you know, it’s about your ability to keep learning and to solve problems. Being flexible means you see yourself as capable of helping others, too, even when their role differs from yours, which can strengthen your relationships with others.
When you operate with a flexible mindset, you understand that problems are things to worry about or fear, and you know that you have the ability to overcome any obstacle. When you have confidence in your ability to overcome problems, you will spend less time thinking and worrying about them, which will bring you more peace and less stress.
You Can’t Fail
Failure is not something people with a flexible mindset worry about because they know that even when you fail, you have learned something that will help you try again and try better the next time. Failure is an opportunity to go better with more information, so you literally can’t fail. Flexible thinking means you have a mindset that is prepared for the worst by having a backup plan, too. So even in the darkest hour, chances are, you have a way to pivot and turn things around.
You Are More Productive
While it is good to have habits and routines to make you more successful, those with a flexible mindset know when it is time to abandon the routines and respond to the unexpected. When you can be more flexible with your daily schedule, how you carry out your work, and the habits of day-to-day life, you can take advantage of more opportunities and enjoy your life more.
The ultimate gift of a flexible mindset is you can achieve more of your goals and reach higher levels of achievement. For all the reasons listed above, you can overcome all your fears as well as the setbacks that are bound to happen, then move forward to achieve whatever you set your mind to in life.
Those who have reach the greatest success have all supported a flexible mindset that allows them to grow, change, adapt, and respond to everything in life.
How to Develop a Flexible Mindset
Like changing any other set of behaviors or beliefs, embracing a flexible mindset requires practice, using lots of different strategies, and probably lots of setbacks, as well.
The following activities and tips, though, are tried and tested and can help you start to have a more flexible way of thinking.
Embrace the Unknown
Developing a growth mindset is the foundation for flexible thinking. Reframing your thoughts is essential to adapting this mentality. Whenever you meet an obstacle, you have to retrain your brain to think of this as an opportunity, not defeat.
You must stop thinking of things as setbacks and start considering what you could learn. Instead of the negative thoughts that generally go with a challenge, ask yourself, why not?
What’s the worst that can happen by taking a new risk or trying something new?
Instead of letting things stop you from moving forward, take a leap of faith and try out some new ideas. You may surprise yourself with the outcomes.
Let Go of Old Ways
One reason we like to stick to old habits is our brains run on routine. We use the same neural pathways and connections to solidify our thinking, and that makes it even easier to keep doing what you are already doing. Instead, you have to shed your old routines to reframe your mindset and be more flexible.
The next time you find yourself saying, “Well, this isn’t how I normally do it,” or embarking on an old routine, switch things up! Try something new. Accomplish everyday tasks in new ways.
Obstacles Are Opportunities
When you meet the inevitable bump in the road, this should be viewed as an opportunity. Getting creative with your solutions means you can try out things you have never done before.
And when your solution works and allows you to solve your problem, you will feel proud that you were able to move forward. Think outside the box to come up with as many solutions as possible, to give you many options to try.
Reconsider the Meaning of Success
Whatever your goal, there are many ways to measure whether you have been successful in reaching it. And there are many ways to determine if you are better off, even if you did not necessarily reach the final mark.
For example, if you are trying to change your lifestyle to embrace healthier choices that will help you lose weight, there are many creative approaches you can take this. And at every step along the route to your goal weight, you need to recognize the successes you are also achieving.
Maybe it is eating more vegetables, or perhaps it is being more active with your kids. If your goal is to land a new job, you are likely to learn new skills and meet new people along your journey, which are also important.
Don’t forget to honor and recognize the many ways you are improving your life as you learn to have a more flexible mindset. Maybe you start to feel more creative in your ability to solve problems. Perhaps you have more confidence. There will be many victories along your path.
Your Journey is Yours
When you are trying to change your mindset and develop new ways of thinking, you will have to use trial and error to find the techniques and strategies that work best for you. There is no one right way to change your way of thinking and habits of mind, so it will take practice and patience.
What worked for you when you were younger and trying to make a significant life change may not work now, so your journey is likely to change over time, too.
Remember that flexible thinking is something you will be practicing on your journey to being more flexible (whoa!), so you have lots of chances to practice along the way, too.
Listen to Your Self-Talk
The way you talk to yourself when you are approaching a problem or dealing with a setback can tell you a lot about your mindset. When you start to hear your inner voice questioning your abilities, doubting your strength, or trying to remain rigid in your thinking, pay attention.
Learning to talk positively to yourself is a helpful tool when developing a flexible mindset. Turning off the voice of your inner critic, and instead embracing positive self-talk to boost your confidence, can help you turn a fixed mindset into one that embraces flexibility.
Tap into Life’s Natural Rhythm
Pay close attention to the ebb and flow of life. Even when you encounter setbacks and troubles, things eventually work out, and you move on. When life seems pretty dark, good things happen to bring the light back in.
Instead of trying to resist this, try to go with the flow more, trust yourself, and have confidence that it will all work out in the end. Expending energy resisting the inevitable is not productive, so row with the current and embrace the next opportunity.
Stop All-or-Nothing Thinking
Along your journey to becoming more flexible, you will have moments where you turn back to your rigid mindset or start to fear change. That does not mean you should stop trying. It just means you get up tomorrow and try again.
Changing your mindset or doing any of the other significant shifts in life is done by small increments, not by being “all in” or “all out.” Resist the urge to think in black and white and embrace the thousands of shades of gray.
Switch Things Up
One way to embrace a more flexible mindset is to switch things up. Try out novel places, investigate new ways of doing things, meet new people. Learning to be flexible in the simple things in your life, like eating out or exercising, can help you be better at being more flexible in other aspects of your life.
Don’t Be Attached
Letting go of attachments helps you embrace new possibilities. Whether it is a specific routine, a particular opinion you hold dear, or a defined outcome, work on being less attached to it. This attachment is, by definition, inflexible, and learning to accept new possibilities is helping you practice a flexible mindset.
Be Open to Being Wrong
It is okay to want to be right, but it is also perfectly acceptable to be wrong from time to time. Bring fixated on being right, though, leads to inflexible behavior and an unwillingness to embrace others’ ideas.
When you focus too much on being right, you stop listening to other people, you dig in more deeply on flawed thinking, and you stay fixed in a mindset that is unwilling to learn. Allow yourself the chance to be wrong, and you will take more risks and become more creative and flexible.
Get Feedback from Others
When learning to become more flexible, it is vital that you get feedback and support from others. Not only can you learn how to be more flexible from those who already embrace that mindset, but you can also become more knowledgeable and skillful by learning from what others have already done.
Others see you differently than you see yourself, and we each bring unique perspectives and experiences to any situation, which means we all have something valuable to contribute. Listen to others, and you will learn to become more flexible.
“I Don’t Know” is Okay
The minute you stop worrying about always have the answer or knowing what is happening is when you can start to accept that you have more to learn. And that is okay.
When you start to admit you do not know, you can start listening and learning from others. It frees you to investigate freely, to ponder possibilities, and to find new ways of solving your problem. Learn to be comfortable with “I do not know,” and you will start to practice a more flexible mindset.
Celebrate your Imperfections
When you hide from your weaknesses or cover up your flaws, you will never be able to overcome them. Celebrating your imperfections means you allow them to live in the light of day, which means you can start finding ways to address those that are genuinely impeding your life.
It’s About Process, Not Product
The process of reaching the goal is more precious and more critical than actually crossing the finish line. In the process of achieving, you learn, grow, change, and expand your life. Valuing process over product means you embrace all that you must learn from the journey.
As you practice flexible mindset, it will be helpful to stop and regularly reflect on your progress and the process by which you are changing. In what ways can you see improvements in your approach to learning?
In what areas can you improve, your thinking to make it more flexible? Consider keeping a journal and writing in it each day to help you reflect upon and improve your flexible mindset journey.
Change Your Vocabulary
Instead of talking about “failure,” focus on “learning.” There are no “setbacks,” only “opportunities” for improvement. When you change your vocabulary from negative constructs to those more focused on growth, you will soon see your mindset follow behind. Even learning to think of “criticism” as “feedback” helps you reframe how you approach life.
One of the most essential vocabulary words to add to your regular arsenal, though, is “yet.” You may not know how to do something, but adding that simple word, “yet,” to your thoughts opens the door to possibility. I am not flexible in my thinking…yet. I don’t have the right skills to tackle this problem…yet. Embracing the power of “yet” is really the essence of the flexible mindset.
Training Your Brain
The brain is just like any other muscle in your body. If you want it to get stronger, you have to practice; you need to train. Since your brain does not need to go to the gym, you can work it out by practicing your new mindset, focusing your attention on your thoughts, and purposefully changing your actions.
Just like when you train your muscles, you will see small, incremental improvements as long as you are training. If you want bigger muscles, you must lift weights and eat healthily. If you want a different mindset, you have to practice thinking and acting differently.
Learn from the Mistakes of Others
We all share the same weaknesses, so it is helpful to learn from the setbacks and foibles of others. Pay attention not just to what people DO to overcome obstacles but also to how their beliefs and mindset help them carry out those goals. Ask questions about what they learned from their trials and apply their lessons to your own solutions.
Learning to think in new and diverse ways takes time and effort. Don’t expect to have a new mindset overnight. You will spend a lot of time trying to break old thought patterns and habits. Just like biting your nails or smoking, bad habits of fixed thinking will take time and effort to overcome. But change is possible.
Remember that your mindset forms over years and through habits and routines. It is also significantly linked to emotion. If you are having trouble changing your mindset, you may want to examine the emotional response that may be keeping you stuck in your fixed approach.
Be compassionate that there is a reason you have gravitated toward this way of thinking for so long, and that it is okay. What is more important is that you recognize you need to change, and you are working toward that goal.
Understand that we are not all entering adulthood with the same experiences or opportunities, and it is never too late to focus on what you need in this life.
Using Your Mindset to Achieve Success
Once you have embraced the possibility to a flexible mindset, and you have embarked on your journey to more flexible thinking, it is time to put those new habits of mind to effective use! If you are ready to start achieving greater success, then your flexible mindset is going to help you tremendously.
A flexible mindset helps you set lofty goals for yourself. When you were thinking in rigid ways, you tried to avoid failure, which meant you set your goals within reach. But the flexible mindset means you can reach your goals even in the face of obstacles, so it is okay to set your goals a little higher than before. This gives you the potential to achieve more in life.
The flexible mindset can help you achieve personal, professional, financial, and even health goals. You can define “success” however you want in this life, and those with a flexible mindset can use it to reach career objectives, form strong relationships with loved ones, achieve financial freedom, or become a healthier, happier person.
There is no limit to how you can apply your flexible mindset to your life.
Learning to have a more flexible mindset means that you embrace growth, change, and possibility. If your ways of thinking are rigid and fixed, you may be struggling with overcoming obstacles and finding new paths for your future, but a flexible mindset can help.
Those who achieve success and report the highest levels of happiness are those who can creatively solve problems, don’t fear failure, and embrace all of life’s experiences and chances to learn and grow. This type of flexible mindset is seen again and again in entrepreneurs, leaders of industry, and those in the tops of their fields.
With time and the right focus on shifting thoughts and matching behaviors, you can learn to think more flexibly and embrace the uncertainty of life.
A flexible mindset will give you the power to end the fear that is holding you back and to realize whatever dream you set for yourself in this life.