Create Endless Possibilities with Flexible Thinking

Written by on February 26, 2019 in Adaptability

Flexible Thinking

Flexible thinking is embracing the belief that there is more than one way to reach a destination, solve a problem or achieve a goal.

It may mean taking what you know and stretching it just a little beyond your comfort level, or it could require mustering the courage to experiment by charting an entirely new and different course.

Sometimes an experiment works, other times you may have to adjust your strategy along the way as you gain confidence and knowledge … and that’s okay.

There are those who might say this sounds a lot like trying to control the uncontrollable, but it’s actually just the opposite.

It’s accepting that no matter how much you want something, no matter how well you plan your strategy, there are bound to be surprises along the way, and choosing to treat these events as challenges to be overcome rather than a dead end.

There is an old saying that applies beautifully here, “The only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is the way in which you use them.”

The important thing is that flexible thinking moves you away from resistance and self-limiting beliefs to a place of openness and unlimited possibility.

Key Strategies for Flexible Thinking

Be Clear About What You REALLY Want

The first step to achieve an outcome that will change your life for the better – whether it is pursuing your passion, solving a problem or dealing with a major life transition – is to take the time to clearly define what you really want and need.

The more difficult it is for you to see a clear path through your life circumstances the more important this process is for you because it’s going to be very tempting to settle for the path of least resistance.

The alternative is to risk making choices that are more demanding but will give you a better opportunity to achieve a long-term meaningful outcome.

Be Willing to Experiment

If you look at the lives of the most successful people you’ll find few if any who achieved their success without experiencing plenty of detours if not outright failures.

But they didn’t give up, they kept trying different things until they began seeing results.

You never know what small adjustment in method or change in course might end up taking you to a place better than you could have ever dreamed possible.

Instead of resisting, open yourself to life’s magic!

Practice Trusting Yourself

On some level, every single one of us deals with fear, vulnerability, uncertainty, and failure.

The difference between those who achieve their dreams and goals and everyone else is that they trust that if they move forward anyway, they will figure it out.

Anyone can develop this level of self-trust, but it takes practice and removing the things that are holding you back.

Put yourself out there and be okay with not having all the answers. Push past your discomfort and fear of uncertainty to build trust in yourself.

Learn to reframe your concept of failure from “the end” to a sign that you just need to take what you’ve learned and try a different approach.

Develop the habit of journaling your thoughts and feelings to identify self-limiting beliefs and build confidence with each step forward.

Cultivate CuriosityFlexible Thinking

The mind is like a muscle which becomes stronger through continual exercise, the mental exercise caused by curiosity makes your mind stronger and stronger.

When the answers are not obvious, someone with a flexible mind responds with curiosity rather than frustration because they are able to see the opportunity for new input and a fresh perspective.

And they never take things for granted. Even if they don’t have time to dig into something now, rather than writing it off as irrelevant they will leave it open to explore another time.

Master Your Emotions

The ability to understand and manage your emotions plays a major role in your ability to develop flexible thinking because it allows you to remain calm and think creatively rather than respond to a problem with a knee jerk reaction or waste time in victim mode.

Learning to master your emotions takes time, but there are two specific skills that you can focus on short-term that will make a significant difference.

Identify Emotional Triggers

These are your hot buttons, the things that elicit the strongest emotional response. Maybe last-minute interruptions or a change in plans drives you crazy, or your stress level spikes when someone else is late or fails to keep their promises.

When you identify these triggers you can learn to minimize exposure, plan around them or eliminate them entirely.

Recognize When You Need a Time Out

Take a break if you find yourself up against an unexpected problem or detour.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is to give yourself a time out, at least until you process what has happened and regain your balance.

“Throughout your life, there will be situations you won’t be able to control. Your ability to be flexible in your rules, the meaning you attach to things and your actions will determine your long-term success or failure, not to mention your personal joy.”

Closing Thoughts

Flexible thinking is about acknowledging the unpredictability of life, keeping your mind open, and viewing a change in plans as a simple course correction rather than an immovable obstacle.

You can learn to adapt your thinking and behavior to see new and different ways to solve problems and achieve more dreams and goals … this is how you find your true direction in life.

Will you be the passenger or the driver in your life journey?
About Marquita A. Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living click here.

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